FCS Football Playoff Projections - Finals

FCS Final Projection
Saturday, January 8 (Eastern time)
#2 North Dakota State (13-1) vs. #8 Montana State (12-2), 12:00pm
North Dakota State is making their way to Frisco, or as Bison fans like to call it, Fargo South, for the ninth time in eleven seasons. Wow! Surely, everybody knows the pedigree, but when you write about it, it still seems like an edit is needed. The Bison have played their #2 overall seed to their distinct advantage, winning every game at home…38-7 in the Second Round against Southern Illinois, 27-3 in the Quarterfinals over East Tennessee State and 20-14 over James Madison in the Semifinals. For you math guys out there, like me, that’s 8 points per game they’re giving up against playoff competition. I don’t care who you are, you’re going to be successful with that kind of defense. And they’ve played like those numbers represent also. The offense has been grinding out big rushing totals, controlling the time of possession - the Bison Way.
Montana State has been slacking on defense, comparatively speaking, allowing 13.7 points in the playoffs…26-7 over Tennessee-Martin in the Second Round, 42-19 over Sam Houston in the Quarterfinals and 31-17 over South Dakota State in the Semifinals. Of course, that previous statement was made in jest. The Bobcats have been mowing down opponents just like their opponent’s here. However, MSU has probably been a little more explosive than NDSU has. Still, both teams are going to want to win the rushing battle in this game. That’s not just running it themselves but by stopping the other. Both are national level programs in doing so, so this might be one of those novacaine games where you keep grinding and wait for it to work.
If this game stays within a touchdown either way and both can stick to their modus operandi, this game could be done as quickly as some of those service academy games in the FBS (side note - our playoff is still better than yours, FBS). That being said, this looks like a lower scoring game, so watch it be a shootout. But we’re going to give a slight nod to the program who’s used to being here. It doesn’t really matter as teams change each season. But every player in the NDSU system has been through the title game wait before. Hopefully everyone shows up healthy and clean of the ‘VID and there’s no “what if’s” to call upon retrospectively.
PROJECTION: North Dakota State 21, Montana State 13