There isn't a safer bet in all of college football than North Dakota State playing in a playoff game at home.
The Bison, who have never lost in the postseason in the raucous Fargodome, are now one game away from taking home their third consecutive FCS championship, after throttling New Hampshire to the tune of 52-14. A title would cap off a season that includes a victory over Kansas State of the Big 12 and the hosting of ESPN’s College GameDay.
Read on for a current look at the semifinals results to this point and schedule information as the FCS Playoffs head down the final stretch.
The full FCS bracket can be found here at NCAA.com.
North Dakota State 52, New Hampshire 14
New Hampshire’s coach Sean McDonnell insisted to Craig Larson of The Boston Globe before the game that the Fargodome wouldn’t be a problem for his squad:
“At this time, in the national semifinals, you get this far, you’re not intimidated.”
While the Wildcats may not have been overwhelmed by the atmosphere, they were certainly outmatched on the field. North Dakota State fell behind 7-0 early after quarterback Brock Jensen threw a pick-six.
But it was all Bison after that.
The win moved Jensen’s career record to an incredible 46-5, which is good enough for the most wins of all time at the FCS level. It was also North Dakota State’s 23rd consecutive victory.
Jensen tallied 146 yards passing and three touchdowns through the air, along with 30 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. But he was far from a one-man show. Running back John Crockett dashed New Hampshire for 195 yards on the ground, while wide receiver Zach Vraa had 76 yards receiving and a touchdown.
The defense was also terrific throughout the contest and prevented New Hampshire from grabbing an early two-score lead after the early pick-six and North Dakota State fumble.
Despite the blowout loss, the Wildcats impressed throughout the FCS playoffs with road victories over Maine and Southeastern Louisiana. North Dakota State may have been too much to handle for quarterback Sean Goldrich (who threw two interceptions) and company, but there is a reason the Bison are considered the class of the FCS level.
While New Hampshire is now going home, the only thing that stands in the way of a third straight Bison championship is the winner of the other semifinals matchup.
Towson 35, Eastern Washington 31
After a wild, roller-coaster game, it was the Towson Tigers that emerged victorious and will take on North Dakota State in the FCS Championship Game.
Towson's backup quarterback Connor Frazier was able to score on a one-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the game after a 71-yard drive that effectively ended Eastern Washington's season.
The Tigers scored the first 21 points of the game on a pair Peter Athens touchdown passes and a one-yard touchdown run from Terrance West.
Despite the big lead, Eastern Washington went unfazed and scored the game's next 31 points.
Quarterback Vernon Adams started to get hot, as he was able to connect on two red-zone touchdown passes over the next two quarters. Adams finished the game completing 28 of 42 passing attempts for 394 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Despite a pass-heavy scheme, the Eagles offense remained balanced, as Quincy Forte and Mario Brown each scored on short touchdown scampers.
Athens was extremely efficient over the first half, completing eight of his nine passing attempts for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, he was unable to take the field in the second half after suffering a shoulder injury.
Frazier came in for Athens and struggled initially. He was unable to move the ball effectively until the fourth quarter which played a part in Eastern Washington's dominance midway through the contest.
However, Frazier made up for it late in the game, as he was able to use both his arm and legs to move the ball downfield. Frazier's ability to run allowed Towson to create a dynamic rushing attack which accumulated 241 total yards on Saturday.
Towson's defense must get it together heading into the Championship Game against North Dakota State's powerful offense. The Tigers gave up a total of 580 yards of offense to Eastern Washington on Saturday, which won't fly the next time they take the field.
The Tigers' dramatic victory on Saturday leaves them as the only team remaining between North Dakota State and a third-consecutive championship.
No. 1 North Dakota State vs. No. 7 Towson
When: Saturday, Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2
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