North Dakota State is in the FCS national championship game for the third straight year and also going for its third consecutive national title win. The team standing in the Bison's way this year is Towson, and there is no lack of respect from the Tigers' side.
"There's a reason that they're undefeated and have not lost a game in no-one-knows-how-long," Towson head coach Rob Ambrose said Monday, via the Baltimore Sun. "They have resources, they have a following, they are consistent. They are the Ivan Drago of I-AA football. They are perfect."
That's high praise indeed, even if it is a comparison to a fictional character. Drago was the nearly unstoppable Soviet boxer and nemesis to Sylvester Stallone's Rocky in "Rocky IV," though of course he lost to Rocky in the film's climactic bout. Whether or not this makes Towson the Rocky of the FCS title game remains to be seen, but at least the Tigers don't have to take this particular fight to enemy territory. (The FCS Championship is played at a neutral site.)
There's no question that the Tigers are the heavy underdogs to North Dakota State, which has emerged as such a powerful program that it even earned a visit from ESPN's College GameDay after toppling Kansas State earlier this year. The 14-0 Bison didn't have to leave home to get to the championship game, and didn't much need to break a sweat either, winning all three of their playoff games by 31 points or more.