NDSU football caps 2021 season with FCS title
Bison capture ninth National Championship
The North Dakota State football team claimed the program’s ninth national championship in the last 11 seasons as the Bison rolled over No. 8 seed Montana State 38-10 in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game Saturday, Jan. 8, at Toyota Stadium.
It is the 17th national championship for the Bison football program and the ninth since joining the FCS. NDSU, now 9-0 in national championship game appearances, finished the season 14-1 overall.
Hunter Luepke, voted the game’s Most Outstanding Player, matched his career high in touchdowns with three rushing scores in the opening half to lead the way for the Bison.
Luepke began the scoring with an 8-yard rush at 6:48 in the first quarter to give the Bison an early lead. On the first play of the second quarter, Luepke rushed in untouched from 11 yards to double the Bison lead.
Four minutes later, Kobe Johnson broke open a 76-yard run to as the Bison took a 21-0 lead, and Luepke’s 6-yard run put NDSU ahead 28-0 for the largest halftime lead in FCS championship game history.
Luepke would finish with 82 yards on 14 carries. Johnson surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second time this season as the junior finished with 106 yards on four carries.
On the first drive of the second half, quarterback Cam Miller connected with tight end Josh Babicz on a 35-yard touchdown strike for the final Bison touchdown of the afternoon.
Miller finished the game 9-for-13 for 126 yards. Miller also had nine carries for 41 yards. Fellow Bison quarterback Quincy Patterson had 11 rushes under center for 98 yards.
Both teams would exchange field goals before Montana State (12-3) added a late touchdown pass to wrap up the scoring. NDSU outgained Montana State 506-335 in total yards, including 380 rushing yards with 268 of those coming in the first half. It was the most total yards and rushing yards allowed by the Bobcats all season.
Dawson Weber forced the only takeaway from either team in the game, his fourth interception of the season and second of the playoffs. Jasir Cox led the Bison defense with seven tackles. Weber, Cole Wisniewski and Jackson Hankey each had five tackles.
Christian Watson led the Bison in receptions with four for 61 yards. Babicz had two catches for 48 yards and the third quarter touchdown.