Rabbits begin bid for lengthy playoff run

24 April 2021 20:29:41 GMTPlus10

South Dakota State University head coach John Stiegelmeier has told his players to block out the noise that comes with earning the number one seed and home advantage throughout the FCS postseason ahead of their first-round matchup with Holy Cross.

Stiegelmeier has led the Jackrabbits to the postseason nine straight times and his team reached the semi-finals in 2017 and 2018, but last Saturday's 27-17 win at three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State saw them take the top seed for the first time.

The veteran coach is happy to have gained home-field advantage on the road to Frisco, Texas, but aware that his players can't let it disrupt their focus on the next opponent with thoughts of going all the way.

"It's just static ... You need to clear the static or the noise out of your life, and practice and focus on the task at hand. ... They're mature guys, I think they'll do that. I know they'll do that," he told Mitchell Republic.

Jackrabbits quarterback Mark Gronowski starred at the Fargodome last weekend with 126 yards rushing and one touchdown pass.

The freshman's 55-yard run to set up the game-clinching TD against the Bison was not unusual as he had already led the Jacks to game-winning drives against Northern Iowa and Youngstown State.

Holy Cross operate a run-heavy offense that averages only 86 passing yards per game and potentially matches up well to SDSU's defense, who are excellent against the pass.

The Crusaders are 10/11 to take the win with a 24.5 point advantage with SDSU at 10/11 to cover the points on the spread.

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