Bison Win 6th Division 1 Football Title

Lynette Rowe
January 7, 2018

"We always talk about leaving a legacy. You know you go out there and you do what you can for the team". "Character wins games and our guys have unbelievable character". After a dominant defensive showing to halt NDSU's offense in its tracks, Amos drove for another impressive kick return - this time for 33 yards - before the Dukes' offense reminded the sold-out crowd of _ why they're ranked No. 1.

Previous meeting: JMU ended NDSU's streak of five consecutive FCS national championships with a 27-17 win in the semifinals past year.

"The demeanor of the team is the same as previous year", redshirt senior offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie said. It led to a 32-yard Pedersen field goal and it was 17-3. "It's so wonderful to be a part of this program". "Nobody wants that. I hope we're at our best, I hope JMU is at their best".

NDSU 17 JMU 13 - Marcus Marshall rushes for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:26 left in the third quarter.

- NDSU was held scoreless in the second half.

The key, Houston said, is who can make the throw that counts the most.

No one knows what exactly JMU head coach Mike Houston said to his players in the locker room, but the Dukes seemed to trot out a brand new team in the second half. "They're both experienced and poised, they play within themselves and don't make mistakes, and they can beat you with their arms or legs". They trailed 17-6 at halftime. One of his catches was crucial for 15 yards on the Bison's first scoring drive.

Klieman says, "They got different players, just like we got different players".

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Stapleton had a breakout performance in the FCS quarterfinals, helping keep the Dukes' season alive. They took advantage of a short field on their first drive of the third quarter.

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

Eight plays later, Marshall found the end zone to cut the Bison lead to four points. And that most of the big plays were made by the defenses: seven sacks, including one that forced NDSU's only turnover on a fumble by Stick, along with five quarterback hits and plenty of other pressure. The Bison won a record 33 consecutive games between 2012 and 2014. Each championship game was played in Frisco except for James Madison's first title, won in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This isn't the first one of the season.

The Dukes got as close as the 18-yard line before the Bison defense stiffened. Senior Bryan Schor is 29-3 in his career with the Dukes. For the second time in the half, a JMU miscue directly propagated a touchdown for the Bison. NDSU was able to run out the clock to earn a sixth FCS championship.

"Great time to get a first", Klieman said. James Madison made seven trips deep into NDSU territory, but came away with three field goal attempts (only two of which were made), two interceptions, a touchdown and a turnover on downs. 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. He also rushed for 19 yards on 14 attempts.

NDSU - Easton Stick was 13-for-22 with 130 yards and 1 touchdown. He added 35 rushing yards on 14 carries.

"Obviously there are people out there that don't respect us that much", Houston said.

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

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