North Dakota St. leads 24-team field

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time defending national champion North Dakota State is among the top four seeds in the FCS playoffs, along with Eastern Illinois, Eastern Washington and Southeastern Louisiana.

The 24-team field was announced Sunday and the top eight seeds earn a bye into the second round.

Other teams getting a pass into the second round are Montana, Maine, McNeese State and Towson.

The first-round games will be played Saturday at home sites.

North Dakota State (11-0), which started its season by beating Kansas State of the Big 12, will face the winner of Furman-South Carolina State in Fargo, N.D., on Dec. 7.

Sam Houston State, which lost to North Dakota State in the last two FCS finals, plays at home Saturday against Southern Utah.

The championship game is Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.