Sunday, November 18, 2012 | Valley Football
Valley Earns Three Playoff Bids

For just the fourth time in the league's 28-year history, the Missouri Valley Football Conference earned as many as three bids into the NCAA Division I Football Championship playoffs. North Dakota State, Illinois State and South Dakota State will represent the MVFC.

North Dakota State earned the tournament's overall No. 1 seed, marking just the third time the MVFC earned the championship's top seed. (Southern Illinois in 2004 and UNI in 2007 were previous league teams to enter the tournament as the top seeded team. Neither reached the semifinals in those years).

Other seasons in which the MVFC has received three or more bids include 2003 (4), 2006 (3), and 2010 (3).

The Bison will play the South Dakota State-Eastern Illinois winner on at 3 p.m. (Central) on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. North Dakota State (10-1) won the 2012 Missouri Valley Football Conference title and received the conference's automatic bid. NDSU is making its third straight NCAA Division I FCS playoff appearance and the program’s 26th postseason appearance overall including 17 in the Division II playoffs.

For the first time in program history, South Dakota State will host a postseason game. The Jackrabbits, runner-up of the Missouri Valley Football Conference, will host Ohio Valley Conference champion Eastern Illinois in first-round action of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 24. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.

SDSU enters the matchup with an 8-3 overall record. Eastern Illinois is 7-4 overall. The game will be available for viewing on ESPN3.com. The winner of Saturday’s game will travel to top-seeded North Dakota State on Dec. 1. The Jackrabbits are making their second FCS playoff appearance in the last four years. SDSU fell at top-seeded Montana in 2009 in opening-round action.

And Illinois Strate is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2006. It marks the fourth time in school history. The Redbirds will receive a first-round bye and play at Appalachian State in the second round of the playoffs on Dec. 1. ISU also made the playoffs in 1998 and 1999.