Sports

JMU Football on Practice Field for FCS Championship Game

JMU Football on Practice Field for FCS Championship Game

The Bison rebooted their dynasty after losing in the FCS semifinals against James Madison a season ago. The Bison have a 97-8 record since 2011.

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.

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

Quarterback Easton Stick was named the games Most Valuable Player.

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. D'Angelo Amos' 33-yard punt return, his second big return of the day, set JMU up nicely at the Bison 33-yard line. NDSU took over at the JMU 41-yard line, and after advancing to the JMU 19-yard line on six plays, junior kicker Cam Pedersen knocked a 32-yard field goal in between the posts to extend NDSU's lead to 17-3. The Dukes scored on a Marcus Marshall 1-yard touchdown run that sliced the NDSU lead to 17-13 with 9 minutes, 26 seconds to play in the third quarter. They took advantage of a short field on their first drive of the third quarter.

NDSU 17 JMU 6 - Ratke makes a 21-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the second quarter. Those were the game's final points as both defenses took over late.

The Bison lead the nation in total defense, allowing just 237 yards per game. That difference could likely be Bison quarterback Easton Stick who's a risky runner.

JMU senior quarterback Bryan Schor says, "This is the reason why we play football".

Bridges said Stapleton and the James Madison receiving group will present a challenge. The Bison's first drive notably showcased the return of junior running back Lance Dunn - arguably NDSU's most lethal offensive threat, who hadn't played since October 21. NDSU was able to run out the clock to earn a sixth FCS championship. "We're excited to get on the road and join the fun down there", said Schmitz. "To limit that offense to 13 points is pretty remarkable". The Bison have forced 33 turnovers this season. This year the tables are flipped, as James Madison is No. 1 and NDSU is No. 4.

Three plays lost two yards and the Dukes faced fourth-and-16 after an illegal motion penalty with 1:10 remaining. Anderson carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards with a 3-yard touchdown, while Lance Dunn returned from a midseason injury to gain 50 yards on 13 carries.

"What an incredible leader for this team", Shepherd said of Stick. "He and I have a great relationship, and I respect him greatly".

Klieman entered the postgame press conference sweating and looking for a bottle of water moments after the nail-biting victory and ensuing celebration.

"Field goals don't beat you", Klieman said of his team's defensive effort.


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