Somehow, some way, North Dakota State’s dynasty program finds a way to win in the FCS playoffs.

As of Saturday, the Bison’s victory total was higher than any other program in playoff history.

North Dakota State blocked an extra point attempt in overtime to end a 35-34 win at No. 6 seed Montana State – the Bison’s 46th all-time in the playoffs and breaking a tie with Georgia Southern.

The most-anticipated game of the playoffs surpassed expectations as an instant classic, highlighting the second round, when the field was cut in half to quarterfinalists.

Following is a review of the second round:

No. 1 seed South Dakota State (12-0) 41, Mercer (9-4) 0

Quick Synopsis – The defending FCS champion Jackrabbits rushed for 346 yards and outgained Mercer 571-151 overall while rolling to their 26th straight win (which ties for the third-longest streak in FCS history).

Game Ball – Running back Isaiah Davis was back to his playoff heroics, carrying the ball 16 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns, including a 42-yarder. He’s reached the century mark in 10 of his 13 postseason games.

Key Stat – The Jackrabbits were a combined 10 of 15 on third- and fourth-down attempts; Mercer converted just two of 12 into first downs.

Up Next – SDSU next hosts No. 8 seed Villanova (10-2) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 9 (noon ET, ESPN). The Jackrabbits have won two previous meetings, including 35-21 in a 2021 playoff quarterfinal.

No. 2 seed Montana (11-1) 49, Delaware (9-4) 19

Quick Synopsis – Playing in a snowstorm, Big Sky champ Montana overwhelmed Delaware in the first half, scoring four touchdowns of at least 20 yards while building a 35-12 halftime lead. Quarterback Clifton McDowell finished with three total TDs as the Grizzlies opened their record 27th playoff appearance.

Game Ball – The Griz once again boast some of the best special teams play in the FCS. Nick Ramos (2 of 2 field goals, 5 of 5 PATs) and Travis Benham (43.7-yard punting average) weren’t bothered by the weather, the returners were solid, Carson Rostad was strong on coverage, and they gained a safety on a UD special teams’ gaffe.

Key Stat – Despite the slippery conditions, the Grizzlies averaged 8.5 yards per play and racked up 388 yards in the first half. Running back Xavier Harris provided the niftiest run with a sideline spin around a defender on a 27-yard TD run.

Up Next – Montana next hosts No. 7 seed Furman (10-2) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2). In their only previous meeting, the Grizzlies beat the Paladins 13-6 in the 2001 national title game.

(Delaware Blue Hens Photo)

No. 3 seed South Dakota (10-2) 34, Sacramento State (8-5) 24

Quick Synopsis – South Dakota held a 17-point lead four different times after it scored two touchdowns in the first minute of the second quarter, including Mi’Quise Grace on a 56-yard fumble return. The Coyotes reached the quarterfinals for the first time as well as the 10-win mark for the first time since 1986.

Game Ball – USD’s offensive line was its usual strong self, providing openings for 194 rushing yards (Charles Pierre Jr. with 123) and not allowing a sack (Aidan Bouman had two TD passes),

Key Stat – The Coyotes turned two turnovers by Sac State quarterback Kaiden Bennett into touchdowns – Grace’s score and a Josiah Ganues interception that led to Bauman’s TD pass to open the second quarter. Interestingly, former Coyotes signal caller Carson Camp came off the Sac State bench to replace an injured Bennett and went 14 of 23 for 168 yards and a TD.

Up Next – The Coyotes next host North Dakota State (10-3) in an all-MVFC quarterfinal on Dec. 9 (2:30 p.m., ABC). They won a regular-season meeting, 24-19 at NDSU on Sept. 30.

No. 4 seed Idaho (9-3) 20, Southern Illinois (8-5) 17, OT

Quick Synopsis – Idaho forced overtime by partially blocking Southern Illinois’ attempt of a game-winning field goal to end regulation. In the extra session, cornerback Marcus Harris stymied the Salukis’ possession with an interception, then Ricardo Chavez capped Idaho’s with a 27-yard field goal.

Game Balls – Harris stood out with his sixth career pick and five tackles, including two for losses. Jermaine Jackson gave the Vandals a much-needed lift with an 86-yard punt return to tie the game 10-10 in the third quarter.

Key Stat – In a game that was close statistically, the Vandals posted their biggest comeback win of coach Jason Eck’s two seasons by overcoming a 10-0 deficit, starting with Chavez’s first field goal on the final play of the first half. They had been 0-8 under Eck in games in which they trailed by double figures.

Up Next – Idaho will host No. 5 seed UAlbany (10-3) in a national quarterfinal on Dec. 9 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+). It will be a first-time meeting.

No. 5 seed UAlbany (10-3) 41, Richmond (9-4) 13

Quick Synopsis – UAlbany jumped to a 27-0 first-half lead in winning a matchup between CAA tri-champions. Richmond controlled game clock, but the Great Danes countered with five sacks and cornerback Bill Hackett scoring on a 71-yard touchdown return.

Game Ball – UAlbany quarterback Reese Poffenbarger accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) for the sixth time this season.

Key Stat – The Great Danes gutted the Spiders with three long touchdown drives, accounting for 263 of their 311 offensive yards on them.

Up Next – UAlbany, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time, will travel to No. 4 seed Idaho (9-3) on Dec. 9 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+).

North Dakota State (10-3) 35, No. 6 seed Montana State (8-4) 34, OT

Quick Synopsis – Hunter Poncius blocked Montana State place-kicker Casey Kautzman’s extra point attempt in overtime, allowing North Dakota State to hold on for a thrilling one-point win. Neither team led by more than seven points in a game in which the Bison set the FCS playoff wins record (46) and advanced to the quarterfinals for the 14th consecutive season.

Game Balls – The 6-foot-8 senior Poncius, a reserve offensive lineman, made the biggest play of his career. Also, running back TaMerik Williams, who didn’t have a 100-yard game this season, carried the ball 11 times for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns – a 44-yarder in the second quarter and a 75-yarder on the first play of the third quarter.

Key Stat – The host Bobcats, whose 26-game home winning streak ended, not only had the OT kick blocked, but misfired on field goal attempts to end each of their first two possessions.

Up Next – NDSU next travels to No. 3 seed South Dakota (10-2) for a national quarterfinal on Dec. 9 (2:30 p.m., ABC). The Bison own a 58-27-2 series lead, including wins over the Coyotes in the 1985 Division II semifinals and the ’86 D-II championship game.

No. 7 seed Furman (10-2) 26, Chattanooga (8-5) 7

Quick Synopsis – Furman’s Ian Williams kicked four field goals, Dominic Roberto scored on two short runs, and the Paladins’ SoCon-leading defense frustrated Chattanooga, which showed the effects of playing without No. 1 quarterback Chase Artopoeus for the third consecutive game.

Game Ball – Furman’s defense had balance and excellence, with strong safety Kam Brinson posting a team-high nine tackles, and Travis Blackshear (fourth of season, 12th of career) and Alex Maier intercepting passes. Chattanooga did not have a first down on its first five possessions of the second half.

Key Stats – Behind an 11-minute, 10-second edge in time of possession, the Paladins outdid the Mocs in offensive plays (72 to 49), first downs (18-9) and offensive yards (383-200).

Next – The Paladins next travel to No. 2 seed Montana (11-1) for a national quarterfinal on Dec. 8 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

No. 8 seed Villanova (10-2) 45, Youngstown State (8-5) 28

Quick Synopsis – Villanova followed quarterback Connor Watkins’ lead, using explosive plays to set up or score points while rolling to a double-digit win for the 10th time this season.

Game Balls – Watkins accounted for 313 yards total offense and three touchdowns, averaging nearly 23 yards per completion, including a 64-yard touchdown to Jaylan Sanchez, and scoring on one- and 14-yard runs. Linebacker Shane Hartzell posted a game-high 14 tackles, including a sack, with three QB hurries and one pass breakup.

Key Stat – The Wildcats offense had eight runs of 13+ yards and eight passes of 15+ yards.

Up Next – Villanova will travel to No. 1 seed South Dakota State (12-0) for a national quarterfinal on Dec. 9 (noon ET, ESPN).