Fans gear up for FCS Championship pep rally

After piecing together an unforgettable 26-game winning streak and ideal 2017 campaign heading into the season, JMU fell to North Dakota State 17-13 in the FCS Championship at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. With the win, North Dakota State now has six of the last seven FCS national championships. The Dukes are now riding a 26-game winning streak.

NDSU is the only college football program to ever win five consecutive NCAA national championships.

It's the first time since 2011 and the first time since the FCS playoff field expanded to 24 teams that the top two seeds will face one another in the title game.

The Bison limited James Madison to 241 yards on 62 plays, allowing one touchdown.

It was the defensive battle of the top two scoring defenses in the FCS, with first downs at times a precious commodity by both teams.

NDSU 17 JMU 13 - Marcus Marshall rushes for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:26 left in the third quarter. "I think both teams would say this is the most physical game they've played in all year". The Dukes beat the Bison in 2016 in the semifinals en route to winning their first title since 2004. It led to a 32-yard Pedersen field goal and it was 17-3. "I know I'll have these guys the rest of my life". "We made too many mistakes". They had (only) 53 yards rushing in the first half.

The Dukes looked like they were going to back up their coach's words early in the second half. James Madison got another, 21-yard field goal from Ratke to make the score 17-6 at halftime. D'Angelo Amos returned a punt 33 yards to the NDSU 33-yard line.

The Bison would runout the final 58 seconds of the clock for the championship.

Bridges said Stapleton and the James Madison receiving group will present a challenge.

Fans are in "a fight right now for every ticket that's out there", Houston said.

Three plays lost two yards and the Dukes faced fourth-and-16 after an illegal motion penalty with 1:10 remaining.

"We found a way to play red-zone defense, which has been a staple for us", Klieman said. "It's the next man up, play for your brothers, play for the man next to you on the field whether he's in pads or not in pads". After taking over at their own 44-yard line, Stick handed the ball off to Anderson for 13 yards on two plays and Dunn for two yards on two plays before whistling a dart to junior wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who converted a wide-open pass downfield into a 50-yard touchdown to extend NDSU's lead to 14-3.

Stick completed 13 of 22 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

Schor ran for 10 yards on the next play.

"Many times you see a dropoff over time, but [NDSU coach Chris Klieman] has done a great job keeping that program at that championship level, and that takes a lot", JMU coach Mike Houston said.

  • Rosalie Stanley