(Stats Perform) – South Dakota State earned its first-ever No. 1 ranking midway through the 2022 season.

The Jackrabbits liked it so much, they never gave it up.

Their regular-season win over rival North Dakota State gave the Jackrabbits the top spot, then their 45-21 thrashing of the Bison in the national championship game left no doubt about coach John Stiegelmeier’s squad being a unanimous No. 1 in the final Stats Perform FCS Top 25 on Monday.

South Dakota State (14-1) ended the season on a school-record 14-game winning streak. Quarterback Mark Gronowski had three touchdown passes and rushed for another score in being named Most Outstanding Player of the title game.

Think of it this way: No team other than SDSU has more than one win over NDSU’s dynasty program in the last 11 seasons. The Jackrabbits not only did it twice this season, they’ve captured six of the last 10 meetings.

NDSU (12-3) finished No. 2 in the national media poll, one spot ahead of UIW (12-2), which it edged in a national semifinal. Montana State (12-2), which fell to SDSU in the other semifinal, was No. 4, while Sacramento State (12-2) rounded out the top five.

The Big Sky had a high of six teams and nine different conferences were represented in the final rankings. A first-place vote was worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

—=

Final Stats Perform FCS Top 25

1. South Dakota State (14-1, 8-0 MVFC), 1,350 points (54 first-place votes)

Previous Ranking: 1; Postseason Results: 42-6 win over Delaware; 42-21 win over Holy Cross; 39-18 win over Montana State; 45-21 win over North Dakota State

2. North Dakota State (12-3, 7-1 MVFC), 1,288

Previous Ranking: 4; Postseason Results: 49-26 win over Montana; 27-9 win over Samford; 35-32 win over UIW; 45-21 loss to South Dakota State

3. UIW (12-2, 5-1 Southland), 1,218

Previous Ranking: 5; Postseason Results: 41-38 win over Furman; 66-63 win at Sacramento State; 35-32 loss at North Dakota State

4. Montana State (12-2, 8-0 Big Sky), 1,208

Previous Ranking: 3; Postseason Results: 33-25 win over Weber State; 55-7 win over William & Mary; 39-18 loss at South Dakota State

5. Sacramento State (12-1, 8-0 Big Sky), 1,140

Previous Ranking: 2; Postseason Results: 38-31 win over Richmond; 66-63 loss to UIW

6. Holy Cross (12-1, 6-0 Patriot), 1,035

Previous Ranking: 7; Postseason Results: 35-19 win over New Hampshire; 42-21 loss at South Dakota State

7. Samford (11-2, 8-0 Southern), 991

Previous Ranking: 8; Postseason Results: 48-42 OT win over Southeastern Louisiana; 27-9 loss at North Dakota State

8. William & Mary (11-2, 7-1 CAA), 982

Previous Ranking: 6; Postseason Results: 54-14 win over Gardner-Webb; 55-7 loss at Montana State

9. Weber State (10-3, 6-2 Big Sky), 936

Previous Ranking: 9; Postseason Results: 38-31 win over North Dakota; 33-25 loss at Montana State

10. Furman (10-3, 7-1 Southern), 865

Previous Ranking: 11; Postseason Results: 31-6 win over Elon; 41-38 loss at UIW

11. Richmond (9-4, 6-2 CAA), 746

Previous Ranking: 13; Postseason Results: 41-0 win over Davidson; 38-31 loss at Sacramento State

12. Southeastern Louisiana (9-4, 5-1 Southland), 645

Previous Ranking: 17; Postseason Results: 45-42 win over Idaho; 48-42 OT loss at Samford

13. New Hampshire (9-4, 7-1 CAA), 632

Previous Ranking: 15; Postseason Result: 52-42 win over Fordham; 35-19 loss at Holy Cross

14. Montana (8-5, 4-4 Big Sky), 589

Previous Ranking: 19; Postseason Result: 34-24 win over Southeast Missouri; 49-26 loss at North Dakota State

15. Southeast Missouri (9-3, 5-0 Ohio Valley), 490

Previous Ranking: 14; Postseason Result: 34-24 loss at Montana

16. Jackson State (12-1, 8-0 SWAC), 485

Previous Ranking: 10; Postseason Results: 43-24 win over Southern; 41-34 OT loss to North Carolina Central

17. Elon (8-4, 6-2 CAA), 467

Previous Ranking: 12; Postseason Result: 31-6 loss at Furman

18. Idaho (7-5, 6-2 Big Sky), 388

Previous Ranking: 18; Postseason Result: 45-42 loss at Southeastern Louisiana

19. Delaware (8-5, 4-4 CAA), 343

Previous Ranking: 23; Postseason Results: 56-17 win over Saint Francis; 42-6 loss at South Dakota State

20. North Dakota (7-5, 5-3 MVFC), 335

Previous Ranking: 20; Postseason Result: 38-31 loss at Weber State

21. North Carolina Central (10-2, 4-1 MEAC), 333

Previous Ranking: Not Ranked; Postseason Result: 41-34 OT win over Jackson State

22. Fordham (9-3, 5-1 Patriot), 322

Previous Ranking: 16; Postseason Result: 52-42 loss at New Hampshire

23. Chattanooga (7-4, 5-3 Southern), 171

Previous Ranking: 21; Postseason Result: No game

24. Mercer (7-4, 5-3 Southern), 145

Previous Ranking: 22; Postseason Result: No game

25. UC Davis (6-5, 5-3 Big Sky), 115

Previous Ranking: 24; Postseason Result: No game

Dropped Out: UT Martin (25)

Others Receiving Votes (schools listed on two or more ballots): Gardner-Webb (7-5, 5-0 Big South) 87, UT Martin (7-4, 5-0 Ohio Valley) 65, Eastern Kentucky (7-5, 3-2 ASUN) 46, Rhode Island (7-4, 5-3 CAA) 34, Saint Francis (9-3, 7-0 NEC) 32, St. Thomas (10-1, 8-0 Pioneer) 13, Yale (8-2, 6-1 Ivy) 13, Youngstown State (7-4, 5-3 MVFC) 13, Austin Peay (7-4, 3-2 ASUN-WAC) 12, Florida A&M (9-2, 7-1 SWAC) 9

—=

Stats Perform FCS Top 25 Voters – Stats Perform: Craig Haley, Gary Reasons. ASUN: John Bednarowski, Brian Morgan. Big Sky Conference: Doug Kelly, Tyson Rodgers, Larry Weir. Big South Conference: Brian Cleary, Mark Simpson. CAA Football: Matt Harmon, Scott Klatzkin, Rob Washburn. Ivy League: Rick Bender, Craig Larson. Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference: Bill Hamilton, Maurice Williams. Missouri Valley Football Conference: Dom Izzo, Mike Kern, Randy Reinhardt. Northeast Conference: Sarah Boissonneault, Randy Brochu. Ohio Valley Conference: Mike Bradd, Kyle Schwartz. Patriot League: Eric Malanoski, Ryan Sakamoto. Pioneer Football League: Cody Bush, Jack Cronin. Southern Conference: Scott Keeler, Andrew Miller, Phil Perry. Southland Conference: Matthew Bonnette, James Dixon, Josh Manck. Southwestern Athletic Conference: Ronnie Johnson, Andrew Roberts, Jacob Shames. Western Athletic Conference: Eric Danner, Dennis Driscoll. National Representatives: Josh Buchanan, Zack Carlton, Riley Corcoran, Sam Herder, Emory Hunt, Kyle Kensing, Brandon Lawrence, Zach McKinnell, Brian McLaughlin, Jon Passman, Kent Schmidt, Lawrence Smith, Phil Sokol, Reggie Thomas, Ralph Ventre, Jamie Williams.