January 9, 2016
Football Championship Subdivision Title Game
#2 North Dakota State 37, #1 Jacksonville State 10 ** During the telecast of the FCS national championship, shots of the green and gold-clad
North Dakota State crowd were common. In the first half a camera zeroed in on a handheld placard. A fellow viewer asked, “What does ‘Speat’ mean?” Coforepr replied that what looks like an “S” is actually a “5” and explained how a team that has won a championship is trying to “repeat,”
a team that has won two is trying to “3-peat,” and since North Dakota State had won the last four, the Bison were trying to “5-peat.”
** Several hours later they had done exactly that – an unprecedented five consecutive national titles for a football team.
** The accomplishment may never be matched at any level of college football. Let’s not say that North Dakota State is the Alabama of FCS. Better to suggest that Alabama strives to be the
North Dakota State of FBS.
** Senior quarterback Carson Wentz returned from a broken right wrist that had forced him to miss eight games and led his team to a surprisingly easy victory over top-seeded Jacksonville State.
Wentz completed 16 of 29 , threw a touchdown pass, ran for 79 yards and scored two touchdowns on the ground.
** North Dakota State coach Chris Klieman: “So happy for Carson to come in and play the way he did. A lot of people may have questioned if he was going to be rusty. I didn’t question it at all.
I know what kind of competitor he is. I know what kind of player he is.”
** The Bison defense was, if possible, even more impressive than Wentz was. The Gamecocks came in averaging 529 yards per game but were held to 204, a figure that was 181 yards below their previous season low! Dual threat quarterback Eli Jenkins did run for 88 yards and the Jacksonville State touchdown, but he completed only 7 of 20 passes for a paltry 57 yards, threw two interceptions, and lost two fumbles. Running back Troymaine Pope gained 31 yards on nine carries after rushing for 181 yards in the national semis against Sam Houston State; star receiver Josh Barge was limited to two receptions.
** North Dakota State middle linebacker Nick DeLuca had nine tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
** Jacksonville State coach John Grass, whose team’s 12-game winning streak came to a crashing halt in its first-ever national title game appearance: “It was not our best day, of course. But take my hat off to North Dakota State. They played a great game.”
** North Dakota State kicker Cam Pederson had been only 1 for 7 on field goal attempts in the playoffs this year but connected from 29, 31 and 38 yards in a perfect 3-for-3 day.
** A sequence early in the fourth quarter saw turnovers on three consecutive snaps – a fumble by Jenkins, an interception by North Dakota State’s Easton Stick on his first play of the game, and an interception by Jenkins. There were seven turnovers in the game overall. (NFL prospect Wentz threw two interceptions, although one was late in the first half with time running out; it was one of those heave-it-way-down-there-and-hope-for-the-best throws.)
** North Dakota State has won an incredible 20 straight playoff games – four each during the
** Attendance was 21,836, a record for the soccer stadium in which the game was contested. Bison fans made up a majority of the crowd. Did they really start buying up the tickets back in August?
January 9, 2016