Chris Klieman

Photo credit: North Dakota State Athletics

North Dakota State wins back-to-back FCS national titles, now with seven titles in eight years

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North Dakota State (15-0) is polished off an undefeated season by claiming a second-straight national championship. The Bison topped Eastern Washington (12-3) in the FCS National Championship Game by a score of 38-24 in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas on Saturday afternoon to clinch back-to-back national championship seasons. It is the seventh FCS national title won by the program in the past eight seasons.

The second half of the game got off to a wild start with both teams combining for three turnovers and three touchdowns in the first five minutes of the half. North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick tossed touchdown passes of 23 yards and 78 yards to Darrius Shepherd. Eastern Washington running back Sam McPherson took off for a 75-yard run up the middle for a touchdown as part of the flurry to the start of the second half.

But from that point on, North Dakota State managed to calm things down and keep things mostly under control the rest of the afternoon.

Taking over the football at their six-yard line early in the fourth quarter with a 31-17 lead, North Dakota State methodically marched their way down the field on a 19-play drive that traveled 88 yards and took 10:10 off the clock. Unfortunately, the drive ended with a missed field goal, but that was precious minutes that melted off the clock with a 14-point lead. But Eastern Washington took just four plays to move right down the field and score a touchdown with quarterback Eric Barriere capping the quick-moving drive with a five-yard touchdown run. North Dakota State recovered an onside kick, and Easton Stick put the game out of reach with a 46-yard touchdown run on 3rd and 7 with just over a minute to play.

North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman, who was recently hired to be the new head coach at Kansas State, will go out a winner. Klieman tied former Youngstown State head coach Jim Tressel with his fourth FCS national championship. No other FCS coach has as many national titles as Klieman or Tressel.

Stick completed 13 of 19 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a team-high 121 yards and three touchdowns in the game. Stick closed out his collegiate career as the winningest quarterback in FCS history with a record of 49-3.

Former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz was happy to see his Bison win, of course.

North Dakota State’s 21-game winning streak is the longest active winning streak among all Division 1 programs, regardless of what Alabama or Clemson do Monday night.

North Dakota State gives Chris Klieman contract extension

Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images
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After coaching North Dakota State to a national championship last season, Chris Klieman has been given a contract extension.

The school announced the contract extension, which is now good through the 2023 season. The new extension tacks on two years to the existing contract for the head coach of the FCS juggernaut Bison.

“Chris has done an exceptional job in leading our football program on a national level,” North Dakota State director of athletics Matt Larsen said in a released statement. “Not only have we won three national championships during his tenure, but our student-athletes are achieving high marks in the classroom and are actively engaged on campus and in the Fargo-Moorhead community. I look forward to working with him and his staff for years to come.”

Klieman was named head coach at North Dakota State after former Bison head coach Craig Bohl was hired by Wyoming in 2014. In his short time as head coach, Klieman has continued to keep North Dakota State among the top FCS programs in the nation with three national titles (2014, 2015, 2017) and four consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference championships. Prior to becoming the head coach of the program, Klieman was a defensive back coach and defensive coordinator under Bohl.

The defending FCS national champion North Dakota State Bison open their 2018 season at home against Cal Poly on September 1. North Dakota State will not play an FBS opponent this fall or in 2019, but will play at Oregon in 2020.

FCS power North Dakota State rewards Klieman with contract extension

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After coaching FCS power North Dakota State to a fourth straight national championship, Chris Klieman has been rewarded with a two-year contract extension. The new deal will secure Klieman at North Dakota State through 2021.

“Chris understands the culture of Bison football and what it takes to continue the program’s high level of success,” athletic director Matt Larsen said in a released statement. “The excitement around the football program has never been greater and I look forward to having Chris and his family in Fargo for the long term.”

North Dakota State went 15-1 in 2014, highlighted by a victory over Big 12 school Iowa State and capped with a fourth straight FCS national championship. Klieman was as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award.

“I’m excited to continue to build on the great tradition of Bison football,” Klieman said. “My family enjoys being in Fargo and I am extremely thankful for how this community and Bison Nation have embraced my family and me.”

Klieman succeeded Craig Bohl after the former Bison head coach accepted a job offer at Wyoming after three straight national championship seasons at North Dakota State.