Bison make it six titles, edging James Madison to regain FCS championship

It'll be #1 vs. #2 as James Madison faces off against North Dakota State in the Football Championship Subdivision national title game from Frisco, Texas on Saturday at noon. "I have so much love and respect for that man".

The Dukes got as close as the 18-yard line before the Bison defense stiffened. "You would think it's going to be a defensive battle, a little bit, but both teams, offensively, have some explosive players".

One element organizers were particularly proud of are videos made with and for the Bison fans, with appreciation messages from several of the players and coach Chris Klieman.

Quarterback Bryan Schor (33 total touchdowns) leads the Dukes' eighth-ranked scoring offense (35.9 points per game) that's gotten a major boost from running back Marcus Marshall and wide receiver Riley Stapleton this postseason. South Dakota State is the only team to beat North Dakota State this season, 33-21.

The key, Houston said, is who can make the throw that counts the most. "Probably the best we've seen all year, and it's going to be a great competition".

NDSU - Easton Stick was 13-for-22 with 130 yards and 1 touchdown. They needed some points badly before kicking away to NDSU to start the third quarter, and Stapelton's snaring of this one - momentarily pinning it to the helmet of the Bison's Josh Hayes - got them across midfield to at least set up a field goal. That year, Stick was 8-0 in place of an injured Carson Wentz but did not appear in NDSU's championship win. "He just said "Coach, don't worry, there will be no time left on the clock".

"That's nearly an absurd accomplishment, and one that you probably won't ever see again", Houston said.

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Stapleton had a breakout performance in the FCS quarterfinals, helping keep the Dukes' season alive.

"They're always on the same page".

"If you're going to win at this level, you have to have the guy who can make the plays in clutch moments", Houston said. "It's a really talented group, and we definitely have our hands full". JMU's defense matched NDSU with a three-and-out of their own, including a six-yard sack by redshirt junior defensive lineman Darrious Carter. That difference could likely be Bison quarterback Easton Stick who's a unsafe runner.

The Bison have injury concerns in the secondary heading into the championship game. After taking over the ball, Schor hit senior tight end Jonathan Kloosterman for 10 yards before being sacked for 11 yards to move back to the JMU 24-yard line. "You don't see a big play because someone's out of position or they blew a coverage". That loss still lingers among many Bison players.

"I wanted to wait for the right time because you only get one chance at it", Houston said.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NCAA or its member institutions.


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