116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
For the first time in more than 10 months, there will be college football on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa will take on the FCS-level South Dakota State Jackrabbits in Saturday’s season opener. The Jackrabbits are coming off a run to the FCS semifinals.
Here are five South Dakota State players to keep an eye on:
RB Isaiah Davis
South Dakota State’s run-heavy offense will likely shine a spotlight in 2022 on Isaiah Davis.
The junior from Joplin, Mo., is expected to take the bulk of the Jackrabbits’ carries after Pierre Strong Jr. was a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Injuries beleaguered Davis’ 2021 season, limiting him to 95 carries in seven games. But when he did play, the results were impressive.
He averaged 7.4 yards per carry and 100.1 yards per game and found the end zone seven times.
In the spring 2021 season — FCS schools delayed their 2020 season until the following spring — Davis was especially impressive. He had a team-high 818 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and four 100-plus-yard games in the 10-game season.
In that year’s FCS national championship, he evaded several Sam Houston State defenders en route to an 85-yard touchdown run.
QB Mark Gronowski
Mark Gronowski has had a roller-coaster career so far at the collegiate level.
Gronowski experienced the highest of the highs as a true freshman. He started all 10 games and was the team MVP. He recorded 22 touchdowns — 15 in the air and seven on the ground — and threw only three interceptions.
Then he suffered a torn ACL in the national championship game and red-shirted the fall 2021 season.
SDSU’s top four receivers are back in 2022, giving Gronowski plenty of weapons in his sophomore season.
LB Adam Bock
Since earning a starting role in spring 2021, Adam Bock has been quite the menace for opposing FCS offenses.
He racked up a team-best 74 tackles in 10 games in spring 2021 and then 125 in the 15-game fall 2021 season.
In fall 2021, he was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player at the FCS level.
He also earned all-conference first-team recognition and first and second-team FCS All-America honors from HERO Sports and Stats Perform, respectively.
Saturday’s game will be a homecoming for Bock, who was a four-sport athlete at Solon High School — about 15 miles from where he’ll be playing. He is one of 12 players on the Jackrabbits’ roster from the state of Iowa.
WR Jaxon Janke
Jaxon Jenke has been a key part of South Dakota State’s aerial attack over the last three seasons.
The 6-foot-3 wide receiver led the Jackrabbits in receptions and receiving yards in the last two seasons and was third in both stats in 2019. He has caught at least one pass in 36 of his last 38 games.
Jenke, a member of the Senior Bowl’s preseason watch list, has a realistic chance at continuing his career after 2022 at the NFL level.
Jaxon’s twin Jadon Janke also is a wide receiver for the Jackrabbits and a capable target for Gronowski. Jadon was the team leader in touchdown receptions in fall 2021 with nine.
K/P Hunter Dustman
Special teams enthusiasts will see something fairly unique in Saturday’s game — the same player handling kicking and punting.
Hunter Dustman has both responsibilities for the Jackrabbits heading into the 2022 season.
Most of Dustman’s opportunities in 2021 came at punter. He averaged 41.5 yards per attempt — sixth-best in the Missouri Valley Football Conference — in 34 punts.
He pinned opposing teams inside their 20-yard-line 13 times and only had one touchback.
Assuming South Dakota State has at least one field-goal attempt, it’ll be his first in a game since the spring 2021 season.
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