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Illinois State Meets North Dakota State Saturday For FCS National Title

 width=They answered question after question from the media on Thursday, calm as can be even as they moved onto a stage that's bigger than the nation's best FCS conference.

It didn't figure to be any other way, however, because Illinois State quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Marshaun Coprich have provided all the right answers this season while leading the Redbirds into Saturday's NCAA Division I Football Championship Game.

"It feels like we've been here before," Roberson said

The reality is Illinois State will be appearing in the FCS title game for the first time, while its opponent, North Dakota State, is seeking a fourth straight national title, which would be a first in the FCS and has been accomplished only once in NCAA history, ironically by a school from Illinois, Augustana College from 1983-86.

 width=But the Redbirds feel they're ready to move out of North Dakota State's long shadow. The two teams tied for the Missouri Valley Football Conference title after not playing each other in the regular season.

Illinois State (13-1) has much more than a puncher's chance against the NDSU dynasty. In fact, its offense features a sensational 1-2 knockout punch. Whether Roberson or Coprich is 1 and the other is 2 seemingly changes from week to week, and they feed off each other in winning fashion.

Now Illinois State, which has good size at wide receiver and even more size on the offensive line with four starters over 300 pounds, will try to take down the best defense in the FCS for four years running. No doubt the Redbirds will turn to their 1-2 punch for the right answers against North Dakota State.

"If you want to be the champ, you've got to beat the champ," Roberson said.

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