FARGO, North Dakota — Three-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State will have a big advantage when hosting playoff games in the Fargodome, coach Chris Klieman says.
"It's an electric atmosphere," he told WDAY-TV. "It's hard for (an opposing) quarterback to hear. Our fans are right on top of the opponent. It's a tough place, but we know that we have to have our 'A' game every week or we could get knocked off."
NDSU (11-1) lost earlier this season at Northern Iowa — ending an FCS-record 33-game winning streak — and is the No. 2 overall seed in the playoffs, behind New Hampshire (10-1). The Bison will play in the Fargodome on Dec. 6 against the winner of this Saturday's first-round matchup between South Dakota State (8-4) and Montana State (8-4) in Bozeman, Montana.
The Bison beat SDSU 37-17 earlier this season. NDSU's last meeting with Montana State was in 2010, when the Bison beat the Bobcats 42-17 in the playoffs.
SDSU is making its third consecutive appearance in the FCS playoffs.
"I'm really proud of our football program, and I'm really proud of our seniors with what they've accomplished in their careers here," coach John Stiegelmeier said in a statement.
This year's playoff field, announced Sunday, includes 11 conference champions who automatically qualified and 13 teams with at-large bids. The winner will be crowned Jan. 10, in Frisco, Texas.