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Bison show championship mettle

Division I Football Championship Subdivision

Bison quarterback Carson Wentz capped a 78-yard drive with a five-yard run to win the game. JAMIE SCHWABEROW / NCAA PHOTOS

When some of the current seniors on the North Dakota State football team were being recruited, the Bison were finishing up a 3-8 season in 2009.

After a redshirt season, those players are leaving the Fargo, North Dakota, campus with an impeccable legacy by being the first Division I Football Championship Subdivision program to win four consecutive NCAA championships.

Their latest triumph came Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas, when the Bison dramatically rallied for a 29-27 victory over fellow Missouri Valley Football Conference member Illinois State.

North Dakota State (15-1) blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter and fell behind 27-23 following a 58-yard touchdown run by Illinois State quarterback Tre Roberson with 1:38 left in the game.

Sixty-one seconds later, Bison quarterback Carson Wentz capped a 78-yard drive with a five-yard run to win the game and help North Dakota State join Augustana (Illinois) (Division III champions 1983-86) as the only football programs to win four straight NCAA football championships.

“(Former Bison head) coach (Craig) Bohl told me, ‘If you commit here, I really think you will be part of a national championship … he didn’t say four championships,” said North Dakota State senior defensive lineman Kyle Emanuel in an interview with The (Fargo) Forum newspaper. “He didn’t even mention about getting the opportunity for four championships. But who could have ever imagined that?”

The Results

FCS football

Championship
North Dakota State 29, Illinois State 27

Semifinals
North Dakota State 35, Sam Houston State 3
Illinois State 21, New Hampshire 18

Elite 89 winner
Carson Wentz, North Dakota State (4.00 health and physical education)

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