FLORENCE, Ala. — Two of the most prominent programs in the history of the NCAA football playoffs will meet in 2018 as the University of North Alabama will travel to Fargo, N.D. to face five-time Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Champion North Dakota State at the Fargo Dome.

The Lions and Bison will meet on September 22, 2018 as part of UNA’s first season of transition to FCS status. North Alabama will play a full NCAA Division II schedule in 2017 in its final year of membership in the Gulf South Conference.

UNA will begin competing as a member of the Big South Conference in football in 2019.

North Alabama has claimed three NCAA Division II National Championships, is tied for the most playoff appearances in Division II history with 21 and is second in Division II history in playoff wins with 35. UNA is the only program in Division II history to win three straight national championships (1993-95) and the Lions have advanced to the Division II Playoffs 12 times in the last 14 seasons.

North Dakota State won five national championships on the NCAA Division II level before moving to the FCS ranks. The Bison claimed five straight FCS national titles from 2011-15.

“Our goal in moving to the FCS level is to continue to compete at a high level and play for championships and the best way to find out where you stand is by playing the best competition that you can,” said UNA Athletic Director Mark Linder. “By playing NDSU, we will be able to play against one of the best FCS programs in America and see firsthand what it will take to get there.”

The Lions and Bison met in McAllen, Texas in the 1985 Division II National Championship Game, which NDSU won 35-7.

UNA is continuing work to solidify its football schedules for 2018 and beyond and will make additional announcements in the coming weeks.

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