FLORENCE, Ala.--North Dakota State captured its third national NCAA Division II football title in the last four years on a cool December day at Braly Stadium with a sound 27-7 win over North Central Conference rival South Dakota.

"I wish to hell they would get out of Division II," said South Dakota head coach Dave Triplett following the game. "They can go wherever they want."

This revised billboard in Florence said it all. And, again, the key to the Bison success rested with quarterback Jeff Bentrim. The senior who started in all four of the championship games over his career, ran for 111 yards and two TDs while leading the NDSU offense to a 354-yard total offense performance.

The special teams were responsible for the final three TDs of the game, pinning USD at the 1-yard line on a kickoff return that led to one score, Tyrone Braxton's 84-yard punt return early in the second half upped the lead to 20-0, and Daryl Illikainen's recovery of a fumbled USD punt return in the fourth quarter set up the last score.

First Downs 14 19
Yds. Rushing 184 313
Yds. Passing 69 47
Total Offense 253 360
Passes 6-13-1 4-6-1
Punts 3-36.7 1-32.0
Penalties 3-11 3-25
Fumbles/Lost 2-2 1-0

North Dakota State 27, South Dakota 7
South Dakota 0 0 7 0 -- 7
NDSU 0 14 6 7 -- 27
NDSU--Bentrim 4 run (Kubisz kick)
NDSU--Barta 1 run (Kubisz kick)
NDSU--Braxton 84 punt return (kick failed)
USD--Jones 1 run (McLoughlin kick)
NDSU--Bentrim 4 run (Kubisz kick)

Top Individuals
Rushing--Bentrim (NDSU) 20-111; Lloyd (NDSU) 16-78; Toshner (NDSU) 9-66; Jones (USD) 19-51
Passing--Jones (USD) 5-8-0, 65 yds.; Bentrim (NDSU) 4-6-1, 47 yds.
Receiving--Kretchman (NDSU) 2-22; Parr (USD) 2-17; Southwick (USD) 1-30; Stark (NDSU) 1-14