No. 3 North Dakota State hopes to keep its unprecedented hot streak of success going on Sunday as the Bison face off against rival No. 1 South Dakota State in the Division I FCS championship game. After crushing Montana and Samford early in the FCS playoffs, the Bison narrowly survived an upset attempt from No. 7 seed UIW in the FCS semifinals. North Dakota State completed just 1 of 12 passes, but had two turnovers against Cardinals quarterback Lindsey Scott.
South Dakota State's season has been much cleaner since losing a heartbreaker 7-3 against Iowa in the opener. The Jackrabbits decimated their three playoff opponents by a combined 78 points and have only played three FCS games all season within two scores. Star running back Isaiah Davis has rushed for more than 400 yards in three FCS playoff games.
North Dakota State and South Dakota State have played 113 times dating back to 1903. The Bison hold a 63-45-5 advantage, but have lost the three previous matchups against the Jackrabbits. South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier holds an 11-19 record against North Dakota State since taking the job in 1997.
How to watch FCS Championship live
Date: Sunday, Jan. 8 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Toyota Stadium -- Frisco, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State: Need to know
FCS dominance: Forget Alabama, North Dakota State remains the most dominant force in Division I college football. The Bison have won nine of the last 11 championships with one of the playoff runs coming up short during the spring pandemic season. Perhaps most impressively, the Bison are undefeated in FCS national championship games across three different coaches: Craig Bohl, Chris Klieman and now Matt Entz.
Dream chasers: South Dakota State has been incredibly successful under coach John Stiegelmeier, posting a 194-112 record across a sensational tenure dating back to 1997 when the Jackrabbits were still a Division II program. But for all his success, Stiegelmeier is missing just one thing: A national championship. The Jackrabbits have reached the national semis in four of the past five seasons and played for a national championship in spring of 2021. An injury to quarterback Mark Gronowski ultimately cost SDSU a shot at the crown, but Stiegelmeier has one more chance to add the ultimate line item to his résumé.
Conference rematch: South Dakota State pulled off a major upset against North Dakota State on Oct. 15 to capture the No. 1 overall seed in the FCS playoffs. The Jackrabbits came back from down 21-7 with 16 unanswered points, including a go-ahead field goal with 3:49 remaining. Both of these programs are monstrous running the ball, but the Bison were held to just 4.4 yards per carry and to 59 yards total in the second half. North Dakota State has to rise and meet the moment.
FCS championship prediction, pick
Betting against North Dakota State in an FCS Championship Game is a fool's errand, but we'll do it anyway. South Dakota State has been dominant all season long and Stiegelmeier has spent 25 years waiting for this moment. The Jackrabbits are unafraid of their hated rivals and will finally put a complete game together and win the FCS's ultimate prize. Prediction: South Dakota State -5