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Stan Becton | | December 23, 2021

11 numbers to know about North Dakota State football's historic run ahead of the FCS championship

North Dakota State's football dynasty

When North Dakota State plays in the FCS championship on January 8, 2022, it will mark 10 years since its first FCS title. The Bison have had a historic run during that time, winning eight championships in dynastic fashion. Let's take a look at the numbers behind the North Dakota State football dynasty.

11 numbers to know about North Dakota State football's historic run


Before North Dakota State won its first FCS title in the 2011 season, it beat rival South Dakota State in the regular season. The two schools play every year for the Dakota Marker trophy, with the Bison picking up 11 wins over the Jackrabbits since its 2011 championship season. 

In that time, North Dakota State has lifted many trophies in Frisco, but adding a Dakota Marker trophy to the collection is always a sweetener to the pot.

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Since winning its first Missouri Valley Football Conference championship in 2011, North Dakota State has won at least a share of 10 MVFC championships. The Bison have been and remain a perennial power in arguably the best conference in the FCS.


The 2021 FCS championship game will be North Dakota State's ninth national championship appearance in 11 seasons. The Bison are 40-3 all-time in the FCS playoffs, once winning 22 in a row.

👀: 5 players to watch in the 2021 FCS championship game


North Dakota State has eight FCS national championships, matching its total number of championships at the Division II level (polling and title games). The eight FCS titles give the Bison the most in FCS history, with two more than Georgia Southern in second place.

FCS Playoffs: NDSU Crowned FCS Champions

North Dakota State joined the FCS in 2004. Seven years later, the Bison won their first FCS championship. A deeper dive makes that number more impressive.

North Dakota State was ineligible for the FCS playoffs in its first four seasons after moving up from Division II. In North Dakota's third season eligible for postseason play, it advanced to the FCS quarterfinals. In 2011, the fourth season that the Bison were eligible for the FCS playoffs, North Dakota State won its first title.

HISTORY: Schools with the most FCS titles | 9 winningest FCS programs all time | Championship history


Six is a memorable number in North Dakota State's championship runs.

Last week, on third-and-six, leading by 6 points, Destin Talbert intercepted James Madison in the end zone to seal its championship berth.

One-handed pick in end zone sends North Dakota State to the FCS national championship

In the 2014 FCS Championship, it was a six-play game-winning drive led by Carson Wentz that clinched the fourth-straight Bison championship.

Keep an eye out for anytime the number six appears in the FCS championship; it may be a good omen for North Dakota State.


North Dakota State won five straight national titles from 2011-2015. No other team has won more than three consecutive championships.

🏆: A complete history of North Dakota State football championships


The 2021 season has been full of close games for North Dakota State; the Bison have played in four games decided by one score or fewer this season. In those games, North Dakota State is 3-1, with the most recent victory being a 20-14 win over James Madison in the FCS semifinals. 

North Dakota State survives James Madison, advances to FCS championship

The close finishes should have North Dakota State well prepared for a close contest in this season's FCS national title game.


Despite North Dakota State's on-field success, it has had three coaches over its championship run. Craig Bohl led the Bison to their first three titles before leaving for Wyoming. Chris Klieman followed Bohl with four championships in five years. In 2019, Klieman left for Kansas State as then-defensive coordinator Matt Entz took over. Entz went undefeated in his first season at the helm, winning the national championship.

Bison coach Chris Klieman looks to capture one more title

With all of the changes at head coach, North Dakota State has remained at the top of the FCS. A remarkable feat for the Bison.


Entering the FCS Championship game, North Dakota State is the No. 2 seed. The Bison have been a No. 2 seed three times in 2011, 2014 and 2017. All three times North Dakota State won the national championship. That's a good sign for the Bison heading into the title game.

Trey Lance's 2019 FCS playoff highlights for North Dakota State


In 2014, during the middle of North Dakota State's five-peat, the Bison sat at No. 1 in the FCS Coaches Poll. North Dakota State made history with its ranking heading into the second weekend of November as it marked a record 30 consecutive weeks in the top spot in the FCS Coaches Poll.

THE LAST TITLE: Watch the full 2019 championship game | Extended highlights of NDSU's 8th title


North Dakota State has zero losses in FCS national championship games. Heading into Frisco on January 8, the Bison will try to keep their unblemished record by defeating Montana State. The Bison's dominance in title games helped the program win an FCS-record 39 consecutive games from 2017-2021.

Every trick play from North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs since 2012


If 11 numbers weren't enough, here are two bonus numbers about North Dakota State's dynasty.


North Dakota State sat 27th in the Sept. 18, 2016 AP Poll, the highest of any FCS team in history. The Bison received 74 votes in the poll after upsetting then-No. 13 Iowa. North Dakota State was just 65 votes away from No. 25 Oklahoma that week.

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When North Dakota State went 16-0 in 2019, it became the first team since Yale in 1894 to reach that mark. Let's put that into perspective. 

The President in 1894 was Grover Cleveland. That year also saw the establishment of Hershey's chocolate company and the first sale of Coca-Cola in bottles. The United States of America was only 44 states in 1894.

Yet, 125 years later, an FCS football team from Fargo, North Dakota recreated a piece of 1894's history.

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