A rematch of last year's semi-final gives the Eagles a chance at redemption against North Dakota's ruthless defense.
The North Dakota St. Bison and the Georgia Southern Eagles will meet on Friday for an FCS Championship semi-final rematch. The two teams faced off in 2011's semi-final, with the Bison taking a decisive 35-7 victory and going on to win the FCS Championship. A fierce defense is driving their effort to repeat as champions, while Georgia Southern is riding the momentum of a fourth-quarter comeback against the Old Dominion Monarchs.
Three turnovers (and 21 resulting points) doomed the Eagles in 2011, and they'll have to be careful to avoid the same fate. North Dakota State ranked 14th in the FCS in turnover margin, forcing 24 takeaways while giving it up only 14 times. Georgia Southern was 70th with 8 takeaways against 21 turnovers.
The Eagle offense concentrates on a ground attack behind quarterback Jerick McKinnon and fullbacks Dominique Swope and William Banks. With totals of 404 and 602 yards in their first two FCS playoff games, they'll give the Bison run defense a challenge. They should be up for it; the North Dakota State defense gave up only 78.5 rush yards per game this season, second in the FCS.
North Dakota doesn't have quite the same explosive offense, but the efforts of quarterback Brock Jensen and running back Sam Ojuri have gotten them to the semi-final. Georgia Southern put up respectable but unspectacular defensive numbers in the regular season, ranking 35th in the FCS with 21.9 points given up per game.
Dec. 14, 2012, 8 p.m. ET
KFGO-790 North Dakota, WBMZ 103.7 FM Georgia