THIS WEEK: No. 6/7-ranked North Dakota State returns to the FCS playoffs for the 11th straight season this week when the Bison (6-2) host a first-round game against No. 9/8-ranked Eastern Washington (5-1). Game time is 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The winner advances to the quarterfinals next Saturday, May 1, or Sunday, May 2, against either Big South Conference champion Monmouth or No. 2 seed Sam Houston State, the Southland Conference champion.
TELEVISION: All first round playoff games will be televised on ESPN3 through ESPN.com and the ESPN app. Clay Matvick (play-by-play) and Rocky Boiman (analyst) will have the call of the NDSU-Eastern Washington game. ESPN3 is available through participating internet and television service providers.
RADIO: Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on the Peterson Farms Seed Bison Radio Network including 107.9 The Fox in Fargo with Jeff Culhane (play-by-play), Phil Hansen (analyst) and Cole Jirik (sideline). Extended coverage locally on Bison 1660 and 92.7 FM includes “Bison Tailgate” from 11:00-12:00, “Bison Game Day” from 12:00-2:00 and the “Bison Hotline” call-in show following the network broadcast.
ONLINE: Free audio streaming of all NDSU football games is available on NDSU All Access through GoBison.com/allaccess and the NDSU Athletics mobile app. Live in-game statistics will be available on NCAA.com. Follow along with in-game updates on Twitter
DIGITAL GAME PROGRAMS: A new digital game day program will be available to fans free of charge through GoBison.com/publications and the NDSU Athletics mobile app available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play. The official NCAA Championship game program will be available online only at NCAA.com/gameprograms.
TICKETS: Due to NCAA restrictions limiting seating capacity to 25 percent for this year’s FCS playoffs, tickets were allocated to season ticket holders based on requests and NDSU priority points rankings. A limited number of NDSU student tickets will be available for $6 each and must be purchased at the Bison Ticket Office in the south lobby of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
PARKING AND STADIUM ENTRANCE (PDF): On game day, parking lots will open at 1 p.m. and stadium doors open at 1:30 p.m. Tailgating will not be allowed while stadium capacity is less than 100 percent. Parking will be $5 per spot and there will be no recreational vehicles, buses or trailers allowed in the parking lots. Those with game tickets in Sections 1-6 or Sections 24-34 should park on the east side of the Fargodome in lots B or C and enter through the north and east entrances. Those with game tickets in Sections 7-23 should park on the west side of the Fargodome in lots E, F or G and enter through the south and west entrances.
MASKS REQUIRED: Masks will be required upon entering the Fargodome and must be worn throughout the duration of the game. For those that do not have a mask, one will be provided. Failure to follow the directions of event personnel or failure to wear a mask (when not eating or drinking) could result in ticket revocation and the loss of ticket privileges in the future.
THE SERIES: North Dakota State has a 3-1 record against Eastern Washington dating back to 2010 when the teams first met in the NCAA quarterfinals. EWU hosted and won that game 38-31 in overtime en route to winning the FCS national championship. The teams most recently met in the national championship game of the 2018 season with NDSU winning 38-24 in Frisco, Texas. NDSU swept both games of a home-and-home series claiming a 50-44 overtime victory in Fargo in 2016 before routing the Eagles 40-13 in Cheney in 2017.
AGAINST THE BIG SKY: North Dakota State has a 15-3 record against Big Sky Conference opponents since beginning Division I play in 2004. That includes a 4-1 record in the FCS playoffs with the only loss coming in the 2010 quarterfinals at Eastern Washington. This is the third straight year the Bison will play a Big Sky opponent in the postseason. NDSU beat Montana State 42-14 in the 2019 semifinals and 52-10 in the 2018 second round. Missouri Valley Football Conference teams are 69-45 against the Big Sky Conference including a 14-5 record against Eastern Washington.
11th STRAIGHT POSTSEASON: North Dakota State is in the postseason for the 11th straight season dating back to 2010 when the Bison advanced to the FCS quarterfinals in their first appearance. NDSU has a 36-2 record in the FCS playoffs, including a 27-1 record in the Fargodome. This is North Dakota State’s 34th postseason appearance since 1964. The Bison are 71-15 all-time in the postseason including a 66-14 record in the NCAA playoff format since 1973.
Most Consecutive FCS Playoff Appearances
17 – Montana, 1993-2009
14 – New Hampshire, 2004-2017
11 – North Dakota State, 2010-2019
10 – Eastern Kentucky, 1986-1995
Highest FCS Playoff Winning Percentages
.947 – North Dakota State (36-2)
.793 – Marshall (23-6)
.777 – Youngstown State (28-8)
.776 – Georgia Southern (45-13)
Most FCS Playoff Games Won
45 – Georgia Southern
36 – North Dakota State
33 – Montana
FIVE VALLEY TEAMS QUALIFY: The Missouri Valley Football Conference has five teams in the NCAA Division I Football Championship including automatic qualifier and No. 1 overall seed South Dakota State making its 10th straight appearance. The MVFC earned four of the six at-large spots in the 16-team field including defending national champion North Dakota State, first-year league member North Dakota, Southern Illinois returning for the first time since 2009, and Missouri State making its first appearance since 1990. MVFC teams are 67-28 in the FCS playoffs over the past decade, including a 56-17 mark (.767) against non-league teams in the playoffs excluding 11 intraconference playoff games. Only one other conference had a winning record in the playoffs the last decade, the Colonial Athletic Association with a 44-39 record.
16-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: North Dakota State has won 16 football national championships. NDSU claimed three College Division national championships in 1965, 1968 and 1969 via the national polls, five Division II playoff titles in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1990, and was the first team in college football history to win five straight national titles with FCS crowns in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 before winning again in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
NINE STRAIGHT TITLES: North Dakota State set a Missouri Valley Football Conference record with nine consecutive league championships from 2011-2019, which is tied for fourth most consecutive conference titles in Division I football. The nine titles is second most in MVFC history. NDSU shared the league title four times and won five outright crowns in 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018 and 2019. North Dakota State has won 36 football conference championships including 26 in the North Central Conference (last in 1994) and one in the Great West Football Conference (2006).
Most Consecutive Conference Titles in Division I Football
14 – Oklahoma (Big 8, 1946-59)
12 – Montana (Big Sky, 1998-09)
10 – BYU (WAC, 1976-85)
9 – Florida State (ACC, 1992-00)
9 – North Dakota State (MVFC, 2011-19)
BISON AT HOME: North Dakota State has a 27-1 record in the Fargodome during the FCS playoffs since 2010 with the only loss coming to eventual national champion James Madison 27-17 in the 2016 semifinals. NDSU held home-field advantage through the semifinal round nine straight years from 2011-2019. Other than eight national championship games in Frisco, Texas, the Bison have only played two road games in the FCS playoffs winning 42-17 at Montana State in the 2010 second round before falling 38-31 in overtime at Eastern Washington in the 2010 quarterfinals. NDSU has won 69 of the last 71 home games over non-conference opponents and the Bison are 28-5 at home all-time against FCS Top 10 teams.
TOURNAMENT SEEDS: With the tournament field reduced from 24 to 16 teams this season, only the top four teams instead of eight earned a national seed and home-field advantage and there are no byes in the four-week tournament. This is the first year since 2010 that NDSU is not seeded. NDSU has been the No. 1 seed for five of its 11 FCS playoff appearances (2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019) and was seeded No. 2 three times (2011, 2014, 2017) and No. 3 once (2015).
10 STRAIGHT QUARTERFINALS: North Dakota State has advanced to the FCS quarterfinals 10 straight seasons, the longest streak in FCS history. NDSU also has a record nine-straight FCS semifinal appearances and is one of only three teams to have made the FCS semifinals at least nine times joining Georgia Southern (13) and Montana (11).
Most Consecutive FCS Quarterfinal Appearances
10 – North Dakota State, 2010-2019
6 – Appalachian State, 2005-2010
6 – Marshall, 1991-1996
6 – Georgia Southern, 1985-1990
6 – Georgia Southern, 1997-2002
Most FCS Quarterfinal Appearances
17 – Georgia Southern
14 – Northern Iowa
13 – Montana
12 – Appalachian State
12 – Delaware
10 – North Dakota State
10 – Eastern Washington