Normal, IL (Sports Network) - Defending national champion North Dakota State finished the regular season much like it had one year ago.
The No. 1-ranked Bison handled Illinois State on the road, 38-20, Saturday, clinching the Missouri Valley title and, most likely, the No. 1 seed for the FCS playoffs.
NDSU improved to 10-1, while Illinois State fell to 8-3. The stout Bison defense gave up 318 yards of offense, which is actually one of the highest totals allowed this season, but the offense came alive for the first time in weeks.
The Bison rushed for 274 yards, and running backs Sam Ojuri and John Crockett both eclipsed the 100-yard mark and scored one touchdown. Quarterback Brock Jensen was only 6-of-16 for 96 yards, but he had two rushing touchdowns, which helped put the game away in the fourth quarter.
The Bison trailed 10-0 in the first quarter before junior Marcus Williams returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, giving NDSU a much-needed spark.
Coach Craig Bohl's NDSU squad is 11-0 on the road over the last two seasons.
Illinois State quarterback Matt Brown threw for 212 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 37 yards and one touchdown in the loss.
The Sports Network FCS Top 25
Saturday, Nov. 17
No. 1 North Dakota State (10-1, 7-1 Missouri Valley) 38, No. 11 Illinois State (8-3, 5-3) 20
Running backs Sam Ojuri and John Crockett both rushed for over 100 yards and scored one touchdown as the Bison ran for 274 yards in the win.
Signal-caller Brock Jensen only threw for 96 yards, but he scored two second- half rushing touchdowns. Marcus Williams' 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter gave the Bison their first points of the contest after trailing 10-0.
No. 2 Montana State (10-1, 7-1 Big Sky) 16, Montana (5-6, 3-5) 7
In the 112th edition of "The Brawl of the Wild," Montana State picked up its third win in Missoula since 1986. The Bobcats earned a share of their third straight Big Sky championship.
MSU quarterback DeNarius McGhee completed 26-of-47 for 247 yards and one touchdown. Place-kicker Rory Perez nailed three field goals, including a 22- yarder with 2:32 left in regulation.
The loss gave Montana its first losing season since 1985, while the crowd of 26,210 set a new Washington-Grizzly Stadium record.
Texas A&M (9-2) 47, No. 3 Sam Houston State (8-3) 28
Sam Houston State trailed by as many as 47-0 in the third quarter before scoring the game's final 28 points.
The Bearkats allowed 527 yards of offense in their first loss since Week 4.
Quarterback Brian Bell threw for 150 yards and one touchdown and running back Timothy Flanders ran for 64 yards and one touchdown.
No. 4 Old Dominion (10-1, 7-1 CAA) 38, No. 13 James Madison (7-4, 5-3) 28
Old Dominion finished the game with three unanswered touchdowns - each a Taylor Heinicke pass - to rally from a 28-17 deficit.
Heinicke completed 32-of-45 pass attempts for 357 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Two of his touchdown passes went to Nick Mayers.
The Monarchs were ineligible for the CAA Football title this season - its final one in the conference between heading to the FBS level next year.
As JMU was knocked out of the playoff picture, quarterback Justin Thorpe rushed for 85 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 155 yards and one score.
No. 5 Eastern Washington (9-2, 7-1 Big Sky) 41, Portland State (3-8, 2-6) 34
Despite rushing for zero yards on 28 attempts, Eastern Washington found a way to win and clinch a share of the Big Sky title. The Eagles earned the conference's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs on a tiebreaker with Montana State and Cal Poly.
Quarterback Kyle Padron completed 26-of-38 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns and scored two rushing touchdowns. Padron's 1-yard touchdown run with 1:25 remaining proved to be the difference-maker.
EWU receivers Brandon Kaufman and Greg Herd each went over the 100-yard receiving mark and accounted for 16 of the team's 30 receptions.
Georgia (10-1) 45, No. 6 Georgia Southern (8-3) 14
Georgia Southern trailed only 17-7 at halftime, but the host Bulldogs outscored the Eagles, 28-7, in the second half to pull away for a big win.
GSU quarterback Jerick McKinnon led all players with 109 rushing yards and one touchdown, while running back Dominique Swope rushed for 92 yards.
The Eagles rushed for 302 yards and allowed just 120 rushing yards.
No. 19 Towson (7-4, 6-2 CAA) 64, No. 7 New Hampshire (8-3, 6-2) 35
Towson exploded for 660 yards of offense - 415 of which came on the ground - and improved to 7-4 while earning a share of the CAA title with a 6-2 record.
Running back Terrance West carried the ball 19 times for 236 yards and scored two touchdowns.
The Tigers outscored New Hampshire, 34-7, in the second half and quarterback Grant Enders completed 20-of-28 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Enders and running back Dominique Booker also scored two rushing touchdowns.
No. 8 Appalachian State (8-3), Idle
The Mountaineers are sharing the Southern Conference title with fellow Top 10 teams Georgia Southern and Wofford.
South Carolina (9-2) 24, No. 9 Wofford (8-3) 7
Wofford hung in well with SEC foe South Carolina, as the game was tied 7-7 after three quarters. However, the host Gamecocks scored 17 unanswered points to pull away to the victory.
The Terriers outgained the Gamecocks, 331 yards to 286, including 260 rushing yards, but turned the ball over three times on fumbles. Fullback Eric Breitenstein rushed for a game-high 125 yards and one touchdown.
No. 10 Central Arkansas (9-2) 48, co-No. 24 Eastern Illinois (7-4) 30
Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers completed 35-of-49 pass attempts for 335 yards and a touchdown to four different receivers.
The Bears will take a six-game winning streak into the FCS playoffs.
EIU wide receiver Erik Lora set a new FCS single-season reception with his final catch - the 124th this season. He caught nine passes for 52 yards and one touchdown.
Panthers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 19-of-33 for 228 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Chris Wright turned all three of his receptions into touchdowns, totaling 128 yards.
No. 12 Stony Brook (9-2), Idle
The Seawolves are hoping their upset loss at Liberty last Saturday isn't their final game of the season.
No. 14 Lehigh (10-1, 4-1 Patriot) 38, Lafayette (5-6, 2-3) 21
In the 148th edition of college football's most played rivalry, Lehigh picked up a huge win for the fifth straight time in the series.
The Mountain Hawks totaled 548 yards of offense and quarterback Michael Colvin completed 25-of-41 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 82 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Receiver Lee Kurfis only had three catches, but he totaled 137 yards and one touchdown.
Lafayette scored all of its points in the first quarter.
No. 17 Cal Poly (9-2, 7-1 Big Sky) 42, No. 15 Northern Arizona (8-3, 6-2) 34
Cal Poly clinched a share of the Big Sky title with Montana State and Eastern Washington and a likely FCS playoff bid. With a two-game losing streak, Northern Arizona fell to the playoff bubble.
Cal Poly built as much as a 35-13 lead. Quarterback Andre Broadous accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing), while Deonte Williams (139 yards) and Kristaan Ivory (100 yards, two touchdowns) both reached the century mark on the ground.
NAU's Cary Grossart threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns as well as two interceptions.
No. 16 Villanova (8-3, 6-2 CAA) 41, Delaware (5-6, 2-6) 10
Villanova led 17-10 entering the fourth quarter, then reeled off 24 points to win "The Battle of the Blue," a piece of the CAA title and the conference's automatic bid to the playoffs.
Freshman signal-caller John Robertson threw for 193 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 134 yards and one touchdown. Running back Kevin Monangai rushed for a game-high 146 yards and one touchdown.
Delaware quarterback Trent Hurley was intercepted three times, and two of them were returned for touchdowns by Ronnie Akins and Eric Looper late in the fourth quarter.
Youngstown State (7-4, 4-4 Missouri Valley) 27, No. 18 Indiana State (7-4, 5-3) 6
Indiana State dropped a costly game, which will keep the Sycamores out of the playoffs because they have beaten just six Division I opponents.
Youngstown State running back Jamaine Cook rushed for 124 yards on 30 carries and scored one touchdown on Senior Day. Signal-caller Kurt Hess threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns while the Penguins outgained Indiana State, 394 yards to 282.
No. 20 Richmond (8-3, 6-2 CAA) 21, William & Mary (2-9, 2-6) 14
Richmond jumped out to a 21-7 lead at halftime and forced three turnovers, before holding on for the victory and a share of the CAA title.
The Spiders only managed 301 yards of offense, including just 79 rushing yards. Quarterback Michael Strauss threw for 222 yards and one touchdown, and fullback Kendall Gaskins rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown in the win.
Defensively, senior linebacker Darius McMillan had a team-high 10 tackles, while defensive back Reggie Barnette had five solo tackles and the game- clinching interception for the Spiders.
No. 21 South Dakota State (8-3, 6-2 Missouri Valley) 31, South Dakota (1-10, 0-8) 8
South Dakota State led 24-0 at halftime and never looked back. Running back Zach Zenner rushed for 164 yards and scored one touchdown on 28 carries and quarterback Austin Sumner threw for 272 yards and one touchdown.
The Jackrabbits forced three turnovers and held rival South Dakota to a mere 22 rushing yards. The Coyotes' only points came off of a blocked punt in the fourth quarter.
No. 22 Eastern Kentucky (8-3), Idle
The preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference lost to Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois in conference games and is hoping to gain an at-large playoff bid.
UT Martin (8-3, 6-2 OVC) 35, No. 23 Tennessee State (8-3, 4-3) 26
In a crucial Ohio Valley matchup which could impact the conference's playoff teams, UT Martin outlasted rival Tennessee State. Although both teams have claimed a share of the 2012 Sgt. York Trophy, TSU retains the trophy following a tiebreaker that states the previous year's winner will hold on to it should it be part of the tie.
UTM was outgained 477-375, but the Skyhawks forced two fumbles and two interceptions. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to receiver Quentin Sims, who hauled in eight receptions for 176 yards.
co-No. 24 Bethune-Cookman (9-2, 8-0 MEAC) 21, Florida A&M (4-7, 4-4) 16
Bethune-Cookman picked up its ninth win of the season and finished undefeated in MEAC play for only the second time in school history.
The Wildcats rushed for 195 yards and quarterback Quentin Williams totaled 199 yards of offense. He passed for 120 yards and one touchdown and led his team with 79 rushing yards.
Running back Isidore Jackson rushed for 77 yards and one touchdown.
Florida A&M totaled just 287 yards in the loss.