GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The South Dakota State football team dropped to 1-1 on the season after a 28-17 loss against No. 14 North Dakota on Saturday. The third-ranked Jackrabbits held a seven-point halftime lead, but scored just three points in the second half.
SDSU scored on its first possession of the game as true freshman quarterback Mark Gronowski found Jaxon Janke from 18 yards out and the Jacks led 7-0 with 12:58 left in the first quarter. UND went on a 15-play 75-yard drive that took up 8:26 to tie things up 7-7 with 1 minute left in the first. Otis Weah ran it in from a yard out.
The Jacks responded quickly as Gronowski found Jaxon Janke again. This time it was a 76-yard strike and SDSU took a 14-7 lead with 45 seconds left in the first quarter. Both teams were held scoreless in the second.
The Fighting Hawks took the opening drive of the of the second half 75 yards on eight plays and tied the game 14-14 with 10:28 remaining in the third. SDSU responded with a field goal to regain the lead with 6:46 left in the third.
UND then missed a field goal, but the Jacks did not capitalize and went three and out. The Fighting Hawks blocked a punt after the three and out, putting them in the red zone. Two plays later, Tommy Schuster found Garrett Maag for a 16-yard touchdown and UND took a 21-17 lead with 17 seconds left in the third.
Gronowski then fumbled on the Jacks next possession. Weah extended the UND lead when he dashed 40 yards to the end zone with 6:53 left in the game to make it 28-17. The Jacks had three chances to cut into the lead but were unable to do so and the Fighting Hawks came away with the win.
SDSU had 405 yards of offense and 345 of them came in the first three quarters. The Jacks had 96 rushing yards and turned the ball over three times.
Gronowski was 16-for-32 with 309 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jaxon Janke finished with seven catches for 161 yards. Jadon Janke had five catches for 109 yards. Pierre Strong Jr. rushed 17 times for 95 yards.
UND had 384 yards with 177 of them coming on the ground. Weah led the way with 88 yards and two scores. Luke Skokna had 73 yards rushing and a touchdown. Schuster was 20-for-32 with 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Maag was the leading receiver with five catches for 87 yards.
SDSU will have its home opener Saturday against Western Illinois. Kickoff at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m.