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Stan Becton | NCAA.com | December 22, 2021

Here are the best potential 2021 FCS championship game matchups

North Dakota State defeats East Tennessee State 27-3

Four teams remain in the running for the 2021 FCS championship with the semifinal games near. With just two games left in the FCS playoffs before the national title game in Frisco, it's time to countdown the most enticing possibilities for a national championship matchup.

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Here are the best potential 2021 FCS championship game matchups

4 | No. 8 Montana State vs. No. 3 James Madison

While both the Bobcats and Dukes are talented powerhouses, the matchup doesn't have the same obvious excitement or history as the others. 

However, if the programs do meet, keep an eye out for the quarterback matchup between Montana State freshman "Touchdown" Tommy Mellott and James Madison super-senior Cole Johnson. We could see Mellott become the next superstar in the FCS with a win or see Johnson bookend his career with national titles.

Montana State eliminates No. 1 Sam Houston State in FCS quarterfinals

3 | No. 8 Montana State vs. No. 2 North Dakota State

If Montana State meets North Dakota State in the national championship, all eyes will be on Bobcat head coach Brent Vigen. Vigen is a former North Dakota State player and assistant coach, winning a conference title as a player in 1994 and three FCS titles as an assistant from 2011-13.

Returning to the present, Vigen could win another national title in his first season as a head coach against the team it all started with. 

There are storylines on the field as well, with two of the top defenses all year facing off. If the Bison and Bobcats meet, expect a lot of impactful defensive plays.

2 | South Dakota State vs. No. 3 James Madison

There aren't many pre-existing storylines with a matchup between South Dakota State and James Madison (the two programs' first and only meeting came in the 2017 FCS semifinals), but the on-field play should be spectacular should they meet.

On offense, South Dakota State has a two-headed monster at running back in Pierre Strong Jr. and Isaiah Davis leading the way. James Madison's offense features Johnson and an elite wide receiver in Antwane Wells Jr. There's potential for big plays across the board.

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On defense, the Jackrabbits create turnovers, intercepting nine passes in three playoff games. Likewise, the Dukes are playing at a high level on defense these playoffs; they shut down the nation's top offense in round two, forcing five turnovers.

James Madison dominates Montana in FCS quarterfinals

If South Dakota State and James Madison meet in Frisco, there should be plenty of exciting plays to keep fans everywhere on their toes.

1 | South Dakota State vs. No. 2 North Dakota State

The best potential 2021 FCS championship game matchup would be South Dakota State against North Dakota State. It gets no better than a rivalry renewed with a national title on the line.

We saw the Jackrabbits and Bison battle earlier this year for the Dakota Marker. South Dakota State jumped out to an early lead before holding off a late North Dakota State rally. South Dakota State has now won two straight meetings in the rivalry.

HOW IT HAPPENED: Relive South Dakota State's win over North Dakota State

South Dakota State playing North Dakota State in the 113th all-time meeting with a national championship on the line takes the cake. Add in the possibility of the South Dakota State winning its first-ever championship against their archrival, and that is the icing on the cake.

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