FARGO, N.D. -- North Dakota State football fans are making what has become an annual pilgrimage to Texas for the Football Championship Subdivision finale, including thousands of fans who don't have tickets for the game, school officials said Monday.

The Bison will be aiming for their third consecutive FCS championship when they play Towson at Toyota Stadium on Jan. 4. NDSU officials say there have been 6,000 requests for the 4,000 tickets that have been made available so far by the NCAA.

While many fans have taken to ticket brokers and the Internet to find seats, NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said many of them are happy to soak up the atmosphere around the game and a Friday pre-party.

"People are just going down and going to the Friday event, hanging out in the restaurants and bars and just being down there," Taylor said Monday. "A lot of them go and tailgate, and if they don't have a ticket there are a couple of local establishments near the stadium where they can go and watch the game.

"There are a couple of bars that have become huge Bison bars," he said.

The school has scheduled a pep rally at a 10,000-seat baseball stadium for the Friday before the game. The event was moved to the stadium last year after the Frisco hotel that held the rally in NDSU's first trip to the Division I championship ran out of beer.

This year's program will feature the school president, the Gold Star Marching Band, former football players, the cheer team and mascot. It will be headlined by homegrown country rock band, 32 Below, which is one of the most popular acts in North Dakota and Minnesota and which spent a year working and playing around Nashville.

The group's drummer, Luke Nygaard, said the five band members, some of whom attended NDSU, are huge Bison fans and are happy the booking includes tickets to the game.

"We wanted real badly to see that game," Nygaard said. "I don't want to make any predictions because I don't want to jinx anything, but I sure would love to see that third straight championship game in person."