We have finally closed the book on the entire 2020-21 college football season. Just like they did last weekend against James Madison, Sam Houston State scored a late touchdown to secure their first FCS Championship in program history. It was a fitting way to end the spring FCS football season, which saw as many cancellations and postponements as games actually played.
Sam Houston State Football Wins FCS Championship
South Dakota State was the first team to score in the FCS Championship. Running back Isaiah Davis Jr. scampered into the end zone from one yard out, with about seven minutes to go in the first quarter. The touchdown capped off a five-play, 41-yard scoring drive. Unfortunately for the Jackrabbits, starting quarterback, and Jerry Rice Award finalist, Mark Gronowski sustained an injury to his left leg and would exit the game for good. After Gronowski went down, the Bearkats got things going. Before the weather delay, the Bearkats tied up the game at 7, on a Schmid 35-yard touchdown pass to playoff superstar Jequez Ezzard.
After the lengthy delay, the teams finally hit the field again, and the sun even began to shine through a bit. Sam Houston State came back from the delay and Schmid hit Ezzard again for a touchdown. This one from 15 yards out. After a second quarter that took a little over an hour after the delay, the Bearkats led at halftime, 14-7.
The Bearkats received the opening kick of the second half, but went three and out. After the Jackrabbits got the ball back, they went on a 12-play, 48-yard drive that took up about six minutes. However, the Jacks weren’t able to capitalize and turned the ball over on downs. On the next Bearkat possession, kicker Seth Morgan nailed a 45-yard kick to give the Bearkats a 17-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter began the same way the game had, with a touchdown for South Dakota State. Running back Isaiah Davis Jr., once again found the endzone, this time from 28 yards out. The score was cut to 17-14 in favor of the Bearkats. After alternating punts, the Jackrabbits finally took the lead on a monster 85-yard touchdown run by Davis. The Jackrabbits took the lead again, 21-17.
When the Bearkats received the ensuing kickoff, they needed to get something going on offense. Well, they went on a 16-play, 65-yard scoring drive. It was capped off with the Adeyi touchdown grab from 10 yards out. The Kats would miss the ensuing PAT, giving the Jackrabbits some hope.
However, it was not meant to be for South Dakota State. They called their last timeout with five seconds left. Backup quarterback Keaton Heide found Jaden Janke for a seven yard gain. It didn’t matter, as he could not get out of bounds and the clock struck midnight for South Dakota State.
Sam Houston State coaches, players and staff all stormed the field to rejoice their first national title in program history.
Looking Back On The Weirdest FCS Season Ever
Before the FCS Championship game, both South Dakota State and Sam Houston State players said this season should not have an asterisk next to it. If anything, it was the most difficult season these teams have played in a long time. However, while many people around the country didn’t think the FCS would get to crown a champion in 2021, that was not the case. K.C. Keeler not only won his second FCS Championship, but he became the winningest playoff coach in FCS history, with his 24th postseason victory on Sunday.
Unlike ever before, players from James Madison, North Dakota State and everyone else in the FCS will jump right back into the new season in just over four months. Look for the dominant programs to return to the top of the country in the fall, but no matter what no one will ever forget this season, and it’s champion, Sam Houston State.