North Dakota State 2014 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

North Dakota State Bison
Missouri Valley


North Dakota State’s long winning streak was snapped by Northern Iowa, but this is still the team to beat in the FCS Playoffs. Back in 2011 and 2012 the Bison suffered a loss during the regular season before winning the championship, so there is no reason for NDSU to be worried. Coach Chris Klieman is picking up right where Craig Bohl left off.

2014 Record: 11-1, 7-1
Coach: Chris Klieman

Big Wins: 8/30 at Iowa State (34-14), 9/20 Montana (22-10)
Bad Losses: 11/8 at Northern Iowa (3-23)

There probably is not a better defense in the FCS then the one in Fargo. It starts up front with Kyle Emanuel. He spends a lot of time in the backfield and is one of the best sack specialists in the MVFC. Carlton Littlejohn, Colten Heagle and Travis Beck will get most of the tackles for the Bison and the secondary is extremely talented. C.J. Smith, Christian Dudzik and Jordan Champion may not make a lot of big plays, but they are lockdown defenders in the secondary. The lack of turnovers created by the defense may be a problem down the line, but this team still has one of the best turnover margins in the country since the offense does such an amazing job of taking care of the ball.

The offense does more than take care of the ball; they also grind out first downs and control the clock. John Crockett is a superb back who can carry the load and quarterback Carson Wentz is an efficient quarterback. When Wentz does throw, senior receiver Zach Vraa is his favorite target. Crockett is also a very dangerous receiver out of the backfield. The issue for this team is coming from behind. It is possible that the scenario will never arise in the FCS Playoffs though. The Bison were down 10-3 in their loss against Northern Iowa and Wentz simply could not get the offense moving. He threw 25 passes and completed just 15 for 132 yards. And none of those completed passes were down field, which allowed UNI to continue to focus on stopping Crockett for much of the game. Against another good defense and with a poor start, North Dakota State could find themselves in a similar situation during the playoffs.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: John Crockett, RB, 1,425 yards
Passing: Carson Wentz, QB, 2,287 yards
Receiving: Zach Vraa, WR, 574 yards
Tackles: Carlton Littlejohn, LB, 81
Sacks: Kyle Emanuel, DE, 16.5
Interceptions: Christian Dudzik, S, 4

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 224.5 (18th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 200.2 (74, 6)
Total Offense: 424.6 (33, 4)
Scoring Offense: 32.6 (35, 2)
Rushing Defense: 111.2 (14, 2)
Pass Defense: 147.9 (5, 1)
Total Defense: 259.1 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 11.4 (2, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.73 (16, 4)
Sacks: 2.91 (13, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.18 (20, 2)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2013    Second Round    Defeated Furman
2013    Quarterfinals    Defeated Coastal Carolina
2013    Semifinals    Defeated New Hampshire
2013    Championship    Defeated Towson
2012    Second Round    Defeated South Dakota State
2012    Quarterfinals    Defeated Wofford
2012    Semifinals    Defeated Georgia Southern
2012    National Championship    Defeated Sam Houston State
2011    Second Round    Defeated James Madison
2011    Quarterfinals    Defeated Lehigh
2011    Semifinals    Defeated Georgia Southern
2011    Championship    Defeated Sam Houston State
2010    First Round    Defeated Robert Morris
2010    Second Round    Defeated Montana State
2010    Quarterfinals    Lost to Eastern Washington

*all team stats through 11/15


Playoff Central