No. 1 North Dakota State — the three-time reigning FCS national champion — can join a three-member club with a victory at Southern Illinois on Saturday.
The Bison (2-0) are looking for their 40th straight victory, which would tie the mark set by Washington from 1908 to 1914 and inch the school closer to the legendary record set by Oklahoma from 1953 to 1957.
What is that record? Can the Bison break it this season? When was the last time North Dakota lost? Sporting News looks at those questions.
What is the Division I winning streak record?
Oklahoma set the NCAA record with 47 straight victories from 1953 to 1957. The streak started on Oct. 10, 1953, with a 19-14 victory against No. 15 Texas and ended on Nov. 16, 1957, with a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame.
The Sooners won two national championships in that stretch under coach Bud Wilkinson, and no FBS school has reached 40 straight victories since.
What was North Dakota State’s previous record?
The Bison won 33 straight games from 2012 to 2014, but they broke that record with the current streak.
How many Division I teams have won 30 straight games?
USC won 34 straight games from 2003 to 2005, but most of that streak has been vacated by the NCAA. Miami also won 34 straight games from 2000 to 2002 before losing to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Those were the longest streaks of the BCS era.
Florida State took a 29-game win streak into the first CFP semifinal before losing to Oregon. Clemson also had a 29-game win streak that ran from 2018 to 2020 before losing to LSU in the 2020 CFP championship game.
Longest Division I win streaks
|North Dakota State||39||2017-present|
|North Dakota State||33||2012-14|
When was North Dakota State’s last loss?
South Dakota State beat North Dakota State 33-21 on Nov. 4, 2017. The Bison have won every game since, and that includes three straight FCS championship runs.
How dominant has the streak been?
North Dakota State has outscored its past 39 opponents by a combined score of 1,503-481. That’s an average score of 38.5-12.3. Second-year coach Matt Entz is 18-0 since taking over for Chris Klieman, who took the Kansas State job in 2019.
Can North Dakota State break the record this year?
Yes. The Bison have six more regular-season games, and the FCS will have a 16-team playoff beginning April 24. North Dakota State would be at 46 straight victories if it stays unbeaten in the regular season.
North Dakota State 2020-21 schedule
|Oct. 3||vs. Central Arkansas||W 39-28|
|Feb. 21||vs. Youngstown State||W 25-7|
|Feb. 27||at Southern Illinois|
|Mar. 6||at Missouri State|
|Mar. 13||vs. Illinois State|
|Mar. 20||vs. North Dakota|
|Mar. 27||at South Dakota|
|Apr. 3||vs. South Dakota State|
|Apr. 10||at Northern Iowa|
A fourth straight FCS championship run would break the record set by Oklahoma.
North Dakota State, of course, will have to do that without quarterback Trey Lance, who entered the 2021 NFL Draft. Lance played in one game last fall against Central Arkansas and is expected to be a first-round pick. Tackle Dillon Radunz also is a potential high-round pick who the Bison won’t have this spring.
Still, North Dakota State can make a run at history. They might just make it in 2021.