South Dakota State beats Missouri State 35-17, clinches second straight MVFC title

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) — Mark Gronowski passed for a career-high 323 yards and two touchdowns as unbeaten South Dakota State, ranked No. 1 in the FCS, closed out the regular season with a 35-17 victory over Missouri State on Saturday.

The victory earns the Jackrabbits (11-0, 8-0) their second straight Missouri Valley Football Conference title. South Dakota State has earned the conference's automatic playoff bid in three of the last four seasons. The Jackrabbits had not won back-to-back conference titles since winning three in a row while a member of the North Central Conference from 1961-63.

South Dakota State finished undefeated and untied for the first time in program history. The 1926 team finished 8-0-3, while the 1950 edition went 9-0-1.

Gronowski used his legs to give the Jackrabbits a lead they never relinquished, scoring on a 2-yard run less than five minutes into the game. He connected with Zach Heins for a 31-yard touchdown and a 14-3 lead after one quarter. Isaiah Davis' 1-yard plunge was the only score of the second quarter, giving South Dakota State a 21-3 lead at the half.

Jordan Pachot had a 3-yard scoring toss to Hunter Wood midway through the third quarter to pull Missouri State within 21-10. Amar Johnson answered with a 2-yard scoring run and the Jackrabbits led 28-10 heading to the final period.

Gronowski fired a 36-yard scoring strike to Jadon Janke to complete the scoring for SDSU with 4:38 left to play. Pachot hit Wood for a 40-yard touchdown with 94 seconds to go.

Gronowski completed 16 of 23 passes for the Jackrabbits. He also rushed seven times for 25 yards. Janke had career highs of 10 catches and 187 yards receiving. Davis rushed for 85 yards on 17 carries.

Jordan Pachot totaled 261 yards on 23-of-35 passing for the Bears (4-7, 3-5).

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football