The North Dakota State Bison won their second straight national title and completed an undefeated season with a 38-24 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles in Saturday's FCS National Championship Game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
It's the sixth championship in the past seven years for NDSU and the school's seventh at FCS level, breaking a tie with Georgia Southern for the most in history. The only playoff defeat during its current dynasty came in 2016, when it lost to the eventual champion James Madison Dukes in the semifinals.
Eastern Washington was bidding to win its second national title (2010).
Senior quarterback Easton Stick led the way once again for the Bison by playing a role in all five of the team's touchdowns (three rushing and two passing). Both scoring throws were to senior wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who finished the game with five catches for 125 yards.
The final score isn't indicative of the contest's level of competitiveness.
Eastern Washington fell behind by 14 midway through the second quarter but on three separate occasions fought back within a single score. The margin never exceeded two scores.
The Eagles provided the game's most memorable moment despite the loss with a fake field goal right before halftime:
Saturday's clash also featured three touchdowns in a 68-second span early in the third quarter as two Stick touchdown passes sandwiched a 75-yard run to paydirt for EWU's Sam McPherson.
Although North Dakota State appeared in firm control for most of the second half, Eastern Washington made one last push in the game's final minutes.
After a missed field goal by the Bison's Cam Pedersen, the Eagles covered 80 yards in just four plays and 62 seconds to get back within seven with 2:19 left in the final quarter.
The underdog's comeback efforts came up short, though. Stick converted a crucial third down by keeping the ball on an option and running 46 yards to the house to close out his collegiate career in fine fashion.
It also marked a perfect send-off for head coach Chris Klieman, who's making the jump to the FBS to lead the Big 12's Kansas State Wildcats starting next season.
The focus of the college football world now shifts to the FBS' CFP National Championship on Monday night between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers.