North Dakota State claims sixth FCS title in seven years
08 January, 2018, 03:35 | Author: Edward Fernandez
Saturday's football championship between James Madison and North Dakota State is a donnybrook all sorts of FCS fans have wanted to see.
"We've got a bunch of warriors and a bunch of winners in that locker room", Bison coach Chris Klieman said after the game.
James Madison is seeking to win back-to-back titles under coach Mike Houston and join four other programs to have at least three FCS titles. The Dukes are now riding a 26-game winning streak.
Both teams have moved on from a rash of injuries.
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. 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 Dukes (14-0) ended the Bison's (13-1) 22 game post-season win streak last season at North Dakota's place.
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"Oh no doubt", says Houston. He said the difference in his sales from 2017 to 2016 was "the Bison week", or lack thereof. "There's no doubt. And we're excited about it too".
"We found a way to play red zone defense, which is a staple for us", Klieman said. I'm so proud of the guys.
"Such a big moment, just a lot of ups and downs this season, but it's just so special to have that play happen", said Shepherd, who is from Blue Springs, Mo.
On 4-and-16 from the 25-yard line, with defenders in pursuit and the game on the line, Dukes quarterback Bryan Schor heaved the ball into the end zone, but it fell harmlessly to the ground after it was tipped amidst a large gathering of players. Though the Bison never trailed Saturday, James Madison almost pulled off an unlikely comeback in a rematch of last year's national semifinal (The Dukes won and went on to win the national championship).
North Dakota State is 13-1, with the lone loss coming to South Dakota State, a team JMU beat by 35 points this year in national semifinals.
Kickoff is set for Saturday at 10 a.m. on ESPN2 from the outskirts of Dallas in Frisco, Texas.
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