No. 1 North Dakota St.'s 39-Game FCS Winning Streak Snapped by Southern Illinois

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2021

North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman leads the Bison onto the field for an of an NCAA college football game against Incarnate Word Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)
BRUCE CRUMMY/Associated Press

North Dakota State's FCS-record 39-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Saturday against Southern Illinois.

The Salukis upset the No. 1-ranked Bison 38-14 at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, ending the most dominant run in the history of FCS football.

Southern Illinois' defense held NDSU to just 268 yards in the game and forced two turnovers, while the Salukis imposed their will on the ground with 170 rushing yards in the win.

Romeir Elliott and Javon Williams Jr. combined for 129 of those yards on the ground and each rushed for two touchdowns.

Per Reddit CFB, North Dakota State's 39-game winning streak goes down as the third-longest in Division I college football history. The only programs with longer winning streaks are Oklahoma, which won 47 in a row from 1953 to 1957, and Washington, which won 40 straight from 1908 to 1914.

Bryan Fischer of Athlon Sports noted that Alabama now has the longest active winning streak in college football at 14, and he listed the rest of the top five as well:

North Dakota State and Southern Illinois now both sit at 2-1 for the spring campaign.

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The Bison went undefeated in each of their past two seasons, going 15-0 in 2018 and 16-0 in 2019. They also won six in a row to close out the 2017 season after a 33-21 to rival South Dakota State, which was their last defeat prior to Saturday.

North Dakota State entered this season having won three consecutive FCS national titles and eight of the past nine.

A big reason for their success in recent years has been quarterback play, as current Indianapolis Colts and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz led the way from 2012 to 2015 and likely 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance was the starter in 2019.

The Bison did not play an official game during the 2020 fall college football season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they since lost Lance to the draft.

Zeb Noland started at quarterback Saturday, and he went just 13-of-24 for 159 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

With their record winning streak now a thing of the past, the Bison will look to get back on track next Saturday against the winless Missouri State Bears.