Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork. Don Chandler Jersey .com) - Illinois State finally gets to play the No. 1 team in the country ... and its not North Dakota State. The Redbirds had been working to come out of the shadow of North Dakota State, the three-time defending FCS national champion, after they didnt face each other in the regular season while both earned a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title. New Hampshire replaced NDSU as the No. 1-ranked team late in the regular season and then earned the top seed for the 24-team national playoffs. With the field dwindled to four, Illinois State, the fifth seed, will take on the Wildcats in a semifinal Saturday, with the winner advancing to the FCS championship game on Jan. 10 in Frisco, Texas. Despite playing on the road, Illinois State (12-1) might even be considered the favorite against CAA Football champion New Hampshire (12-1) as the programs meet for the first time. The Redbirds are big, strong and fast, and are coming off a highly impressive, 59-46 win at Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals. Some of the matchups werent good for us. They were even better in person, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin said. In the other semifinal Friday night, second-seeded North Dakota State (13-1) will try to become the third program to reach the FCS championship game in four straight seasons, joining Eastern Kentucky (1979-82) and Youngstown State (1991-94). The Bison will host a familiar foe in unseeded Sam Houston State (11-4), whom they defeated in both the 2011 and 12 national championship games. FCS PREDICTIONS Last Weeks Record: 2-2 (.500) This Seasons Record: 642-193 (.769) X-Predicted Winner FCS Playoff Semifinals All Times ET Friday, Dec. 19 Sam Houston State (11-4) at No. 2 seed North Dakota State (13-1) Kickoff: 8 p.m. (ESPN2) What to Know: The national championship finalists from 2011 and 12 are set to square off again, and a lot has changed since North Dakota State dominated with defense in both victories. As far as personnel, Sam Houston is especially different. Both teams even have new coaches, Sam Houstons K.C. Keeler, who won the 2003 national title at Delaware, and North Dakota States Chris Klieman, an assistant during the Bisons three straight titles. The Bearkats have won three playoff games over an impressive list of opponents (Southeastern Louisiana, Jacksonville State and Villanova), but this is the Southland Conference powers third straight game on the road and North Dakota State is a stronger team than the earlier opponents. The Bearkats rely a lot on their team speed, but the host Bison also have the speed defensively to match the visitors athleticism. Sam Houstons run game averages 250.7 yards per game and recently injured rushing leader Keshawn Hill looked more like himself in last Saturdays quarterfinal-round win at Villanova, which makes dual-threat quarterback Jared Johnson even more dangerous. But Johnson is going to need another big passing game (22-for-27, 303 yards, three touchdowns against Villanova) to keep the Bison from loading up the box with eight defenders. Freshman defensive end P.J. Hall had two more sacks against Villanova, giving him 11 this season as well as 29 tackles for loss. He figures to be disruptive because North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz likes to move from the pocket and he wont want to go Halls way. Sam Houston safety Michael Wade is one of the few veteran holdovers from the championship game appearances against North Dakota State. His savvy play will set the tone on the back end. Plus, the Bison have gotten younger at wide receiver since standout senior Zach Vraa was injured two weeks ago. The Bearkats have given up too many rushing yards in the playoffs, so North Dakota States primary objective is to put the ball in the hands of senior running back John Crockett. who smoked Coastal Carolina last Saturday for 227 yards and two touchdowns when the reigning champs were facing the end of a playoff winning streak that now is at 14. Wentz often softens a defense with draws and rollouts, then Crockett (1,754 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground) can break off decisive games. Still, the bread and butter of Bison football remains the defense, even though the vaunted unit is still seeking a dominating effort in this postseason. Perhaps it reflects how much they miss veteran linebacker Travis Beck, their fiery leader, who was injured in the regular-season finale. Defensive end Kyle Emanuel, the 2014 Buck Buchanan Award winner, will lead the swarming defense. If the Bison can make the game a bruising affair, the Bearkats might struggle for offensive rhythm. Plus, the Bison defense energizes the Fargodome crowd, and that cant be minimized when a visiting team hasnt experienced it before. The Bison have won 22 straight home games. This game also matches excellent special teams. Being indoors is always good for North Dakota State kicker Adam Keller, who is 26-for-31 on field goal attempts this season. Luc Swimberghe (17-for-19) is reliable for Sam Houston. The punters - Lachlan Edwards (Sam Houston) and Ben LeCompte (NDSU) - are among the best in the nation. Prediction: North Dakota State has two scares in the playoffs already. The Bison are usually good at making statements when there is talk of a loss. North Dakota State, 37-23. Saturday, Dec. 20 No. 5 seed Illinois State at No. 1 seed New Hampshire (12-1) Kickoff: 2 p.m. (ESPNU) What to Know: Both teams have one previous national semifinal appearance (Illinois State in 1999 and New Hampshire last year). Whoever wins this first- ever meeting will advance to the national championship game for the first time. Illinois States gifted offense was relentless in dispatching Eastern Washington, 59-46, in the quarterfinals. But now the Redbirds are moving to the other side of the country, so its possible all the travel will have an effect on the Missouri Valley Football Conference co-champions. Still, star running back Marshaun Coprich doesnt appear to be slowing down, having gone over 100 rushing yards in all 13 games. That includes 258 yards and four touchdowns against Eastern Washington, which gave him a national-high 2,089 yards this season. With New Hampshire playing a 4-2-5 defensive alignment, he should be able to get to the edge of the secondary, as he likes to do. Of course, Illinois State has had a 1-2 offensive punch all season. Quarterback Tre Roberson, the Indiana transfer, has set the school record for total yards in a season (3,559) and accounted for 36 total touchdowns. He often gets long gains out of his receiving corps after defenses put their focus on Coprich. Illinois State also is big and physical on the offensive line, led by Jermaine Barton, and that gives the Redbirds the chance to match what has been a productive New Hampshire defensive front during the playoffs. Big defensive end Teddy Corbin is the one opponents must build a game plan against. He is one of the Redbirds two All-Missouri Valley first-team defensive selections with linebacker Pat Meehan, their leading tackler. New Hampshire is only 1-4 all-time in the postseason against Missouri Valley teams. The Wildcats have to be error-free on offense, especially quarterback Sean Goldrich, who will mix in the run and pass. Coach Sean McDonnell, the Eddie Robinson Award winner, figures to be creative offensively, and the Wildcats want to let their top playmaker. wide receiver R.J. Harris, work his magic. He is tied atop UNHs all-time receptions list (304, with David Ball) and is six receptions shy of 100 and 17 yards under 1,500 this season. Running back Nico Steriti doesnt break long runs, but hes built strong and powers through defenses to eat up yards. Had he not been hurt during the regular season, he figured to have been at an All-CAA level. The playoffs are giving the senior a chance to make up for lost time. The UNH defense can bend but cant break like Eastern Washingtons did against Illinois State. Chattanooga had 566 yards against UNH in the quarterfinals, so the Wildcats were fortunate to pull out a 35-30 win. Defensive tackle Matt Kaplan makes the Wildcats balanced defense go when he is breaking through the middle with pressure in the backfield. Safety Casey DeAndre is always around the ball on the back end. The Wildcats, in the playoffs for an 11th straight season (no other program is beyond five) have won 13 straight games at Cowell Stadium, including an 8-0 mark this season. Prediction: New Hampshire doesnt often play teams with a better offense. This is one of those times, though. Illinois State, 38-28. Allen Lazard Jersey . Adam Lind provided the power and rookie starter Marcus Stroman had the best start of his young career as the Blue Jays dumped the Yankees 8-3 at Rogers Centre. Stroman, making his fifth start for Toronto, allowed one earned run and three hits over a career-high eight innings. Adrian Amos Jersey . After losing a shutout bid in the dying seconds of Sundays win over the Colorado Avalanche, Luongo would not be denied against the punchless Oilers and is now just one back of Patrick Roy for 14th on the all-time list. http://www.custompackersjersey.com/custom-a-j-hawk-jersey-large-112r.html . Sterling was banned for life and fined US$2.5 million by the NBA on Tuesday for racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. Nash, who plays for the rival L.A. Lakers, spoke as a representative of current NBA players at a press conference assembled by Sacramento mayor and National Basketball Players Association adviser Kevin Johnson.Charley Hull has set her sights on making her major breakthrough next year after finishing 2016 in style with her maiden LPGA Tour victory. Hull fired a flawless final-round 66 to capture the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship by two strokes on Sunday, a win which lifted her to fourth in the final Race to CME Globe standings. Charley Hull earned her first LPGA Tour title at the weekend The 20-year-old enjoyed a consistent year on the LPGA Tour, with five top-10 finishes and only three missed cuts in her 22 starts, and her win in Florida earned her $500,000 - the biggest payday of her career by a distance. Hull was just a shot behind world No 1 Lydia Ko at the ANA Inspiration, the opening major of the season on the womens circuit, while she also enjoyed top-20 finishes at the Womens PGA Championship and the British Open. Sky Sports Black Friday sale Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price! But she now feels more confident of challenging for a first grand slam title next year following her impressive performance at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, where a more-relaxed approach to the game paid handsome rewards.Its been a long time coming, Hull told Sky Sports News HQ. Ive been knocking on the door this year and came second at the ANA Inspiration, but Ive had a good last couple of weeks, and to win one of the big ones at the end of the year was a lot of fun. Charley Hulls final round story on the way to winning her first LPGA Tour title I kind of switched off and wasnt really thinking about it too much to be honest. Craig Hentrich Jersey. I was thinking about random stuff at home and I felt really relaxed all the time.Asked if it was the best round of her career, Hull replied: I would say that would probably be two and a half years ago when I won my first Ladies European Tour event at the Lalla Meryem Cup. I shot nine under on the last day and then best Gwladys Nocera in a play-off. Hull was second in the opening major of the season, and she wants to go one better in 2017 On Sunday, I really didnt know what I had scored when I holed out at the last. I thought I had shot three under, and then I found out I was six under.This is a big win to end the year with, its nice to have that under my belt and I feel really confident for the majors next year. I always seem to play pretty decent in the majors, and its usually just one bad round I have over the four days. Live Ladies European Tour Golf November 23, 2016, 8:00am Live on Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass Hopefully Ive ironed that out, and Ive had some really good scores over the last couple of weeks, so Im really looking forward to next year now.Upgrade to Sky Sports now and get 12 months half price. Hurry, offer ends December 4! Also See: Hull claims maiden LPGA win Golf on Sky Sports 4 Get Sky Sports Schedule ' ' '