North Dakota State wins their fourth-straight FCS Championship

In the 2015 FCS Championship, No. 2 North Dakota State surpassed No. 5 Illinois State 29-27 to claim their fourth-straight FCS Championship. This was the first FCS title game between two conference teams (Missouri Valley Football Conference).

North Dakota State was down 27-23 with 1:35 left to play in the game and started from their own 17 yard-line. On the game-winning drive, Carson Wentz first completed two big first down passes. However, North Dakota State would find themselves in a third and 10 situation with 57 seconds left. Wentz found RJ Urzendowski for a 33-yard pass to bring them down to the 5 yard-line. That would set up the game-winning 5-yard touchdown run by Wentz with 37 seconds left.

Illinois State still had a chance to come back, but Esley Thorton intercepted a pass to secure the North Dakota State win.

For North Dakota State, Wentz passed or 237 yards with a touchdown in the air and on the ground. Urzendowski had five receptions for 100 yards.

Tre Roberson led Illinois State with three passing touchdowns, 161 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. His teammate, James O’Shaughnessy, had two catches that resulted in two touchdowns.

The win gives North Dakota State their fourth-straight FCS Championship. In the last four seasons, North Dakota State has more championships than losses with a 58-3 record.

In the path to their 2015 FCS Championship, North Dakota State defeated South Dakota 27-24 in the second round of the playoffs. They went on to beat Coastal Carolina 39-32 in the Quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, North Dakota State played Sam Houston who beat Jacksonville State 37-26 in the second round. North Dakota State convincingly won 35-3 to advance to the Championship game and earned the victory over Illinois State.

Illinois State struck first with Roberson finding Jon-Marc Anderson on a 13-yard touchdown pass. Adam Keller kicked a 41-yard field goal for North Dakota State’s first points. This made the score 7-3.

In the second quarter, Luke Albers caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Wentz to put NDSU up three with score 10-7 at halftime.

The second half presented more scoring. After another 41-yard field goal by Keller, John Crockett ran seven yards for the touchdown that extended the lead 20-7.

Illinois State would soon find the end zone on a 41-yard pass from Roberson to O’Shaughnessy. The touchdown made the score 20-14 until NDSU added three points with another field goal by Keller. This time it was a 24-yard field goal.

Illinois State found themselves down by just two points when Roberson and O’Shaughnessy connected once more for a 3-yard touchdown pass.

With the score favoring NDSU 23-21 with under two minutes left, Illinois State scored to take the lead. Roberson scored on a 58-yard touchdown run to put Illinois State up 27-23. Illinois State failed on the two-point conversion which would’ve made the score 29-23. That was very critical since North Dakota State drove down the field and scored, but had their extra point blocked. The game ended 29-27.

The game could’ve easily went into overtime if Illinois State converted that two-point conversion.

Marvel Robinson
Sports Editor

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