Final: North Dakota State wins FCS championship 38-10
North Dakota State defeated Montana State 38-10 to win the FCS national championship. The victory gives the Bison their ninth title in 11 seasons.
North Dakota State dominated the game with its rushing attack, jumping out to a 28-0 first half lead. Fullback Hunter Luepke, the Most Outstanding Player, ran for three touchdowns in the first two quarters as the Bison gained 268 rushing yards. On the other side, Montana State lost its quarterback Tommy Mellott on the first drive. The Bobcat offense struggled without its freshman phenom, falling behind 35-0.
North Dakota State’s defense dominated Montana State for much of the game. The Bison defense forced a 33 percent third down conversion percentage and grabbed an interception. Montana State added scores late, with wide receiver Lance McCutcheon grabbing a 28-yard touchdown catch. However, the game was already out of reach.
For North Dakota State, the win ties its largest title game margin victory of 28 points (2013). North Dakota State moves to 9-0 in FCS championship games as the dynasty continues.
Touchdown Bobcats! North Dakota State 38, Montana State 10 | 4Q - 5:08
Montana State wide receiver Lance McCutcheon scored a 28-yard touchdown, giving the Bobcats their first touchdown of the game. Tucker Rovig found McCutcheon in the endzone to cap off an 80-play drive. With this game, McCutcheon is the Montana State new single-season receiving yard leader.
One quarter left in the 2021 FCS Championship game
Just one quarter remains in the 2021 FCS Championship game. North Dakota State leads Montana State by 35 points, 38-3.
The Bison kicker gets in on the action! North Dakota State 38, Montana State 3 | 3Q - 0:38
Montana State gets on the board! North Dakota State 35, Montana State 3 | 3Q - 7:43
Montana State kicked a 26-yard field goal to score its first points of the 2021 FCS Championship game. The Bobcats scored after a 12-play drive.
Play-action for 6! North Dakota State 35, Montana State 0 | 3Q - 12:34
North Dakota State quarterback Cam Miller found Josh Babicz on a play-action pass for the first score of the second half. Babicz was wide open on the 35-yard touchdown thanks to the misdirection from the run-heavy attack.
Halftime: North Dakota State leads Montana State 28-0
North Dakota State leads Montana State 28-0 after two quarters of play. It is the largest lead at the half in the FCS Championship game history.
Hunter Luepke has led the Bison offensive attack with three rushing touchdowns. Luepke's three first-half touchdowns bring his playoff touchdown total to six; the fullback scored just five total touchdowns during the 11-game regular season.
As a whole, North Dakota State's offense has rushed for 268 yards in the first half, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. During the regular season, Montana State, home of the nation's second leading scoring defense, averaged only 108.1 rushing yards per game and 2.9 yards per carry. The Bobcats have struggled to find a way to stop the Bison on the ground.
Montana State's offense has struggled without quarterback Tommy Mellott, who suffered an ankle injury on the first drive. Mellott's backup, Tucker Rovig, has just 89 yards of total offense in the first half.
North Dakota State will receive the second half kick. Click or tap here for live stats.
Third time's the charm for Luepke! North Dakota State 28, Montana State 0 | 2Q - 0:32
North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepke scored his third rushing touchdown of the day, falling in the endzone from six yards out. Luepke's touchdown finishes a 14-play scoring drive that saw 10 rushing attempts. The Bison now have 270 rushing yards in the first half.
The Bison score a 76-yard TD! North Dakota State 21, Montana State 0 | 2Q - 10:50
North Dakota State running back Kobe Johnson scored a 76-yard rushing touchdown, increasing the Bison lead to 21-0. With the run, North Dakota State now has 194 rushing yards with a 10:50 remaining in the second quarter.
North Dakota State opens the second quarter with a touchdown! North Dakota State 14, Montana State 0 | 2Q - 14:56
The first play of the second quarter was a North Dakota State touchdown. Bison fullback Hunter Luepke scored his second rushing touchdown, this time from 11-yards out. The touchdown caps off a seven-play 75-yard drive that saw North Dakota State have three plays of 10 or more yards.
Montana State misses kick | North Dakota State 7, Montana Stata 0 | 1Q - 3:18
Montana State's backup quarterback is in the game
Montana State backup quarterback Tucker Rovig has entered the game after starter Tommy Mellott suffered an ankle injury on the game's opening drive.
The Bison strike first! North Dakota State 7, Montana State 0 | 1Q - 6:48
North Dakota State scored the first points of the 2021 FCS Championship with an eight-yard touchdown run from fullback Hunter Luepke. The score followed two key third down conversions, the first on a 14-yard scramble from quarterback Cam Miller and the second on a 34-yard designed run from quarterback Quincy Patterson.
Wide receiver Christian Watson made his first appearance in this year's playoffs, making a 20-yard catch on the 11-play 80-yard drive.
Tommy Mellott injured on first drive
On Montana State's first drive, quarterback Tommy Mellott suffered what appears to be a right ankle injury. While Mellott finished the drive, he was seen limping on the field and in between plays.
Montana State's first drive stalled in Bison territory, with a fake field goal attempt turning into a punt.
the ole Fake Field Goal —> Punt is not a recipe for success 🤢pic.twitter.com/yNFWm0cDGE— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) January 8, 2022