Second-ranked North Dakota State and fourth-ranked South Dakota State meet on Saturday in the shortened spring regular-season finale, which will decide who shares the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.
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The game (3:30 p.m. ET start time) will be televised locally on NBC ND and MidCo SN, but if you don’t have those channels, anyone in the US can watch South Dakota State vs North Dakota State football live on ESPN+ right here:
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South Dakota State vs North Dakota State Preview
The reigning three-time FCS national champion North Dakota State Bison (6-1, 5-1 MVFC) look to capture a share of their tenth consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference title on Saturday when they lock up with the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (4-1, 4-1 MVFC) in a battle of top-five Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) teams.
Both teams come into the game with one conference loss during the shortened spring season, which began in February. Joining them at the top of the MVFC standings is Missouri State, who finished up their regular season last week and have clinched a share of the conference championship. North Dakota also heads into the season’s final weekend with one loss and can share the MVFC with a win over Youngstown State on Saturday.
The NDSU-SDSU matchup is the 111th meeting between the programs, dating back to 1903, and will be the 13th consecutive game in the series in which both teams come into the game nationally ranked.
North Dakota State won its ninth consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference title in 2019 and their eighth national championship, finishing with a perfect 16-0 record. As a part of their unbeaten campaign, the Bison got past the Jackrabbits in a classic, 23-16, in October 2019. North Dakota State, who was top-ranked at the time, scored the go-ahead TD on a 71-yard run by Adam Cofield with 2:32 left in the fourth quarter.
The No. 2-ranked Bison will be putting their 32-game home winning streak on the line on Saturday against the Jackrabbits. The streak is the fourth-longest in FCS history; Georgia Southern owns the high mark with 39 home wins in a row.
North Dakota State returned from a two-week hiatus last week to slip by Northern Iowa on the road, 23-20. The Bison’s field general, quarterback Zeb Noland, completed 8 of 16 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Noland leads the MVFC and ranks eighth in the FCS with an average of 14.18 yards per completion this season. The 6-2 senior has completed nine passes of 20-plus yards.
South Dakota State will be taking the field for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday. The last time out on March 20, the Jackrabbits blew out then-No. 5 Southern Illinois, 44-3. In the win, South Dakota State rushed for a season-best 392 yards. Since that game, SDSU has had two games canceled (March 27 vs. Illinois State, April 10 vs. South Dakota) and the original matchup with North Dakota State (April 3) postponed.
The Jackrabbits are looking to reach the FCS playoffs for the ninth straight season.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show for the FCS will be held on Sunday, April 18 at 11:30 a.m. ET and be broadcast on ESPNU. The FCS 16-team tournament begins on the weekend of April 24 and will culminate with the FCS championship game on Sunday, May 16 at 1 p.m. ET on ABC.