FRISCO, Texas – The Bison are back on top of the FCS football world.
After seeing its streak of consecutive FCS National Championships snapped last year, North Dakota State defeated James Madison 17-13 for the 2017-18 title on Saturday.
The Bison, who won five consecutive FCS championships from 2011-2015, scored on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead and never trailed against the Dukes, the defending champions who defeated NDSU in last year’s semifinal round. Bruce Anderson capped NDSU’s 11-play, 66-yard opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run to begin the scoring.
Quarterback Easton Stick hit Darrius Shepherd for a 50-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to give the Bison a 14-3 lead. Cam Pedersen extended the advantage to 17-3, and the NDSU defense did the rest.
The Bison forced two turnovers in the first quarter and grabbed another interception in the second to put JMU in a hole. The Dukes’ offense finished with 241 yards, including just 93 on the ground. JMU averaged more than 200 rushing yards per game before Saturday’s contest.
The Dukes scored their lone touchdown of the game early in the third quarter, but neither offense scored over the game’s final 21-plus minutes.
Stick finished with 130 yards passing and the one touchdown. He added 35 rushing yards on 14 carries. NDSU rushed 48 times as a team for 134 yards, 150 yards below its season average. Anderson had 63 yards and 18 totes, and Shepherd totaled 74 receiving yards on six catches.
JMU’s Bryan Schor completed just 14 of 32 passes for 148 yards and the two interceptions. Marcus Marshall had 30 yards and the Dukes’ lone touchdown on 11 carries.
NDSU finishes the season with a 14-1 overall record and has now won six of the past seven FCS National Championships.
The loss snapped JMU’s 26-game winning streak.