07 January, 2018
North Dakota State returned to its familiar throne atop the subdivision with a 17-13 victory over defending champion James Madison before 19,090 at Toyota Stadium on Saturday, but not before the Bison gave a nod of respect across the line of scrimmage to a Dukes program that had stopped their run of five straight national titles last season. He led JMU to the promised land a year ago - his first in Harrisonburg - but he learned more about how to prepare for the big stage from a 2013 Division II title loss to Northwestern Missouri State when he was the head coach at Lenoir Rhyne University in North Carolina. They have six FCS titles and eight in Division II.
The Bison outgained James Madison 264-241 and held the Dukes to just 93 yards rushing.
"That's nearly an absurd accomplishment, and one that you probably won't ever see again", Houston said.
NDSU 17 JMU 13 - Marcus Marshall rushes for a 1-yard touchdown with 9:26 left in the third quarter.
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". A jump-ball incomplete pass at the goal line in the final minute ended JMU's quest to win back-to-back titles.
Points were at a premium, but the Bison were able to muster 17 before halftime. I know this: our guys are excited to come back and play in the national championship.
"They made the plays and we made too many mistakes". On first down from the Bison 15-yard line, Tanguay grabbed the short, wobbly throw and returned it to the NDSU 29.
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"Most important things to us was don't flinch", said NDSU cornerback Marquise Bridges on the fake punt.
The young kicker had a chance to put the Dukes within one in the second quarter, but sailed a 42-yard attempt high and wide to the left to keep the score at 7-3 in favor of the Bison.
James Madison is undefeated at 14-0. The Bison defense knocked down pass to get the ball back on downs with 58 seconds to play. "It's the next man up, play for your brothers, play for the man next to you on the field whether he's in pads or not in pads".
Still, James Madison looked like it had an opportunity to take the lead late after NDSU missed its own field goal with 4:37 remaining in the game.
"We just watched the film and decided what we liked and didn't like ... and moved on", Klieman said. The Dukes also finished 14-1 with the loss.
Under center for the Bison will be Easton Stick (39 total touchdowns, 62.4 completion percentage). For James Madison, quarterback Bryan Schor completed 14 of 32 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions.
"You have the, hands down, top two conferences in the country and the clear top two teams in the country", Houston said.