North Dakota State 2016 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

North Dakota State Bison
Missouri Valley
With five straight FCS National Championships, North Dakota State is clearly the favorite to win the title in 2016 until proven otherwise. As it usually goes, the Bison did lose a game in the regular season. This time it was at home to South Dakota State, who knocked off NDSU 19-17. However, North Dakota State always saves their best football for the playoffs.
2016 Record: 10-1, 7-1
Coach: Chris Klieman
Big Wins: 9/10 Eastern Washington (50-44), 9/17 at Iowa (23-21)
Bad Losses: 10/15 South Dakota State (17-19)
The defense has again been spectacular this season. The Bison have allowed more than 21 points just once this season and that was an overtime win over the pass happy Eastern Washington offense. Greg Menard and Brad Ambrosius are very dangerous pass rushers and Nate Tanguay is one of the best defensive tackles in the MVFC. Linebackers Pierre Gee-Tucker, Matt Plank and MJ Stumpf have done a very good job stepping up their game when star linebacker Nick DeLuca went down with an injury early in the season. The secondary is loaded with playmakers. Robbie Grimsley, Jalen Allison and Tre Dempsey have each intercepted at least four passes this season. The secondary is prone to give up some big plays, but they usually make up for it by making big plays of their own.
With such a talented defense, the offense does not need to do too much. Coach Chris Klieman is happy to keep the ball on the ground and grind out wins. With Lance Dunn and King Frazier leading the ground game, that is usually enough to get the win. Those two are tough backs who have both been very productive while splitting carries. Easton Stick has already lead NDSU to one national title and the sophomore signal caller will look to make it two in 2016. He has not been the most consistent passer and needs to avoid poor decisions that lead to interceptions, but Stick can make plays with his arm and his legs. He has not been asked to do much with his arm for most of this season, but he has already proven that he is capable of making big plays when needed.
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Lance Dunn, RB, 756 yards
Passing: Easton Stick, QB, 1,719 yards
Receiving: Darrius Shepherd, WR, 495 yards
Tackles: Pierre Gee-Tucker, LB, 70; Robbie Grimsley, S, 70
Sacks: Greg Menard, DE, 9.5
Interceptions: Tre Dempsey, S, 5
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 227.0 (14th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 157.3 (104, 9)
Total Offense: 384.3 (55, 7)
Scoring Offense: 28.2 (47, 6)
Rushing Defense: 99.6 (11, 1)
Pass Defense: 220.4 (59, 5)
Total Defense: 320.0 (19, 3)
Scoring Defense: 16.7 (6, 2)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (13, 1)
Sacks: 2.90 (10, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.20 (22, 1)
Recent Playoff Appearances:
2015    Second Round            Defeated Montana
2015    Quarterfinals   Defeated Northern Iowa
2015    Semifinals       Defeated Richmond
2015    Championship Defeated Jacksonville State
2014    Second Round            Defeated South Dakota State
2014    Quarterfinals   Defeated Coastal Carolina
2014    Semifinals       Defeated Sam Houston State
2014    Championship Defeated Illinois State
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    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 11/12