NDSU Wins Record Seventh FCS National Championship
The North Dakota State Bison had every answer for any time Eastern Washington would get close as NDSU won its record seventh FCS National Championship with a 38-24 victory.
Chris Klieman called NDSU's string of FCS championships "an absolute dynasty" and "the greatest run in college football". Coach Klieman and the Bison finished off a perfect season (15-0) and were led by quarterback Easton Stick's 5 touchdowns and 319 total yards in the victory. With the victory, Stick set the career record for wins by a quarterback in the FCS with 49.
The Bison never trailed and after their first three offensive possessions of the game, found themselves up 17-3, thanks to two rushing touchdowns from Stick. Those TDs came from 10 and 4 yards out, respectively. EWU found their way into the end zone just before halftime for the first time by converting on a fake field goal that ended in a 2 yard touchdown pass from Gunner Talkington to Jayce Gilder to make it 17-10 at the half.
Teams traded turnovers on their first offensive possessions of the second half before the Eagles committed another turnover to set up the Bison with a short field. Three plays later Stick found Darrius Shepherd for a 23-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-10, but EWU answered quick. On the first play of their ensuing possession, running back Sam McPherson took the handoff 75 yards for a score to cut it to 24-17.
As we mentioned before, NDSU had an answer. On the second play of NDSU's next possession, Stick found Shepherd once again on the second play of the drive and this one went for a 78-yard touchdown to make it 31-17.
EWU would finally make it a one-possession game once again when quarterback Eric Barriere ran in a touchdown from 5 yards out to make it 31-24 with 2:19 left in the game. But the Bison would answer again. On a 3rd and 7 from the Eagles 46-yard line, Stick kept it and ran it all the way in for the score to make it 38-24 with 1:16 remaining. That would close out the scoring.
Stick was 13-19 passing for 198 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions, while also tacking on 121 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns on 18 carries. Shepherd had 5 catches for 125 yards and his two touchdowns. For the Eagles, Barriere was 13-25 for 198 yards and 2 interceptions. McPherson had 158 yards rushing on 18 carries and the one touchdown.
Congrats to the North Dakota State Bison on back-to-back championships and their FCS record seventh national championship!