SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After defeating defending-champion James Madison 17-13 on Saturday for its sixth FCS national championship in seven years, the North Dakota State Bison finished No. 1 overall in the final FCS Coaches Poll. The win capped a 14-1 season for the Bison, who tied Georgia Southern for the most FCS national titles with six.
The 2016 champion, James Madison, finished the season at No. 2, going 14-1 on the year. Sam Houston State, South Dakota State and Weber State round out the top five, respectively.
North Dakota State set the tone early in Saturday’s title game, forcing a three-and-out that the Bison offense turned into an 11-play, 66-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. The Dukes would get on the board with a field goal late in the first quarter, but the Bison’s Easton Stick and Darrius Shepherd connected on a 50-yard touchdown to give North Dakota State the 14-3 advantage.
The two sides traded field goals as the Bison took a 17-6 lead into half. James Madison forced a three-and-out to begin the third quarter, cutting the deficit to four when Marcus Marshall rushed for a touchdown to make the score 17-13. With time dwindling in the fourth, James Madison gained 24 yards on a fake punt, setting the Dukes up on the North Dakota State 29-yard line. After quarterback Bryan Schor rushed for a first down, the Bison responded by forcing a 2-yard loss on second down and a pair of incompletions to seal the game.
North Dakota State topped San Diego, Wofford and Sam Houston State en route to its sixth title. James Madison defeated Stony Brook, Weber State and South Dakota State before having its NCAA-leading 26 game winning streak snapped on Saturday.
Sam Houston State, which fell to North Dakota State in the semifinals, finished the season 12-2 overall. South Dakota State, which finished No. 4, went 11-3, falling to James Madison 51-16 in the semifinals. Weber State, which nearly defeated James Madison in the quarterfinals, finished 11-3 on the season.
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)||Points||Last week||2017 Record||Team (No. 1 Votes)||Points||Last week||2017 Record||Team (No. 1 Votes)||
|Last week||2017 Record|
|1. North Dakota State (24)||646||4||14-1||11. Stony Brook||375||11||10-3||21. Elon||162||17||8-4|
|2. James Madison (1)||623||1||14-1||12. Western Illinois||356||10||8-4||22. Eastern Washington||122||19||7-4|
|3. Sam Houston State||559||5||12-2||13. Southern Utah||329||13||9-3||23. Nicholls||110||22||8-4|
|4. South Dakota State||557||6||11-3||14. Grambling State||294||12||11-2||24. Yale||102||24||9-1|
|5. Weber State||503||8||11-3||15. New Hampshire||279||20||9-5||25. San Diego||72||RV||10-3|
|6. North Carolina A&T (1)||476||7||12-0||16. South Dakota||239||18||8-5||
Others receiving votes: Monmouth (61), Austin Peay (30), Northern Arizona (23), Delaware (6), Central Connecticut State (4), Southeastern Louisiana (2), Lehigh (2), Sacramento State (1), Western Carolina (1).
|7. Wofford||445||9||10-3||17. Samford||222||14||8-4|
|8. Central Arkansas||431||3||10-2||18. McNeese||213||15||9-2|
|9. Kennesaw State||427||16||12-2||19. Northern Iowa||182||21||8-5|
|10. Jacksonville State||423||2||10-3||20. Furman||173||25||8-5|
|1. North Dakota State (24)||6. North Carolina A&T||11. Stony Brook||16. South Dakota||21. Elon|
|2. James Madison (1)||7. Wofford||12. Western Illinois||17. Samford||22. Eastern Washington|
|3. Sam Houston State||8. Central Arkansas||13. Southern Utah||18. McNeese||23. Nicholls|
|4. South Dakota State||9. Kennesaw State||14. Grambling State||19. Northern Iowa||24. Yale|
|5. Weber State||10. Jacksonville State||15. New Hampshire||20. Furman||25. San Diego|