Community celebrates Jacks’ win at Frisco


Zoey Schentzel

President Barry Dunn speaks at the welcome home celebration for the Jacks football team Jan. 10.

Marshall Minihan, Sports Reporter

Jackrabbit fans packed the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex Tuesday evening to show their support for the 2022 FCS national champions.

South Dakota State rolled over the North Dakota State Bison 45-21 in the FCS National Championship game to capture its first title.

The national championship trophy made its first appearance in Brookings during the event.

Athletic Director Justin Sell, SDSU President Barry Dunn and FCS Coach of the Year John Stiegelmeier all spoke during the event.

“This is very honoring to our players, to our coaches, to our administration and to our support staff,” Stiegelmeier said at the event. “You did it all year.”

This season, Jackrabbit support was at an all-time high for football games, with well over 120,000 total fans attending SDSU football games at Dana J. Dykhouse stadium. It was the first season in South Dakota State history with attendance going over 100,000 at all the home games combined.

“It’s pretty cool to walk out of that stadium and see that and feel that,” Stiegelmeier said. “That was a championship crowd.”

Athletic director Justin Sell also mentioned how thankful he is for all the support the Jackrabbits get.

“The national championship just puts in the spotlight everything that is right about college athletics and everything that is right about being a Jackrabbit,” Sell said.

This championship not only marks the first FCS championship for the football team but the first Division I championship in all Jackrabbit sports.

“The hugs were so great this weekend because we have all lived in the other locker room. We have all lived with tough losses, we have all lived with adversity, and they were just that much tighter when we were able to walk through the door and with the championship,” Sell said.

After losing the first week of the season to Iowa, the Jackrabbits went on a 14-game winning streak to the national title, making them the only team in the country that did not lose to an FCS school all year.

“These young men committed themselves to be the best,” Dunn said. “Just as we talked about in our strategic plan to be a premier university, you’ve got to be the best. These young men were the best in countless repetitions, on countless practices and on countless days throughout this season.”

Fans gathered on the west side quickly after the rally to take their turns taking pictures with the championship trophy, something that will forever be remembered throughout SDSU.