Orange City, Iowa — The 2020 version of the NAIA Football Championship Series is finally here as No.6 Northwestern plays host to No.10 Dickinson State for first round pairing this weekend. Kickoff on Korver Field at DeValois Stadium is set for 1pm.
Northwestern is 1-2 all-time against Dickinson State with all three match-ups taking place since the 2016 season. This will be the second time the teams have played in the NAIA FCS; the Raiders lost to Dickinson State 14-6 in the first round of the 2018 postseason.
2017: NW lost at Dickinson State, 42-13
2018: NW def. Dickinson State, 37-3
2019: NW lost to Dickinson State, 14-6, NAIA FCS First Round
Northwestern received the first of four at-large bids into the 16-team championship field, determined this year by a NAIA Football national selection committee (teams earning an at-large bid must ranked within the top 20). Dickinson State, by way of winning the North Star Athletic Association regular season title, earned one of the 12 auto bids.
16 teams comprise the single-elimination Football Championship Series tournament field. The eight winners from this weekend will be paired against one another in four quarterfinal match-ups next weekend (April 24), followed by the semifinals on May 1. The championship game will take place in Ruston, La., at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium on Monday, May 10.
Northwestern is making its fourth straight and 22nd overall appearance in the football championship series, tied for the second most among this year’s field (Carroll-Montana has 23). The Raiders four consecutive appearances is tied for the longest streak in program history (1982-85). Head Coach Matt McCarty’s squad is one of 10 teams that return from the 2019 FCS field.
Like the Raiders, Dickinson State has plenty of experience playing in the NAIA FCS, making their sixth straight and 21st appearance in the postseason. The Blue Hawks are 7-20 overall in the FCS and had its best finish in 1991 when they