complete release attached
No. 1-ranked North Dakota State (13-1, 7-1 Valley Football) is scheduled to play No. 5 Sam Houston State (11-3, 6-1 Southland Conference) for the second straight year in the NCAA FCS Championship game at 12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas (20,086 / Bermuda Tifway 419) ... Top-seeded NDSU defeated Georgia Southern 23-20 on Dec. 14, while the Bearkats held off No. 2 seed Eastern Washington 45-42 in Cheney, Wash., on Dec. 15 ... The Bison are 27-2 over the past two seasons under the direction of 2012 Eddie Robinson Award winner Craig Bohl ... That record is the best in the FCS and FBS (Alabama is 2nd) this season.
SERIES RECORD: This is the fourth meeting between North Dakota State and Sam Houston State ... Only 17 points have separated the teams in the first three encounters ... The Bison won the first meeting 41-38 at the Fargodome on a last second Steve Walker pass to Kole Heckendorf in 2007, lost 48-45 on a last minute field goal to the Bearkats at Huntsville in 2009, and NDSU defeated Sam Houston 17-6 to win the FCS national championship on Jan. 7, 2012, in Frisco (recap on page 4) ... The Bison are 8-1 against current members of the Southland Conference (Nicholls State 2-0, Northwestern State 2-0, Stephen F. Austin 2-0 and Sam Houston State 2-1).
ON THE ROAD: North Dakota State is 11-0 on the road over the last two seasons ... The Bison have won 16 of their last 20 road games ... The Bison are 36-20 on the road since head coach Craig Bohl took over in 2003 ... NDSU is 13-7 in MVFC road games.
POSTSEASON HISTORY: North Dakota State is making its third straight NCAA Division I FCS playoff appearance and 26th postseason overall including 17 in the Division II playoffs ... The Bison make the program’s ninth appearance in a championship game (7 coming in Division II) ... NDSU is 6-2 in previous championship games ... The Bison won the 2011 NCAA FCS national championship with a 17-6 win over Sam Houston State on Jan. 7, 2012, in Frisco, Texas ... North Dakota State, the No. 2 seed, posted home wins over James Madison (26-14), Lehigh (24-0) and Georgia Southern (35-7) to advance ... NDSU advanced to the 2010 NCAA FCS quarterfinals before falling 38-31 in OT at Eastern Washington ... The Bison beat Robert Morris 43-17 in the program’s first-ever NCAA playoff game in the Fargodome ... NDSU defeated Montana State 42-17 in the second round at Bozeman ... The Bison are 44-14 overall in the postseason including a 9-1 record in the NCAA FCS playoffs and 31-12 record in NCAA Division II ... NDSU has won nine national championships (1965, 1968, 1969, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990 and 2011) and were national runner-up three times (1967, 1981 and 1984) ... Championships & placings prior to 1973 were determined by AP or UPI polls ... Championship & runner-up finishes after that were through the NCAA playoff format.
TELEVISION/RADIO: The game will be televised on ESPN2 HD and WatchESPN ... Dave Neal will handle the play-by-play, and former Howard University and NFL QB Jay Walker will provide the color analysis ... Cara Capuano will be on the sidelines ... It will be broadcast nationally on radio through NCAA Radio/Dial Global ... John Tautges will handle the play-by-play and former college and NFL head coach Terry Donahue will serve as the color analyst . ... All 11 regular season games in 2012 were televised for the first time in school history ... The Bison are 113-57-1 (.664) in TV games.
RADIO BROADCAST: KFGO-AM 790, Fargo ... Veteran sports announcer Scott Miller will handle the play-by-play ... Former NDSU quarterback Steve Walker will handle the color duties, while NDSU director of athletic broadcasting Jeremy Jorgenson is on the sidelines ... Air time is set for 11:30 a.m., kickoff at 12 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 ... Anchored by flagship, The Mighty 790, KFGO-AM, the Bison Radio Network has 20 stations including (Fargo, simulcast on KRWK 101.9 FM); KFYR 550 AM (Bismarck); KHRT 1320 AM (Minot); KSJB 600 AM (Jamestown); KEYZ 660 AM (Williston); KDVL 102.5 FM (Devils Lake); KHND 1470 AM (Harvey); KZZJ 1450 AM (Rugby); KPOK 1340 AM (Bowman); KAUJ – 100.9 FM (Grafton); KLTC 1460 AM (Dickinson); WLKX 95.9 FM (North) / KBGY 107.5 FM (South) (Minneapolis/St. Paul); KDDG 105.5 FM (Albany); KZCR 103.3 FM (Fergus Falls); KMGK 107.1 FM (Glenwood), and KKCQ 96.7 FM (Fosston) ... The Bison gameday format includes a 30-minute pregame show with comments from Craig Bohl, in-depth analysis and features ... A complete 30-minute postgame show is covered.
OLSON ON THE TACKLE: Middle linebacker Grant Olson set a school record with 29 tackles in the 14-7 win over Wofford College (12-8-12) in the NCAA FCS quarterfinals ... The 29 tackles are the highest total in NCAA football this season at any division ... It is tied for second all-time in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and one off the FCS playoff record of 30 ... Olson broke the NDSU record of 26 set by safety Ken Clark vs. Nebraska-Omaha in 1989 ... He had 23 assisted tackles vs. Wofford which broke the previous school record of 21 set three times ... Olson ranks 19th nationally at 10.54 tackles per game ... He has five double-figure tackle games this season and six in his career ... Olson leads the team with 146 tackles, the highest total since 1985 when linebacker Jim Dick had a school record 167.
TOUGH GOING: After limiting South Dakota State to 217 yards on Dec. 1, North Dakota State has held 11 of its last 15 opponents to under 250 yards of total offense, dating back to the FCS Championship game victory over Sam Houston State ... The 11 rushing yards by Southern Illinois were the lowest yielded since Concordia-St. Paul was limited to minus-14 in 2006 ... The 76 yards given up at South Dakota (10-20-12) was the lowest total offense yardage allowed since Moorhead State was limited to 66 (43 rushing, 23 passing) in 2000 ... Missouri State’s 22 passing yards were the lowest allowed since Minnesota State Moorhead’s 23 in 2000 ... USD’s four first downs were fewest since NDSU allowed three vs. Minnesota State Moorhead in 2000.
DON’T TREAD ON ME: North Dakota State leads the nation in scoring defense (11.43 avg/g), total defense (223.29 avg/g), pass defense (131 avg/g) and first downs allowed (11.93 avg/g), and is second in defense 3rd down efficiency (28.07 pct.) ... The Bison defense has allowed only five rushing touchdowns (2 vs. Georgia Southern, 12-14-12; at Illinois State, 11-17-12; at Missouri State, 11-3-12; at UNI, 9-29-12) and 15 overall ... NDSU has allowed over 100 yards on the ground four times through 14 games ... Missouri State had 127 rushing yards on Nov. 3, Illinois State had 111 on Nov. 17, Wofford had 262 on Dec. 8, Georgia Southern had 271 on Dec. 14 ... Only two of 14 opponents have passed for over 200 yards, UNI had 213 on Sept. 29, Illinois State had 207 on Nov. 17 ... NDSU has 90 tackles for loss, 39 QB hurries, 34 sacks, 31 pass breakups, 16 fumble recoveries and nine interceptions.
DRIVE TIME: North Dakota State leads the nation in time of possession at 34-minutes, 39-seconds ... The Bison played “keep-away” for a season-high 40:48 in the 23-17 win over Southern Illinois (10-27-12) ... That included a season-high scoring drive of 10:03 (16 plays, 66-yards) ... On the average, NDSU has held the ball for 17:50 out of 30-minutes in the second half including 8:56 in the third quarter ... The Bison kept the ball for 13:19 out of 15-minutes during the third quarter in the win at Colorado State ... The Bison are averaging 8.6 plays covering 55 yards in 4-minutes, 48-seconds on 70 scoring drives.
CORNERBACK MARCUS WILLIAMS SELECTED MVFC DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR, FINALIST FOR BUCHANAN AWARD: Cornerback Marcus Williams was named the 2012 Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... Williams was a finalist for The Sports Network’s Buck Buchanan Award ... The award honors the outstanding defensive player in the FCS ... Former NDSU and Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays was a finalist for the Buchanan Award in 2007 ... He is a two-time Sports Network/Fathead.com and Associated Press first-team performer ... He was joined on both All-America first teams by offensive tackle Billy Turner ... Williams became the 15th NDSU player to earn American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America honors ... In his career, he has scored seven times overall including four interceptions, a lateral and a pair of kickoff returns ... Williams recorded his fifth interception of the season and 16th of his career vs. South Dakota State (12-1-12) ... He had a 98-yard pick six against Youngstown State (10-6-12) ... Williams is tied for first all-time in interceptions with Steve Krumrei (16/1967-69) ... He is currently ninth in kickoff returns (25.70 avg/r) and tied for 23rd in NCAA FCS in interceptions ... Williams has at least one pass defended in 32 of 42 career games.
BISON PLACE DOZEN ON ALL-MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE TEAM: Missouri Valley Football Conference champion North Dakota State University placed five players on the all-conference first team including Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Williams, four were named to the all-MVFC second team and three others earned honorable mention ... The all-MVFC teams were released Monday, and selected by coaches, sports information directors and media panel ... Williams was joined on the all-conference first-team by linebacker Grant Olson, offensive center Joe Lund, offensive tackle Billy Turner and place-kicker Adam Keller ... Selected to the all-MVFC second team were defensive end Cole Jirik, defensive tackle Leevon Perry and quarterback Brock Jensen, while Ryan Smith earned honors at both wide receiver and return specialist ... Linebacker Travis Beck, defensive end Kyle Emanuel and free safety Christian Dudzik were honorable mention on the all-conference team.
NDSU PLACES FOUR ON VALLEY FOOTBALL ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM: Quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen of UNI was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year and MVFC Freshman of the Year ... He heads a list of 23 student-athletes named to the 2012 Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer Team including NDSU fullback Andrew Bonnet, offensive guard Josh Colville, running back John Crockett and punter Ben LeCompte.
BISON QUICK-HITTERS: North Dakota State has attracted over 18,000 fans in 16 of its last 17 games at Gate City Bank Field ... NDSU has allowed only 57 points over its last seven NCAA FCS playoff games ... Linebacker Travis Beck has four forced fumbles this season including one vs. Wofford College (12-8-12), and he had a career-high with 15 tackles vs. Georgia Southern (12-14-12) ... The Bison offensive line, known as the “Rams” ranks 7th nationally in tackles for loss allowed (3.79 avg/g), and NDSU led the Missouri Valley Football Conference and ranks 26th nationally in rushing offense ... Defensive end Cole Jirik has five sacks over the last two games ... Running back John Crockett has three 100-yard games this season, and Sam Ojuri has two this season and seven in career ... Crockett needs 44 yards to reach 1,000 and Ojuri needs 45 yards ... Ojuri is going for his second straight 1,000-yard ... If Crockett or Ojuri reach 1,000, it would be the 10th straight season the Bison would have a running back reach 1,000 yards ... NDSU posted its second shutout of the season and the program’s first in 36 MVFC games with the 54-0 win over South Dakota on Oct. 20 ... The Bison shutout Robert Morris 52-0 in the season opener ... The last time NDSU had two shutouts in a season was 2005 vs. Weber State (41-0) and Northern Colorado (44-0) ... Punter Ben LeCompte has punted 51 times for an average of 43.3 yards per attempt with a season-long of 65 yards vs. Southern Illinois (10-27-12) ... He ranks 10th nationally in punting ... LeCompte has placed 18 inside the 20 and had 10 fair catches ... NDSU has limited its opponent to 10 points or less in 14 of its last 29 games ... Defensive end Cole Jirik had 4 tackles including a safety, two tackles for loss and a sack in North Dakota State’s 22-7 win over Colorado State on Sept. 8 ... His safety with 5:34 left in the first quarter broke a 7-7 tie and gave the Bison the lead for good ... The safety was the first for NDSU since Matthew Gratzek’s against Robert Morris in the 2010 FCS playoff game ... North Dakota State’s field goal block by linebacker Carlton Littlejohn against Georgia Southern (12-14-12) was the third of the season ... Defensive lineman Anthony LaVoy blocked a field goal against Wofford College (12-8-12) ... Nose guard Ryan Drevlow blocked a field goal at Colorado State (9-8-12) ... North Dakota State cornerback Christian Dudzik blocked a PAT attempt vs. Georgia Southern (12-14-18), the first since 2008 when Matthew Gratzek’s vs. Austin Peay in 2008 ... North Dakota State committed zero (0) turnovers in eight of 15 games played in 2011 and 14 times over its last 29 games ... The Bison committed only 12 turnovers overall in 15 games in 2011 ... With an 88-32 record, NDSU head coach Craig Bohl is No. 2 on the school’s all-time win list behind Rocky Hager (91-25-1, 1987-95) ... Bohl is one of three Bison coaches with 60 wins ... Wide receiver Zach Vraa caught a career and season-high eight passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns vs. Prairie View A&M (9-22-12)... His 69-yard TD reception was the longest for NDSU since Nick Mertens and Gary Williams hooked up on a school record 95-yard score against Illinois State on Oct. 3, 2009 ... His 156 yards receiving were the most for a Bison receiver since Warren Holloway had 184 on seven catches against Western Illinois on Oct. 2, 2010 ... North Dakota State’s 81 offensive plays against Colorado State (9-8-12) were its most since running 83 against Northern Iowa on Oct. 10, 2009.