Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Fans gear up for FCS Championship pep rally

Fans gear up for FCS Championship pep rally

One of the guys we know for sure will be in the lineup come Saturday's FCS National Championship is true freshman running back Seth Wilson.

It's #1 vs. #2 showdown. The Dukes marched the ball all the way to the Bison's 25-yard line with 1:10 left on the clock, but Bryan Schor's fourth-down pass attempt was batted down in the end zone, essentially giving North Dakota State the win and the national title.

After holding North Dakota State to a three-and-out out of halftime, James Madison got the last score of the game after an eight-play, 33-yard touchdown drive to start the second half.

These teams have the top defenses at the FCS level. NDSU ranks fourth in the nation with 282.1 rushing yards per game.

"We've got a bunch of warriors and a bunch of winners in that locker room", Bison coach Chris Klieman said after the game.

"You have the, hands down, top two conferences in the country and the clear top two teams in the country", Houston said.

Both teams have experienced quarterbacks.

"I thought our defense did a good job to responding to adversity all season long", said Bison senior linebacker Nick DeLuca.

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Junior quarterback Easton Stick was named the game's most outstanding player, totaling 165 yards of offense, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd in the second quarter. After taking over the ball, Schor hit senior tight end Jonathan Kloosterman for 10 yards before being sacked for 11 yards to move back to the JMU 24-yard line. He's a big quarterback. We've played a lot great receiving corps this year.

NDSU (14-1) has won six national championships in the past seven seasons with a 6-0 record in title games. "I just felt like this team had what it took to beat that North Dakota State team, and we were confident coming out of that half".

"Oh no doubt", says Houston. The Bison were poised to put a potential dagger in JMU's hopes of a comeback, as they lined up for a field goal with 4:37 left in the contest. "We made too many mistakes".

"We found a way to play red-zone defense, which has been a staple for us", Klieman said.

But fact is, the fronts for James Madison are just as physical.

NDSU 7 JMU 3 - Ethan Ratke drills a 31-yard field goal with 3:48 left in the first quarter. It's championship football so every time you're in the game you've got to go.

Bridges said Stapleton and the James Madison receiving group will present a challenge. His second-seeded team held a four-point lead and hadn't trailed since the opening kick, and a mental lapse, in a game that had already been topsy-turvy, would have given No. 1 James Madison another shot at victory. Whether deserved or not, the Dukes will use their experience with being underestimated in the past to attempt to earn their second-straight FCS National Championship.

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