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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.

Vaadeland, Bison return to title game

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     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.

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     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).

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