For North Dakota State Bison football fans traveling down to Frisco, Texas every January is becoming a rite of passage. This is the fifth straight year that the Bison faithful have made their pilgrimage south for what locals now call “Bison Weekend”. For the last four years, NDSU has packed Toyota Stadium and claims to have the best traveling fans in the nation. Fans schedule these trips long in advance expecting nothing less than a chance at the championship. This year though might have been the toughest road the Bison have had to travel on their way to a championship. Coming off a loss to South Dakota in the middle of the season and losing senior quarterback Carson Wentz to Injury, it looked like a fifth straight championship was in doubt. The doubters quickly regained faith when Redshirt Freshman Easton Stick gained control of the offense. The freshman from Omaha, reenergized the Bison and has won all eight of his collegiate starts. One milestone Stick has yet to accomplish in his young career, is to upset the #1 ranked team in the nation.
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks may not have the same level of national attention as the Bison, but they’re also no postseason rookie. Jacksonville State head coach John Grass, like every other FCS coach, has studied NDSU film during their recent dynasty. The Gamecocks have been battle tested this year winning every FCS game they’ve played. Their only loss came against in state powerhouse Auburn in overtime. Auburn’s comeback victory against the Gamecocks empowered the team to twelve straight victories, and the #1 seed in the FCS tournament. Playing on the road against a heavily favored SEC opponent should pay dividends in the national championship against NDSU. They’ll need running back Troymaine Pope and quarterback Eli Jenkins to confuse the stout Bison defense. After a less then eventful FCS bowl season, this matchup will surely be a battle fought till the end. Can NDSU win an unprecedented fifth straight championship or will the Gamecocks bring home their first FCS crown?
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