FRISCO, Texas - The most successful season in Jacksonville State's 22 years as a Football Championship Subdivision member did not end with a win.
North Dakota State captured its unprecedented fifth straight FCS title Saturday afternoon at Toyota Stadium, riding a smothering defense and the right arm of senior quarterback Carson Wentz to a 37-10 victory over the No. 1 Gamecocks.
Jacksonville State (13-2) - which boasted the No. 2 offense among all FCS teams at 529.9 yards per game - sputtered from the outset and trailed 24-0 by halftime. The Gamecocks managed to draw to within 24-10 on Connor Rouleau's 26-yard field goal at the 3:41 mark in the third quarter, but the Bison (13-2) added a pair of Cam Pedersen field goals and a short touchdown run by game MVP Wentz to pull away in the waning minutes.
Jacksonville State committed four turnovers and managed just 204 total yards, a season low and the fewest since 2006. The Gamecocks completed only seven passes for 57 yards.
North Dakota State dominated time of possession in the first half en route to its 24-point lead.
The Bison whittled nearly 6 minutes off the clock on their opening possession, capping off a 15-play march with Pedersen's 29-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Things continued to spiral downward for the Gamecocks over the 23 minutes.
Wentz, rated one of the top quarterback prospects in the upcoming 2016 NFL draft, tossed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Bonnett and added an 11-yard run following a Jacksonville State turnover for a 17-0 lead with 11:13 to go in the second quarter.
"We jumped on them quickly, which we thought was going to be a really big key," said North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman.
King Frazier's 1-yard run to cap a six-play, 48-yard drive increased NDSU's lead to 24-0 at the 6:12 mark of the second quarter.
The Gamecocks emerged from the locker room and quickly found the end zone to open the second half, moving from their 27 to the Bison 3 in eight plays. Quarterback Eli Jenkins set up the touchdown with a 46-yard run - by far JSU's longest play of the afternoon - and finished off the drive with a 6-yard TD run to trim NDSU's lead to 24-7 early in the third.
The momentum continued to swing in Jacksonville State's direction when Rashod Byers deflected a Wentz pass and linebacker Brandon Bender picked it off. Bender returned the interception 54 yards to the North Dakota State 13 to set up Rouleau's 26-yard field goal.