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Bison get No. 3 seed in FCS playoffs, will host second round game

North Dakota State will face the winner of Southeast Missouri and Montana

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North Dakota State’s Cam Miller and his teammates celebrate his 5th rushing touchdown of their game against North Dakota on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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FARGO — It's gotten to be as routine as snow in the winter at North Dakota State. But the FCS Selection Show to announce the 24-team playoff field always has a different feel to it and Sunday was no different.

The Bison will take the No. 3 seed into the tournament and will receive a first-round bye. South Dakota State got the top nod and Sacramento State the No. 2 spot. It means if NDSU is to get to Frisco again, it will not have to go through Brookings, S.D.

"It would be fun to face them in Frisco," SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said on the ESPNU selection show.

Montana State is the fourth seed. It appears the FCS playoff committee took strength of schedule into account as much as overall record. The Bison will host the winner of Southeast Missouri State and Montana, which will be played Saturday in Missoula, Mont.

Tickets for the NDSU game, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, will go on sale Sunday at 3 p.m. Current season ticket holders have until 5 p.m. on Nov. 29 to claim their same seats.

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The field is comprised of 11 automatic qualifiers and 13 at-large berths, the latter of which included NDSU. Include the University of North Dakota in that lot. UND will travel to Weber State in a first round matchup next Saturday with the winner facing Montana State.

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North Dakota State huddle up before the start of their football game against North Dakota on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

The Bison finished 9-2 with their two losses by a combined five points to reputable competition: a three-point defeat at Arizona and a two-point loss to South Dakota State.

The Bison clinched their seed with a 42-21 win over UND on Saturday and will take a 41-3 playoff record, 31-1 at home, into postseason.

"I really don't want to look into it too much, whoever is on the schedule, if we get the bye or don't get the bye, we'll be ready to go," said safety Michael Tutsie after the game. "We'll go through our process the exact same way, doesn't matter who is coming in or if we have to go on the road. We'll be ready to go once playoff time comes."

NDSU, after an October loss to SDSU, won its last four games. It's the 13th straight season the Bison have reached the FCS postseason, a run that includes nine national championships.

All nine were accomplished with home playoff games. NDSU's postseason road trips ended in the spring season in 2021 in the quarterfinals at Sam Houston and 2010 at Eastern Washington. James Madison beat the Bison in the 2016 semifinals in Fargo.

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North Dakota State fans throw their hands in the air while doing cheers for their team during their football game against North Dakota on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, at the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Sacramento State is the No. 2 seed. William & Mary got the No. 5 seed following by Samford, Incarnate Word and Holy Cross.

The Valley over the years has been used to at least four teams making the field. Youngstown State, at 7-4, was one of the teams left out with the same record with the likes of Montana and UND. The Fighting Hawks beat the Penguins in a head-to-head matchup.

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Ten teams were considered for the final five spots for at-large berths. Notables left out included Chattanooga and Rhode Island, which were also seven-win teams.

"The biggest dilemma was the bubble field," said committee chair Jermaine Truax, the athletic director at Bucknell. "In a year where the bubble field is so crowded, there's a lot of deep conversation but ultimately we arrived at what we think is the best field. For us it's about getting the best teams in regardless of conference."

Montana got in despite a 55-21 beating at Montana State on Saturday. The Grizzlies lost four of their last six to go from a certain playoff entry to a bubble team. They handily beat two Missouri Valley teams in South Dakota and Indiana State.

"Set aside some of the metrics, we thought they were one of the best teams in the field," Truax said. "They had some injury problems at the quarterback position in the heart of their schedule and we know this year the Big Sky is generally one of the best conferences in the country."

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Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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