There were twists and turns throughout the 2022 FCS season, but you might say the national championship game was predictable.

The season has come back to where the preseason poll said it would head: South Dakota State (13-1) and North Dakota State (12-2) meeting for the national title.

There’s a noticeable change, however, between the preseason No. 1 and 2 teams out of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. NDSU, the defending FCS champion, was the top-ranked team until midseason, when SDSU beat the Bison 23-21 to ascend to No. 1 for the first time in program history.

NDSU, the No. 3 playoff seed, and still riding the greatest run in college football history, will seek to capture a 10th FCS title in 12 seasons. The Bison are 4-0 against SDSU in FCS playoff games.

SDSU, the No. 1 seed, lost to Sam Houston in its only title game appearance in the spring 2021 season, but the Jackrabbits have defeated the Bison in three straight regular-season matchups and five times since 2016 (no other program has done it more than once since 2011).

Following is a head-to-head look at how the championship game teams stack up this season:

South Dakota State is +13 and North Dakota State +10 in turnover margin. (Photos: SDSU Athletics and NDSU Athletics)
North Dakota State has the FCS’ No. 3-ranked rushing offense, while South Dakota State is No. 1 against the run. (Photos: NDSU Athletics and SDSU Athletics)