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Montana State faces North Dakota State for FCS National Championship

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PHOTO BY GARRETT BECKER

Bobcats travel to Texas looking to claim fourth football national championship in school history

MSU SPORTS INFORMATION

Montana State’s magical 2021 season holds one more stop, and it occurs in 2022 when the Bobcats meet North Dakota State in Frisco, Texas, for the FCS National Championship. While NDSU has played in eight of the 10 most recent national title games before this season, the Cats are playing for a title for the first time since 1984.  MSU’s defense has not allowed more than 22 points in a game this season, and in the playoffs surrender just over 14 points a game with six takeaways.
 
GAME DATA
KICKOFF: 10 am MT
SITE: Frisco, Texas
STADIUM: Toyota Stadium
RECORDS: Montana State is 12-2 and finished 7-1 in the Big Sky (2nd). North Dakota State is 13-1 after the 20-14 semifinal home win against James Madison, finishing 7-1 (1st) in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
 
NDSU-MSU SERIES
* MSU is 21-15 vs. NDSU, but the Bison have won three straight, all playoff games.
* The Cats and NDSU have met five times at neutral sites, all in the state of Montana. MSU is 2-1 against the Bison in Great Falls, 1-1 in Glendive
 
TEAM NOTES
* Seven of MSU’s 16 eight-win seasons in history, and four of the eight nine-win seasons, came in this century. This is the fifth season of at 11+ wins and third of 12.
Brent Vigen‘s 12 wins is third-most in Big Sky history by a school’s first-year coach (after UM’s Mick Dennehy and Joe Glenn), the most by a first-year Bobcat coach.
 
ON THE OFFENSE
* Montana State’s rushing offense is 7th in the FCS with 225.5 yards per game, while North Dakota State’s 3rd-ranked rushing defense allows 82.7 yards a game.
Isaiah Ifanse’s 118.4 rushing yards per game this season is 3rd in the FCS, and he set MSU’s single-season rushing record against Sam Houston (currently 1,539).
 
ON THE DEFENSE
* MSU allows 107.9 yards a game on the ground, 13th in the FCS, while NDSU rushes for 273.6 yards a game, 3rd the nation.
* Facing three of the top 15 rushing offenses in the FCS Playoffs, the Cats have allowed just 269 total yards on the ground (90 yards per game).
* MSU’s defense has held 12 of the 13 opponents (not counting the opener) below their prevous season average in scoring, and all 13 below their average in yards.
 
STADIUM STUFF
* MSU’s playoff record is 11-3 in Bobcat/Reno H. Sales Stadium.
 
PLAYOFF BULLET POINTS
* After qualifying for the NCAA Playoffs twice previously (with a cumulative 6-0 record), the Bobcats have earned 10 bids, and nine wins, since 2002.
* The six playoff wins by the 2021 senior class is the most in Bobcat history, and the 36 wins is second-most (after the 2010-13 group).
* MSU is the 14th different opponent NDSU has faced for an NCAA Championship.
* The Bobcats became the sixth team in Big Sky history to advance to the NCAA Semifinals in back-to-back seasons.

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