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

The JMU football team is on the practice field in Frisco Texas

North Dakota State University is back on top of the FCS mountain with a 17-13 win in the championship game from Toyota Stadium. With the win, North Dakota State now has six of the last seven FCS national championships.

North Dakota State led, 17-13, with 4:37 remaining in the game Saturday when James Madison defensive lineman Simeyan Robinson blocked a Cam Pederson field-goal attempt to give his offense possession on its own 27-yard line.

The Houston-led JMU football team is making an appearance in the FCS National Championship for the second-straight year on Saturday. Those six FCS crowns tied Georgia Southern for the most in the history of the division.

The Bison outgained James Madison 264-241 and held the Dukes to just 93 yards rushing. It marked the first time the Dukes trailed by double digits this season.

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".

For Houston, it's his third shot at a national title.

"It's hard to put into words, but this culture is fantastic, the fans, the coaches, the players.it's so special", said Bison wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who had a 50-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. The Bison took a 17-6 to halftime. "I know I'll have these guys the rest of my life". "We made a couple of mistakes we don't typically make", he said. On first down from the Bison 15-yard line, Tanguay grabbed the short, wobbly throw and returned it to the NDSU 29.

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

JMU closed the half going 68 yards in four plays that ended in a 21-yard field goal by Ethan Ratke. "Field goals don't beat you and that's what we tried to do". Sophomore cornerback Marquise Bridges intercepted Schor's pass at the NDSU 3-yard line.

The Bison would runout the final 58 seconds of the clock for the championship.

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

The Dukes entered the season as the No. 1 team in the land. This year the tables are flipped, as James Madison is No. 1 and NDSU is No. 4.

Under center for the Bison will be Easton Stick (39 total touchdowns, 62.4 completion percentage).

Schor ran for 10 yards on the next play.

"You have the, hands down, top two conferences in the country and the clear top two teams in the country", Houston said. For James Madison, quarterback Bryan Schor completed 14 of 32 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions.

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