North Dakota State wins another FCS title in blowout win over Montana State

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North Dakota State made it look easy against Montana State.

The Bison won their ninth FCS title in 11 years on Saturday in a 38-10 win over the Bobcats in Frisco, Texas. North Dakota State scored the first 35 points of the game and had a 28-0 lead at halftime. 

NDSU (14-1) just ran all over Montana State's defense. The Bison averaged over seven yards a carry and rushed for over 300 yards as three different players ran for over 75 yards. Kobe Johnson had a 76-yard touchdown run and Hunter Luepke rushed for three first-half touchdowns as Montana State found itself helpless to mount a comeback attempt in the second half.

The Bobcats’ chances took a huge hit on the first drive of the game. Quarterback Tommy Mellott injured his right ankle on the first drive and was unable to play the rest of the way. Mellott emerged as Montana State’s starter at the beginning of the playoffs and his rushing ability powered the Bobcats to the title game.

Mellott was replaced by Tucker Rovig, who ended up averaging more yards per rushing attempt than he did per passing attempt.

NDSU QB Cam Miller had to throw just 13 passes thanks to the excellence of the ground game. Miller was 9-of-13 passing for 126 yards and a TD.

North Dakota State played 24 games in 11 months

North Dakota State’s nine titles since the 2010 season have come in nine title games. The Bison are undefeated in Frisco — they were knocked out before the title game in 2020 and 2016.

That 2020 season was severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teams in the division pushed their seasons to the spring; North Dakota State went 7-3 in that 2020-21 season. The Bison played one game in the fall before playing a full season from February to early May. The 2020 season ended in May of 2021 with a loss to eventual champion Sam Houston State.

That spring season means that North Dakota state played 24 games from Feb. 21 to Saturday. Coach Matt Entz referenced the duration of that long season in his postgame interview as numerous players on the team played in all 24 of those games in a single calendar year.

The title is Entz’s second in three seasons with the school. He replaced Kansas State coach Chris Klieman ahead of the 2019 season. Klieman won four titles with North Dakota State after taking over for Wyoming coach Craig Bohl after the 2013 season. Bohl was in charge for the first three titles in school history.

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