Stick, Bison win 6th title

NDSU fans celebrate another sixth title in the past seven seasons

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.

Last season, the Dukes went to the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, and took down the Bison - a feat not often accomplished by road teams.

This recent history sets up a power-laden title matchup that has the chance to redefine the FCS hierarchy moving forward.

Stick, the game's Most Outstanding Player, stuck to his word, and the following celebration was a familiar sight for fans in Frisco: North Dakota State has won six of the last seven FCS national championships, making North Texas somewhat of a second home.

The Bison outgained James Madison 264-241 and held the Dukes to just 93 yards rushing. "Just happy to get back here". The Dukes beat the Bison in 2016 in the semifinals en route to winning their first title since 2004. But Bryan Schor's desperation throw to the end zone on fourth-and-16 fell incomplete with 58 seconds left.

The Bison rebooted their dynasty after losing in the FCS semifinals against James Madison a season ago.

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

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". "That's what it boils down to".

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NDSU 17 JMU 3 - Pedersen makes a 32-yard field goal with 39 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Dukes pulled within 17-13 thanks to a 33-yard punt return by D'Angelo Amos and then a 33-yard touchdown drive, culminating in a 1-yard Marcus Marshall run that cut the deficit to four with 9:26 to play in the third. But Schor's receivers then dropped three straight catchable balls, and the Dukes settled for a field goal.

The rematch goes to North Dakota State.

"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.

James Madison: This will be a tough one for Houston and company.

JMU - Riley Stapleton had 7 catches for 107 yards. Schor's second interception came when it looked as if the Dukes were ready to take control with their first lead. Stick took a shotgun snap and faked a handoff right before lofting a pass to Shepherd, who was breaking toward the sideline.

The best team of the past decade matches up with the best team of the past two years in a starpowered 2018 FCS Championship. Derrek Tuszka had two sacks for the Bison. Both teams combined to gain 31 first downs, the defenses won 20 of the 31 third down attempts, and neither hit 270 yards of total offense. 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. Seven senior starters are listed on defense.

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