Blog Post

NDSU Claims Sixth Championship In Seven Seasons With Win Over James Madison

NDSU claimed their sixth championship in seven years as they defeated the James Madison, Dukes in the FCS National Championship 17-13.

Neither team had much of a rhythm on offense but NDSU got on the board first with an opening drive touchdown run by Bruce Anderson from three yards out. The drive was extended because of a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt by Jackson Koonce.

The Dukes got on the board later in the first quarter getting inside the NDSU redzone but settling for a field goal. The Dukes got a nice punt return from D’Angelo Amos down to the 14 of the Bison but the defense stiffened and pushed JMU backwards to force a field goal.

The biggest play of the game came on a third and 17 for NDSU when junior quarterback Easton Stick found fellow junior Darrius Shepherd for a 50-yard touchdown pass. The score was Shepherd’s first touchdown grab of the season.

NDSU lead 17-6 at the end of the first half after James Madison again got inside the 20-yard line but with six seconds left on the one-yard line head coach Mike Houston elected to kick the field goal instead of going for a touchdown.

NDSU didn’t score in the second half and the defense gave up yardage and even a score on the Dukes first possession of the third quarter however after that the bison didn’t allow JMU to score again. Turnovers were key in the game as NDSU forced three JMU turnovers, the most JMU had turned over the ball all season.

A key play was junior cornerback Marquise Bridges who intercepted a pass from JMU quarterback Bryan Schor at NDSU’s three-yard line as the Dukes were driving for the lead. That interception was the Junior, Bridges, third interception of his career and third in the last two games after both starting corners Jalen Allison and Jaylaan Wimbush suffered knee injuries.

The other key start was redzone conversions were James Madison finished with one touchdown in six trips inside the 20-yardline. The Dukes also had two field goals and a missed field goal in the redzone. Their last trip deep inside NDSU territory came with alittle over a minute to play down by four but NDSU held their ground defensively and forced a turnover on downs after Bryan Schor’s heave on fourth down fell harmlessly to the ground.

The win gives NDSU a 14-1 record on the season and a sixth national championship in seven years and avenges a loss to JMU last year in the semifinals. The loss for JMU snaps the a streak of 27 straight victories.

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