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FCS Playoffs 2021-22: Date, Schedule for Montana State vs. North Dakota Championship

Erin WalshDecember 19, 2021

AP Photo/Tommy Martino

The No. 2 North Dakota State Bison will face the No. 8 Montana State Bobcats for the 2021 FCS championship on Jan. 8 in Frisco, Texas. North Dakota State is looking for its ninth national championship in 10 years, while Montana State will be aiming for just its second title in program history.

The Bobcats have not won the FCS title since 1984, when they defeated Louisiana Tech 19-6 under head coach Dave Arnold. The Bison last won the title in 2019 with a 28-20 win over James Madison under current head coach Matt Entz.

Montana State and North Dakota State have met just three times in the playoffs—2010 second round, 2014 first round and 2019 semifinal—with the Bison winning each matchup by a significant margin.


Championship Schedule

No. 2 North Dakota State vs. No. 8 Montana State: Saturday, Jan. 8 at noon ET


North Dakota State's Run to the Final

The Bison earned a first-round bye and the second overall seed after going 10-1 in the regular season. They began their championship pursuit with a 38-7 win over the Southern Illinois Salukis in the second round behind a two-touchdown performance from junior running back TaMerik Williams.

North Dakota State then steamrolled the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 27-3 in the quarterfinals with another two-score performance from Williams and a 123-passing-yard performance from sophomore quarterback Cam Miller.

In the semifinals, the Bison defeated the James Madison Dukes 20-14 with a two-touchdown performance from Miller and a 199-yard, two-touchdown day for junior fullback Hunter Luepke.

Williams, Miller and Luepke have been big performers for the Bison throughout the 2021 season. Williams has 115 carries for 718 yards and 12 touchdowns this year, in addition to two catches for 15 yards.

Meanwhile, Miller has completed 68.1 percent of his passes for 1,318 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions, in addition to rushing for 176 yards and four scores. Luepke has rushed for 461 yards and five touchdowns this season, in addition to catching nine passes for 165 yards and three scores.


Montana State's Run to the Championship

The Bobcats also earned a first-round bye after going 9-2 in the regular season and began their championship run in the second round with a 26-7 win over the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks behind an incredible 181-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance from freshman quarterback Tommy Mellott.

Montana State then steamrolled the Sam Houston State Bearkats 42-19 in the quarterfinals by another impressive performance from Mellott, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more.

The Bobcats continued rolling in the semifinals with a 31-17 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits behind Mellott, who again passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another two.

Mellott only recently took over as Montana State's starting quarterback after Matthew McKay entered the transfer portal just before the playoffs began. He has been nothing short of incredible, throwing for 500 yards and four touchdowns, in addition to rushing for 410 yards and six scores in three games.

Other big performers for the Bobcats include junior running back Isaiah Ifanse, who has rushed for 1,539 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and senior wide receiver Lance McCutcheon, who has caught 53 passes for 1,015 yards and seven scores this year.

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