North Dakota State claims sixth FCS title in seven years


North Dakota State claims sixth FCS title in seven years

James Madison (14-0) plays North Dakota State (13-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday for the NCAA Division I FCS national championship at Toyota Stadium.

The game is being held in Frisco, Texas for the eighth year in a row.

Grimsley and the Bison won the title during the 2015 season, but James Madison upset NDSU a year ago in the semifinals before being crowned champion.

It's #1 vs. #2 showdown. The Dukes' Simeyon Robinson blocked Cam Pedersen's 38-yard field goal attempt and they got the ball at the 27 with 4:37 remaining.

He and the NDSU defense have allowed more than 14 points only twice this year, and only 47 points in their last five games combined.

The Bison lead the nation in total defense, allowing just 237 yards per game. "I'm so proud of them".

NDSU head coach Chris Klieman hasn't said if either Allison or Wimbush are going to be ready to play in the championship game.

JMU closed the half going 68 yards in four plays that ended in a 21-yard field goal by Ethan Ratke.

Both teams have experienced quarterbacks. That difference could likely be Bison quarterback Easton Stick who's a risky runner. He caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Schor with 2 minutes, 8 seconds to play in the fourth quarter against Weber State that tied the game and helped the Dukes rally from an 8-point deficit in the final three minutes.

JMU senior defensive end Andrew Ankrah says, "If you give him time in the pocket to throw dropback passes, he'll make you play".

After holding North Dakota State to a three-and-out out of halftime, James Madison got the last score of the game after an eight-play, 33-yard touchdown drive to start the second half.

The rematch goes to North Dakota State.

"Oh no doubt", says Houston. "The 2017 Bison are going to be remembered as a group of guys that had great resolve, smacks adversity right in the face when adversity hit us and, lo and behold, we became national champions for the sixth time in seven years". "We made too many mistakes".

Klieman says, "They got different players, just like we got different players. I think he's finally playing and doing the things that we knew he could do".

"I think it's a situation where we have the two best teams in the country matched up", said James Madison coach Mike Houston.

JMU quarterback Bryan Schor finished the Dukes' final possession on his back, a fitting ending for a guy who was on the run all day from NDSU's rush.



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