Jequez Ezzard scored two touchdowns for No.2 favorite Sam Houston State (10-0). He also had a 5-yard catch in the fourth and third to extend the last practice of 16 games and 65 yards, after Schmid converted a fourth and a previous one with a 9-yard rush.
South Dakota State (8-2) led 21-17 on Isaiah Davis’ third inning of TD, 85 yards with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left. Davis, who finished with 178 rushing yards on 14 carries, came down the sideline in front of the Jackrabbits bench, slipping through half the defense before breaking free in the end zone.
Sam Houston State coach KC Keeler earned his record for 24th FCS playoff victory and became the first coach to win FCS titles at multiple schools. He was the coach of his alma mater when Delaware won the title in 2003.
It was the first appearance in the title game for South Dakota State and coach John Stiegelmeier, who coached his alma mater for 24 seasons. The Jackrabbits lost two-threat first-year quarterback Mark Gronowski to an apparent left leg injury in the game’s opening set.
Schmid completed 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards, and Ezzard had 10 catches for 108 yards. Ramon Jefferson ran for 96 yards.
Ezzard’s second TD was 15 yards at the end of the first half, as he was wide open in the end zone. This happened shortly after play resumed after a 74 minute delay due to lightning. The half-time break has been shortened to three minutes.
This weather delay occurred in the last game of a season pushed in the spring and ending in mid-May instead of early January, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next season starts in just three and a half months.
The game started in steady rain. He was tied 7-7 with 8:25 remaining in the second quarter when he was stopped due to lightning from the same weather system that impacted the AT&T Byron Nelson PGA Tour final round in McKinney, Texas, at less than 10 miles away. . There have been tornado warnings south of the area.
When the game resumed, the rain had stopped and the sun even broke through the gray sky before the game was over.
Gronowski likely injured himself on a 3-yard run when he escaped, although South Dakota State recovered and he then had a third down before limping off the field. He rode a stationary bike on the sideline before attempting to throw a ball, but stopped in obvious pain from the pressure on his left leg during the throw.
The Jackrabbits recovered the ball when Schmid couldn’t handle a high slam that was picked up by Tolu Ogunrinde at Sam Houston State 41, leading to a 1 yard scorecard by Davis immediately after his 20 yard gain. Davis broke three tackles on a 28-yard TD early in the fourth quarter.
Before the delay, the Bearkats tied the game on Ezzard’s 35-yard TD. He put the ball behind the line before reducing to 25, then freed himself from a tackler by running to the other side of the field.
He had a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first quarter wiped out by an illegal blocking penalty.
Ezzard had a 69-yard TD and an 80-yard punt return for a score as the Bearkats overcame a 21-point halftime deficit in a 38-35 victory a week earlier in semi-final against No.3 James Madison, the only team other than an eight-time North Dakota state champion to win the FCS title in the past nine seasons. Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals knocked out the Bison, who have won the title for the past three years.