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Vaadeland, Bison return to title game

Kevin Vaadeland (right) scored on a 33-yard pass play during NDSU’s 41-26 win over Missouri State on Oct. 12. Vaadeland has 19 receptions for 187 yards and eight touchdowns entering the national title game.

     Kevin Vaadeland is on the verge of playing on a three-time NCAA Division I championship team.

     Vaadeland and the North Dakota State University football team will attempt to win the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision championship for the third year in a row on Jan. 4. The top-seeded Bison (14-0) will play No. 7 Towson (13-2) at Frisco, TX, at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

     NDSU defeated Sam Houston State 17-6 for the national title in 2012 and Sam Houston State 39-13 in the title rematch last year.

     The Bison opened the season with non-conference wins over Kansas State (24-21), Ferris State (56-10) and Delaware State (51-0) before going 8-0 to win their third straight Missouri Valley Conference title. NDSU defeated No. 6 South Dakota State (20-0), No. 4 Northern Iowa (24-23), Missouri State (41-26), Southern Illinois (31-10), Indiana State (56-10), Illinois State (28-10), No. 15 Youngstown State (35-17) and South Dakota (42-0) to go undefeated in conference play.

     NDSU earned its third straight trip to the FCS championship game by dominating Furman (38-7), No. 11 Coastal Carolina (48-14) and No. 15 New Hampshire (52-14) in the playoffs.

     Vaadeland, a senior tight end, was the Bison’s No. 3 receiver this season, catching 19 passes for 187 yards and eight touchdowns. Vaadeland played in all 14 games, 13 as a starter, and was named to the Missouri Valley Conference Second Team.

     In the win over Kansas State, Vaadeland caught a 9-yard TD pass in the third quarter to pull NDSU within 21-14. The Bison would rally for the win.

     Vaadeland caught a 4-yard TD pass in the third quarter to give NDSU a 48-0 lead over Delaware State. Vaadeland finished with two receptions for 12 yards.

     Against Missouri State, Vaadeland had a 33-yard TD reception to give the Bison a 38-20 lead in the third quarter.

     After catching two passes for 7 yards against Indiana State, Vaadeland caught two passes for 20 yards in the win over Illinois State. Vaadeland had a 3-yard TD reception in that game that gave NDSU a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

     Vaadeland had a season-high four catches for 31 yards and two TDs in the win over Youngstown State. Vaadeland caught a 3-yard TD pass to give the Bison a 21-10 lead and followed with a 12-yard TD catch for a 28-10 lead in the third quarter.

     Against South Dakota in the regular-season finale, Vaadeland caught two passes for 27 yards.

     In the three playoff games, Vaadeland caught five passes for 48 yards and two TDs.

     Vaadeland had a 17-yard reception against Furman and caught two passes for 7 yards (including a 2-yard TD catch to conclude the scoring in the fourth quarter) in the win over Coastal Carolina. Against New Hampshire, Vaadeland caught two passes for 24 yards, including a 20-yard TD reception to give the Bison a 31-7 lead late in the second quarter.

     Vaadeland played in 13 games as a sophomore (catching five passes for 51 yards) and played in 15 games as a junior last season (catching 18 passes for 195 yards and two TDs).