SPARTANBURG, S.C. – North Dakota State won its fourth straight Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Championship on Saturday with a 29-27 victory over Illinois State. The Bison garnered all 25 first-place votes to claim the top spot in the final FCS Coaches Poll of the season.
NDSU totaled 625 points this week, after winning its final six games of the 2014 season to finish with a 15-1 record. In the National Championship game, the Bison scored with 37 seconds remaining, on a Carson Wentz touchdown run, to go ahead for good. With the win, North Dakota State became the first Division I football program to win four straight national titles.
Illinois State came in second in the final top 25 rankings of the season, totaling 600 points. The Red Birds pulled upsets of Eastern Washington and New Hampshire en route to the national title game to finish 13-2 on the year.
New Hampshire dropped two spots from the previous poll to finish third in the top 25. Eastern Washington came in fourth with an 11-3 record, while Coastal Carolina finished the season at 12-2 and earned 516 points to round out the top five.
Sam Houston State made a huge leap in the top 25, moving up 13 spots to finish sixth after a run in the FCS Playoffs. The Bearkats upset Southeastern Louisiana, Jacksonville State and Villanova before falling to eventual National Champion North Dakota State in the semifinals.
Villanova and Chattanooga finished the season ranked seventh and eighth, respectively. Both the Wildcats and the Mocs picked up a win in the second round of the playoffs before falling in the quarterfinals. Villanova compiled an 11-3 record in 2014 while Chattanooga put together a 10-4 season.
Jacksonville State and Northern Iowa rounded out the top 10, coming in ninth and 10th, respectively. Northern Iowa won its opening round game over Stephen F. Austin before falling to Illinois State in the second round to finish with a 9-5 record.
Montana came in 11th with Southeastern Louisiana finishing 12th and South Dakota State earning a 13th-place ranking. Fordham finished the season with an 11-3 record and claimed a No. 14 ranking, followed by Harvard in 15th.
Eleven different conferences were represented among the 25 teams. The Missouri Valley Football Conference led all conferences with six teams in the top 25, including No. 1 North Dakota State and No. 2 Illinois State. The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) placed five teams in the top 25 with the Big Sky adding three teams to the top 25.
The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.
|Team (No. 1 Votes)||Record||Points||Previous Rank||Team (No. 1 Votes)||Record||Points||Previous Rank||Team (No. 1 Votes)||Record||Points||Previous Rank|
|1. North Dakota State (25)||15-1||625||3||11. Montana||9-5||356||11||21. Eastern Kentucky||9-4||139||18|
|2. Illinois State||13-2||600||7||12. Southeastern La.||9-4||348||9||22. Bethune-Cookman||9-3||96||20|
|3. New Hampshire||12-2||568||1||13. South Dakota State||9-5||335||13||23. Sacred Heart||9-3||64||22|
|4. Eastern Washington||11-3||527||4||14. Fordham||11-3||312||12||24. William & Mary||7-5||58||24|
|5. Coastal Carolina||12-2||516||6||15. Harvard||10-0||251||14||25. Youngstown State||7-5||44||25|
|6. Sam Houston State||11-5||463||19||16. Richmond||9-5||237||16||
Others Receiving Votes: Stephen F. Austin 20, Idaho State 15, Alcorn State 14, Cal Poly 13, Charleston Southern 12, Morgan State 8, San Diego 6, Northern Arizona 3, McNeese State 3, Yale 1
|7. Villanova||11-3||458||5||17. Liberty||9-5||214||23|
|8. Chattanooga||10-4||434||8||18. Indiana State||8-6||213||21|
|9. Jacksonville State||10-2||414||2||19. James Madison||9-3||202||15|
|10. Northern Iowa||9-5||389||10||20. Montana State||8-5||167||17|
|1. North Dakota State||6. Sam Houston State||11. Montana||16. Richmond||21. Eastern Kentucky|
|2. Illinois State||7. Villanova||12. Southeastern Louisiana||17. Liberty||22. Bethune-Cookman|
|3. New Hampshire||8. Chattanooga||13. South Dakota State||18. Indiana State||23. Sacred Heart|
|4. Eastern Washington||9. Jacksonville State||14. Fordham||19. James Madison||24. William & Mary|
|5. Coastal Carolina||10. Northern Iowa||15. Harvard||20. Montana State||25. Youngstown State|