Roster Analysis: FCS National Championship

January 10, 2015 by SbS Football Staff | with 0 comments

Two Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals meet today in Frisco, Texas as Illinois State takes on North Dakota State for the FCS National Championship. 
While it’s the first national title game appearance for the Redbirds from Illinois State, the Bison from North Dakota State are looking to win an unprecedented fourth consecutive National Championship.
The Redbirds and Bison finished tied for first in the Missouri Valley standings this year with records of 7-1, but the teams did not meet during the regular season. The Bison defeated the Redbirds 28-10 in 2013 and have won the last three meetings between the two teams.
The two teams have taken very different paths to the title game. 

The Bison had the luxury of playing all of their playoff games in front of more than 18,000 fans at the Fargodome. Meanwhile, after playing their first playoff game at home in front of a crowd of less than 6,000, the Redbirds had to travel 1,700 miles west to face Eastern Washington in the Quarterfinals and then another 1,100 miles east to face New Hampshire in the Semifinals.
Below we provide our geographic analysis of the two rosters.
Bison Roster by State
  • North Dakota State is one of the rare teams in college football where the home state does not represent the most players on the team. There are only eighteen players from North Dakota on the Bison roster, while Minnesota (27) and Wisconsin (21) both represent more players.
  • Although approximately 90 percent of the roster is from a Midwestern state, there are a handful of players who traveled a fair distance to play for the Bison, including players from the following states: Florida (7), Arizona (2), Colorado (1), Hawaii (1), North Carolina (1) and Pennsylvania (1).


Redbirds Roster by State
  • Over half of the players on the Redbirds roster (50 players) are from the state of Illinois, and not surprisingly, the majority are from the Chicago area.
  • There are a fair number of players from neighboring states as Illinois State has twelve players from Wisconsin, seven from Indiana, and seven from Missouri.
  • We were surprised to discover that almost 20 percent of the Redbirds roster consists of players from outside the Midwest, including six from Florida, and two each from California, Washington and Australia.


Bison Starters by State
  • Other than Junior Cornerback Jordan Champion, who is from Arizona, all of the starters on the Bison roster are from a Midwestern state: Minnesota (5), Nebraska (5), Wisconsin (4), North Dakota (3), South Dakota (3) and Iowa (1).
  • Starting Quarterback Carson Wentz is one of three home state starters for NDSU. The Junior from Bismarck has thrown for almost 2,900 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season.
  • The best offensive player for the Bison is one of five starters from the state of Minnesota.  Senior Running Back John Crockett, who is a Minneapolis native, has run for over 1,900 yards and has 21 total touchdowns on the season.
  • Buck Buchanan Award-winning Defensive End Kyle Emanuel is one of five starters from the state of Nebraska. The Senior from Schuyler, Nebraska has recorded 93 total tackles and 19.5 sacks on the season.


Redbird Starters by State
  • There are nine starters for Illinois State who come from the home state, and seven of the nine are Seniors, including the team’s leading receiver Cameron Meredith (1,047 yards and nine touchdowns) who is from Westchester, Illinois (Chicago area).
  • Star Quarterback Tre Roberson is one of three starters from neighboring Indiana. The Junior from Indianapolis has thrown for over 3,000 yards, ran for almost 900 yards on the season, and has accounted for 37 total touchdowns (27 threw the air and 10 on the ground).
  • Both of the players on the Redbirds roster from the state of California are key starters for the team. The team’s stud Running Back, Junior Marshaun Coprich (2,252 yards and 27 touchdowns), is from Victorville, California, and Senior Defensive Lineman Collin Keoshian (63 total tackles and eight sacks) is from Santa Clarita, California.


Bison vs Redbirds
Frisco, Texas is located just north of Dallas and not too far from AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and site of Monday’s College Football Playoff Championship game.
Frisco is also about 30 miles away from Garland, Texas, which is the hometown of the only Texas native in today’s game. Illinois State's true Freshman Cornerback DraShane Glass, who plays sparingly for the Redbirds, was a standout high school player at Garland High School.
So, today in Frisco…will it be another Bison victory party, or will the Redbirds end their conference rival's FCS dynasty?  Will the game be controlled by a Running Back from Minneapolis, or by a Quarterback from Indianapolis?  Will an award-winning Senior create a big turnover for the reigning Champs, or will a hometown Freshman come off the bench to make a big play for the Underdogs?
No matter what occurs today, Frisco will be the site of a great start to football’s biggest three day stretch of the season.