North Dakota State kicker Nathan Whiting warms up his leg during a huddle in the Dakota Marker rivalry game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at the Fargodome in Fargo.

Dakota Marker 015

North Dakota State’s FCS semifinal streak halted by Sam Houston

North Dakota State’s streak of reaching the FCS semifinals ended at nine with Sunday’s 24-20 quarterfinal loss to Sam Houston State.

The Bison last failed to reach the semis in 2010 when they lost 38-31 in overtime to Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.

The following season, the streak began as North Dakota State won eight national championships and lost in the semifinals to James Madison in 2016.

Eric Schmid passed for 227 yards and accounted for two touchdowns as the Bearkats (8-0) upended North Dakota State (7-3) at Huntsville, Texas.

Quarterback Trey Lance, who guided North Dakota State to a 16-0 record in 2019, skipped the spring season and was selected third overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL draft on Thursday.

–Field Level Media

South Dakota State quarterback Mark Gronowski and Karst Hunter celebrate after their teammate scored a touchdown during the Dakota Marker rivalry game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at the Fargodome in Fargo.

Dakota Marker 004

South Dakota State gains top seed in FCS playoffs

South Dakota State is the top seed in the field of 16 teams competing for the 2020 NCAA Division I Football Championship, announced Sunday.

The season was pushed to spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jackrabbits finished 5-1 to win the Missouri Valley Football Conference and will be making their 10th consecutive appearance in the playoffs.

The field consists of 10 automatic qualifiers and six at-large teams. Matchups are based largely on geographical proximity between campuses.

South Dakota State will host Holy Cross (3-0) on Saturday in Brookings, S.D.

The tournament will feature five teams from the MVC, including Missouri State, which will be making its first playoff appearance in 31 years. The Bears are led by Bobby Petrino, previously the head coach at Arkansas, Louisville, Western Kentucky and the Atlanta Falcons.

Missouri State hired Petrino in January 2020 to turn around a program that finished 1-10 in 2019.

FCS teams and first-round pairings:

Holy Cross (3-0) at No. 1 South Dakota St. (5-1)
April 24, Brookings, S.D.

Monmouth (3-0) at No. 2 Sam Houston (6-0)
April 24, Huntsville, Texas

VMI (6-1) at No. 3 James Madison (5-0)
April 24, Harrisonburg, Va.

Davidson (4-2) at No. 4 Jacksonville State (9-2)
April 24, Jacksonville, Ala.

Southern Illinois (5-3) at Weber State (5-0)
April 24, Ogden, Utah

Sacred Heart (3-1) at Delaware (5-0)
April 24, Newark, Del.

Missouri St. (5-4) at North Dakota (4-1)
April 24, Grand Forks, N.D.

Eastern Washington (5-1) at North Dakota St. (6-2)
April 24, Fargo, N.D.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison head coach Matt Entz reacts to a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Illinois halts North Dakota State’s 39-game winning streak

Small-college powerhouse North Dakota State saw its FCS-record 39-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday when it was routed 38-14 by Southern Illinois in Missouri Valley play at Carbondale, Ill.

It was the first setback for the top-ranked Bison since a 33-21 road loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 4, 2017. North Dakota State (2-1, 1-1 MVC) has won the past three FCS titles and eight of the last nine.

“We didn’t show up and play very well,” Bison coach Matt Entz said after the loss. “There was not any position group that played well.”

Nic Baker passed for 254 yards and one touchdown in his first career start for the Salukis (2-1, 1-1).

“The talk before the game was that, in life, you just don’t get many opportunities like this,” Salukis coach Nick Hill said. “You get an opportunity to knock off the No. 1 team in the country and do something that leaves a legacy. This game will be recognized for a long time.”

It marks the second time the Salukis have defeated a No. 1-ranked team. They beat host Western Kentucky 31-20 on Oct. 27, 2005.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison tight end Noah Gindorff (87) and North Dakota State Bison linebacker Jaxon Brown (3) celebrate with the trophy after the game against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

FCS will not conduct fall playoffs

The Football Championship Subdivision will not conduct its annual playoffs this fall with participating schools in the upcoming regular season falling under a 50 percent threshold, multiple outlets reported Friday

On Friday, the Pioneer Football League and the Big Sky Conference announced they will not field football teams in the fall, citing coronavirus concerns. It means that less than half of the division’s 127 participating schools will field teams.

FCS members have not ruled out shifting the entire season to the spring semester, with playoffs to follow a delayed regular season. The Division I Council had until Aug. 21 to consider the fate of the FCS playoffs.

The playoffs, which were expanded to 24 teams in 2013, have been conducted every year since 1978. When first introduced the playoffs consisted of four teams, which was raised to eight in 1981. It was expanded to 20 teams by 2010.

FCS was formerly known as Division I-AA.

North Dakota State has won each of the last three FCS national titles and eight of the last nine. James Madison won the 2016 title.

Participating conferences for the FCS playoffs: Big Sky, Big South, Colonial Athletic Association, Mid-Eastern Athletic, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Pioneer, Southern, Southland and Southwestern Athletic.

-Field Level Media