FRISCO, Tex. - This football season, Illinois State battled key injuries to finish with a solid 6-5 mark. That record is now looking even better.
That's because two of the Redbirds' foes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, North Dakota State, and South Dakota State, will square off in the Football Championship Subdivision title game on January 8 in Frisco, Tex.
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North Dakota State (12-2) has been a dynasty in the FCS, capturing nine national titles in the last eleven years. The Bison are 161-14 since 2011 with six wins in their last seven meetings against FBS opponents and have produced NFL notables like Christian Watson, Carson Wentz, Trey Lance, Billy Turner, and others.
NDSU won or shared ten Missouri Valley titles in eleven years before this season, but was dethroned by South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits edged the Bison 23-21 in Fargo in a top-two matchup on October 15.
South Dakota State advanced to the national title game in the COVID season of 2020-21. The lone defeat for the Jackrabbits (13-1) this fall was a season-opening 7-3 loss at Iowa.
This will be the third time in the last nine years that the FCS title game will be an all-Missouri Valley final, including in 2014, when the Bison edged Illinois State 29-27. The Redbirds shared the MVC crown with North Dakota State in both 2014 and 2015.