Bison Finish Undefeated Season with FCS Record 7th National Championship
FRISCO, Texas – Senior quarterback Easton Stick ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more, guiding the North Dakota State football team to a 38-24 win over Eastern Washington and NDSU's seventh Division I FCS national championship in the past eight years.
With its seventh national title, NDSU surpassed Georgia Southern for the most in Division I FCS history. The 2018 Bison became the fifth team to finish an undefeated season as the national champions – joining the 2013 NDSU squad.
In all, it was the 15th football national title in school history.
Stick rushed 18 times for 121 yards and three scores, with his final carry being a 46-yard touchdown run to ice the victory with 1:16 remaining. He was 13-for-19 passing for 198 yards and two scores – both to championship game Most Outstanding Player Darrius Shepherd, who had five catches for 125 yards.
NDSU racked up 40:05 in time of possession, converting 11-of-17 on third downs.
Bison junior Ty Brooks carried nine times for 82 yards. NDSU senior defensive end Greg Menard led the Bison defense with 7 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The Bison led Eastern Washington 10-0 after one quarter, opening the scoring with a 36-yard field goal from Cam Pedersen and a 10-yard TD run by Stick.
With NDSU leading 17-10 at halftime, the Bison and Eagles traded electric scoring plays in the first five minutes of the third quarter. NDSU went up 24-10 when Stick hit Shepherd for a 23-yard TD pass, but EWU responded with a 75-yard TD run by Sam McPherson on the next play from scrimmage. Less than one minute later, Stick found Shepherd down the sideline for a 78-yard TD strike – the longest completion of Stick's career, and the longest reception of Shepherd's career.
The Bison led 31-17 with 10:44 left in the third quarter.
EWU threatened late, scoring on a quick four-play, 80-yard drive with 2:19 left to cut the margin to 31-24. NDSU recovered the ensuing onside kick, and on 3rd-and-7, Stick sprinted through a massive hole and went 46 yards for the title-clinching score.
Head coach Chris Klieman tied Jim Tressel (Youngstown State) for the most FCS titles as a head coach, winning his fourth championship in five seasons.
Stick became the NDSU career record holder for passing yards, topping Brock Jensen and finishing with 8,693 yards in his career. He also passed Jensen for the all-time FCS wins record by a quarterback, capping his career with a 49-3 record as a starter.