NDSU ends JMU 26-game winning streak for sixth FCS Championship

by Leon Thompson January 7, 2018, 4:11
NDSU ends JMU 26-game winning streak for sixth FCS Championship

After piecing together an unforgettable 26-game winning streak and flawless 2017 campaign heading into the season, JMU fell to North Dakota State 17-13 in the FCS Championship at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Those six FCS crowns tied Georgia Southern for the most in the history of the division.

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

"He didn't have the type of season I thought he was going to have", Schor said.

Meanwhile, the Bison have run wild with a deep running back corps that's withstood injuries, led by 1,186-yard rusher Bruce Anderson.

JMU head coach Mike Houston says, "There are great players individually on both sides of the football, but I think the thing that stands out is that both units play so well together.I think it's going to be hard-hitting, extremely physical, and probably in the teens".

The Dukes went on to win last year's title - only their second all-time. Bison quarterback Stick then hit receiver Darrius Shepherd for a 50-yard touchdown in the second quarter, followed up with a Cam Pedersen 32-yard field goal to make it 17-3 NDSU. The Bison took a 17-6 to halftime. "They have such a dominant team and they don't make many mistakes".

After showing flashes of excellence in the third quarter, the Dukes' reverted to their sloppy style of play from the first half in the fourth quarter. It didn't help NDSU that JMU held a big advantage in the punting game.

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But cornerback Marquise Bridges picked off Schorr at the 3-yard line and NDSU still had the lead.

So when Stick completed his kneel after a 27-yard loss and he knew the clock had drained, he threw the ball high in the air as hundreds of Bison fans stormed the field after a 17-13 victory. Despite the encouraging field position, Schor whiffed on three pass attempts and JMU was forced to settle for a field goal booted in by redshirt freshman Ethan Ratke. The Dukes drove 69 yards in a half-minute to get a 21-yard field goal.

James Madison scored on its first possession of the third quarter to close within 17-13.

Fans are in "a fight right now for every ticket that's out there", Houston said. The Bison defense knocked down pass to get the ball back on downs with 58 seconds to play. It was capped off by a 1-yard run from Marcus Marshall. "They created opportunities for all of us, but we just came up short".

The Dukes entered the season as the No. 1 team in the land.

Still, James Madison looked like it had an opportunity to take the lead late after NDSU missed its own field goal with 4:37 remaining in the game. To add insult to injury, a fight broke out after the play and JMU was taxed with a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. "You're going to have guys injured", Klieman said.

Quarterback Bryan Schor scrambled for 17 yards to the 46.


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