CARBONDALE — Led by national champion North Dakota State, the Missouri Valley Football Conference got five teams into the final poll.
The Bison (14-1) held off previous No. 1 James Madison (14-1) 17-13 to win their sixth FCS title in the last seven years. The Dukes knocked North Dakota State out of the playoffs last year.
North Dakota State got all 158 first-place votes from a national panel of media, sports information directors and other dignitaries to leap James Madison in the final STATS poll. The Bison received 3,950 points, compared to the Dukes' 3,788. South Dakota State (11-3) was third with 3,512 points, Sam Houston State (12-2) was fourth with 3,508, and Weber State (11-3) was fifth with 3,045.
Western Illinois (8-4) was 13th, South Dakota (8-5) was 15th, and Northern Iowa (8-5) was 17th. Illinois State (6-5) was just outside the top 25 at No. 26 with 220 points. Youngstown State (14 points) also received votes.
The Bison got 24 of 25 first-place votes and 646 points to finish atop the FCS coaches final poll. James Madison, which ended a 26-game winning streak in the national title game, got the other first-place vote and 623 points. Sam Houston State was third, followed by South Dakota State and Weber State.
Western Illinois was 12th, followed by South Dakota at 16th and Northern Iowa at 19th.
— Todd Hefferman