JMU Football on Practice Field for FCS Championship Game

NDSU has now won 14 national championships, breaking a tie for the most by any team across any NCAA division.

"This matchup is exciting for the rest of the country, but it's exciting for us as well", Schor said at Thursday's media day. On 3rd-and-17 at midfield, Shepherd slipped behind the James Madison secondary and Stick lofted a pass to him at the 10, which Shepherd turned into his first touchdown of the season and a 14-3 Bison lead with 4:14 left.

Nevertheless, Houston in that halftime session told his players they would win. "Nobody wants that. I hope we're at our best, I hope JMU is at their best". They trailed 17-6 at halftime. Bison running back Bruce Anderson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

"Most important things to us was don't flinch", said NDSU cornerback Marquise Bridges on the fake punt. It came on the first play of a JMU drive that began with 39 seconds left in the first half and the Dukes trailing by two touchdowns.

North Dakota State standout defensive tackle Nate Tanguay said his advice to his younger teammates during championship week is to "lock in" during practices and meetings but relax and enjoy the flurry of activities that includes meeting with former Bison football players and an annual bowling tournament.

Eight plays later, Marshall found the end zone to cut the Bison lead to four points.

The Dukes looked like they were going to back up their coach's words early in the second half.

"When you turn on the film, you see guys flying around, guys making plays, and guys not making mistakes", Schor said about the NDSU defense. The Bison have forced 33 turnovers this season.

That was the case against Weber State in the FCS quarterfinals, when the Dukes (14-0) had to overcome a second-half deficit and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. Moments later, the Dukes faked a punt that punter Harry O'Kelly ran 24 yards to the Bison 29-yard line with around 3 minutes remaining.

JMU started the possession at their own 27-yard line, and Schor picked up a first down on a 17-yard run to start the team's season-defining drive. The Bison will have to replace DeLuca, the spiritual and statistical leader of the defense and a possible National Football League pick. The Bison then ran out the final 58 seconds. "Darrius was able to run underneath and get us in the end zone, and that was a huge play for us". NDSU finished plus-2 in turnover margin, including two interceptions that both came with James Madison in scoring position.

Stick 13/22 through the air for 130 yards and a score while rushing for another 35 yards in the win.

North Dakota State (14-1) led this one throughout. To add insult to injury, a fight broke out after the play and JMU was taxed with a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"We talk about it all the time: Field goals won't beat you, and it didn't today", Klieman said.

"That's nearly an absurd accomplishment, and one that you probably won't ever see again", Houston said. Schor threw for a loss of two yards on 2nd-and-9, he was harassed into a hurried incompletion on 3rd-and-11 and, after a false start, could not complete a blind Hail Mary heave on 4th-and-16 with 1:10 to play.

  • Angelo Rivera