Sports

North Dakota State avenges loss to James Madison to win FCS championship

North Dakota State avenges loss to James Madison to win FCS championship

For the Dukes, today didn't represent the former.

"We could not be more thrilled for the opportunity to be back in Frisco, Texas, and have the opportunity compete for a third national title for James Madison University football".

The win pulls North Dakota State into a tie with Georgia Southern - now a member of the FBS Sun Belt Conference - for the most FCS titles; however, the Eagles won their six in eight tries, while the Bison are a flawless 6-for-6. "He and I have a great relationship, and I respect him greatly". "It's a special community there".

"I've seen a lot of guys go down, you know, that's how I got here that's how I'm playing", Wilson said Thursday after practice.

The sea of purple and gold erupted when the Dukes quickly stopped the Bison on NDSU's first drive of the game. That difference could likely be Bison quarterback Easton Stick who's a unsafe runner. NDSU took a 17-13 lead into the fourth quarter with the appearance of next score wins. Asked what he could take from that game, Bison coach Chris Klieman said, "Nothing, really".

After a three-and-out for the Dukes, JMU turned to its most stable unit to turn the momentum back its way. Facing a 4th-and-9 at his own 47 with 3:06 to play and all three timeouts in his pocket, Dukes head coach Mike Houston appeared to elect to punt and trust his defense rather than go for it; instead, he chose neither, as punter Harry O'Kelly scampered down the left side for a 24-yard gain to the NDSU 29. Bison kicker Cam Pederson had a 38-yard field goal blocked with 4:37 to play in the fourth quarter.

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NDSU - Derrek Tuszka had 6 tackles and 2 sacks.

"We found a way to play red-zone defense, which has been a staple for us", Klieman said. The Bison saw four of their top five running backs get hurt and lost their two starting cornerbacks in the playoffs. Whether deserved or not, the Dukes will use their experience with being underestimated in the past to attempt to earn their second-straight FCS National Championship.

The Dukes' sloppiest half of the season only got worse as the clock neared halftime. Stapleton, who will start opposite of an active John Miller (lower leg injury), has 16 catches and three touchdowns this postseason.

NDSU 17 JMU 3 - Pedersen makes a 32-yard field goal with 39 seconds left in the second quarter. North Dakota State limited James Madison to 21 yards in the first quarter, and neither team conjured an offensive explosion until the Bison executed a near-flawless play-action pass with 4:14 left in the half.

The Bison continued to prevent big plays, rough up Schor (four sacks, twice as many scrambles), and keep JMU from moving the ball much on the ground. Marshall then paraded through a stack off defenders to slip into the end zone and narrow the deficit to 17-13.

- The North Dakota State Bison and their fans owned Frisco, Texas, for five consecutive championship seasons, not only on the football field but in area hotels, restaurants and sports bars. "They're both experienced and poised, they play within themselves and don't make mistakes, and they can beat you with their arms or legs".

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