Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
The highest level of college football playoffs has yielded its championship matchup: 11-3 Sam Houston State and 12-1 North Dakota State will meet again for the FCS national championship.
This year's FCS final matchup is now set. and defending champion North Dakota State will meet on January 5, 2013, in Frisco, Texas at FC Dallas Stadium (formerly Pizza Hut Park), the third straight year it's been held in Frisco. That game will be on ESPN2.
Sam Houston State and star back Tim Flanders put up a 35-0 lead on Eastern Washington in the semifinals, but nearly gave it all away, holding on for a 45-42 win after one of the biggest comeback surges in FCS history. A sprawling Flanders run for a first down clinched the win on the blood-red turf, and the rematch was on.
The Bison made it back to Frisco after outlasting a Georgia Southern team that had to trot out a converted soccer player at kicker after he joined the team just days earlier. NDSU boasts the country's best FCS defense by a wide margin -- it allows only 207.4 yards per game, about 40 yards fewer than Alabama gives up at the FBS level.
It'll be offense vs. defense, then, with SHSU ranking No. 10 in yardage and No. 7 on the ground.
North Dakota State's only loss on the year: 17-14 at the hands of Indiana State. SHSU's three losses came to Texas A&M, Baylor and Central Arkansas.
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