North Dakota State wins its third consecutive FCS championship
North Dakota State cruised to its third consecutive FCS national championship on Saturday, toppling Towson 35-7 in Frisco, Texas. The Bison join 2005-07 Appalachian State to win three consecutive FCS national titles.
North Dakota State sealed its third title in much the same way it won the first two - by completely dominating the line of scrimmage. Five Bison combined to carry the ball 30 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns while limiting Towson - a team that had rushed 153 times for 902 yards on its three-game run to the championship game - to 106 rushing yards on 35 carries. Brock Jensen, North Dakota State's signal caller throughout its epic run, was an efficient 13-of-18 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown while adding three rushes for 20 yards and another score. Towson quarterback Peter Athens connected on 28-of-44 throws for 267 yards with no touchdowns and one back-breaking interception.
Towson mounted a 12 play, 77 yard drive to tie the game at 7-7 on the final play of the first quarter, and then did not mount another drive of more than 27 yards until the game was completely out of reach. North Dakota State scored twice in the second quarter and then once in both of the final quarters to ice the game away.
In the Bison's three consecutive title game wins, North Dakota State outscored its opponents by a combined 57-3 in the second half.
The win completes a perfect 15-0 season for North Dakota State and gives the program 24 consecutive wins overall. North Dakota State is now 43-2 since the beginning of the 2011 season. From my perspective, the closest comparison to these Bison is Tom Osborne's Nebraska program from 1994-97. The way North Dakota State completely bends its opponent's will at the line of scrimmage and the box office - North Dakota State had a clear advantage in the stands for all three title games, reports from Frisco cited a 90-10 Bison advantage on Saturday - is utterly Osborne-ian. In something less than a coincidence, North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl was Osborne's linebackers coach from 1995-97.
Speaking of Bohl, this game represented the end of an era for North Dakota State. After posting a 104-32 record in Fargo over the past 11 seasons, Bohl will now take over at Wyoming, while defensive coordinator Chris Klieman will be elevated to head coach.