Total defense reflects total dominance in FCS

(STATS) – Coach Chris Klieman of FCS national champion North Dakota State likes to say his team will win regularly if it’s only giving up field goals.

If opponents can’t get into field goal range, even better.

The success of the top five teams in the FCS in total defense – defensive yards allowed – was telling last year. The teams combined for a 59-6 record.

Not surprisingly, North Dakota State led the way, allowing 237.4 yards per game.

Jacksonville State gave up the fewest yards per play (3.84) while ranking second in total defense (239.6). The Gamecocks (10-2) extended their record streak of consecutive Ohio Valley Conference wins to 32.

National runner-up James Madison (14-1) was third in total defense (252). Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl champ North Carolina A&T (12-0) was fourth (258.4) and McNeese (9-2), which had the most wins among any eligible team not to qualify for the playoffs, was fifth (262.5).