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Playoff update: FCS is headed to the final four, while the Division II, Division II and NAIA finals are set

Grand Forks Herald

Grand Forks Herald

The College Football Playoff has chosen its four teams, but you knew that by now. With bowl season still a week away, the lower divisions took the stage this weekend with another round of high-impact playoff action. The FCS is down to its own final four, while Division II, Division III and the NAIA are preparing to hold their championship games this coming weekend.

Here's everything you need to know about where the lower-division playoff stand at this point.

What: FCS Semifinals, Part 1
Who: Sam Houston State at North Dakota State
When: 8 p.m. ET Friday
Where: Fargo, N.D. (ESPN2)
Why (should I watch?): North Dakota State is gunning for a fourth straight national championship, and Sam Houston State is looking for revenge after losing the 2011 and 2012 FCS title games to the Bison
How: Sam Houston State went to Philadelphia and knocked off No. 6 seed Villanova, 34-31, after Jalen Overstreet scored the game-winning touchdown with 4:03 remaining and a game-tying 51-yard field goal sailed wide left with 32 seconds to go. North Dakota State survived its second straight close call, beating No. 7 seed Coastal Carolina 39-32.

What: FCS Semifinals, Part 2
Who: Illinois State at New Hampshire
When: 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Where: Durham, N.H. (ESPNU)
Why: Neither team has ever played for a national championship.
How: New Hampshire posted back-to-back fourth quarter touchdowns and recovered an late onside kick to turn a 24-22 deficit into a 35-30 win over No. 8 seed Chattanooga on Friday night. Illinois State went to the red turf of No. 4 seed Eastern Washington and emerged with a 59-46 win. The Redbirds out-rushed Eastern Washington 336-95 and led 45-20 through three quarters.

What: Division II National Championship
Who: Minnesota State-Mankato vs. Colorado State-Pueblo
When: 2 p.m. ET Saturday
Where: Kansas City, Kan. (ESPN2)
Why: Each program is making its first national championship appearance
How: Minnesota State-Mankato pounded Concord (W.Va.) 47-13, out-gaining Concord by nearly 200 yards, holding a near 2-to-1 first downs advantage and a 17-minute time of possession edge. Colorado State-Pueblo edged West Georgia 10-7, notching what turned into the game winning touchdown with 9:48 to go and then intercepting a pass in the end zone on the ensuing possession.

What: Division III National Championship
Who: Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Mount Union
When: 7 p.m. ET Friday
Where: Salem, Va. (ESPNU)
Why: It's the ninth national championship game between the two teams in the last 10 years, and it's Lance Leipold's final game as Wisconsin-Whitewater's head coach
How: Mount Union thumped Wesley (Del.) 70-21, and led 70-0 through three quarters. Wisconsin-Whitewater scored a touchdown with five minutes remaining and then sacked and stripped Linfield (Ore.) quarterback Sam Riddle inside Warhawk territory to hold on for a 20-14 win.

What: NAIA National Championship
Who: Southern Oregon vs. Marian (Ind.)
When: 3 p.m. ET Friday
Where: Daytona Beach, Fla. (ESPNU)
Why: Marian is looking to claim its second national title in three seasons, while Southern Oregon is making its first national championship appearance
How: Southern Oregon quarterback Austin Dodge accounted for 490 yards of total offense and six touchdowns to led the Raiders to a 62-37 win over Saint Xavier (Ill.). Marian forced five turnovers to defeat Morningside (Iowa) 41-21, a team that came in leading the entirety of college football in total offense at more than 660 yards per game, by forcing five turnovers and putting up 530 yards of total offense.