NDSU at JMU 17 to 13

The NDSU ‘Bison’ find themselves back in Frisco Texas for the NCAA FCS National Championship. They will be playing the James Madison ‘Dukes’ for the title. The no. 1 seed vs. the no. 2 seed. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Both teams are looking forward to this game. The ‘Dukes’ are looking for their second championship, and the ‘Bison’ want revenge against the team that beat them last year. As the no. 2 seed, NDSU will play as the visiting team; wearing their white jerseys, green pants, and green Harvest Helmets . NDSU is 10–0 wearing the green helmets. The official NDSU sections are 122–133 behind the Bison bench on the east side of Toyota Stadium. It will be a sea of green on that side of the field. The game is sold out. The James Madison fans are as loud and boisterous as the NDSU fans. James Madison has won 26 games in row. Last week they beat SDSU 51–16 in the semifinal game. SDSU was the only team to beat NDSU this year. JMU leads NDSU in Total Points per Game (463.0 to 432.3). NDSU leads in Points Allowed per game (12.8 to 14.7) and Total Yards Allowed (268.3 to 293.8)
Would JMU win two championships in a row? Or would NDSU make it six wins in the last seven years?

First Quarter, 1st and 20 at NDSU16. QB #12 Easton Sticks pass was complete to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski for 2 yards to the NDSU18. RB #08 Bruce Anderson is blocking in the photo. NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. -photo by Kevin Wolf.
First Quarter, 1st and 20 at NDSU16. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass was complete to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski for 2 yards to the NDSU18. RB #08 Bruce Anderson is blocking in the photo. NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. -photo by Kevin Wolf.

See Kevin Wolf/Wolfpack Photos, for a complete set of photo galleries from the game
I wrote the Summary (below) shortly after the game.


Game Review

Pre-Game

The NCAA FCS National Championship game was played from 11:04 am. until 2:15 pm. at the Toyota Stadium (Frisco, TX) with 19,090 in attendance, and 1.515 million viewers watching on ESPN2.

The JMU ‘Dukes’ won the coin toss and will receive the kickoff. JMU will defend the north endzone.


First Quarter

Cam Pedersen (#36) on the kickoff, 65 yards for a touchback. First and 10 at the JMU 25.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete, but RB #29 Marcus Marshall slips for a loss of 5 yards. It was called a completed catch but it looked like the ball hit the ground. RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs 1 yard before DT #99 Nate Tanguay takes him down. Schor can’t find a receiver; he takes off running. DE #95 Caleb Butler pulls him down from behind after a gain of 4 yards. #98 Harry O’Kelly punts the ball 41 yards. A Fair Catch is called by WR #20 Darrius Shepherd. Shepherd waved it off but then dived on it. First and 10 at the NDSU 34.

NDSU OG #62 Bryce Messner is called for a False Start. The ‘Duke’ fans are very loud. Almost as loud as the ‘Bison’ fans. First and 15 at the NDSU 29. RB #8 Bruce Anderson runs up the middle for 3 yards. LB #9 Kyre Hawkins made the tackle. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd on the far sidelines. He’s pushed out-of-bound by CB #6 Jimmy Moreland after a gain of 4 yards. QB #12 Easton Stick under pressure has to run. Stick only gets 2 yards before he’s tackled by DL #93 Andrew Ankrah. #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 32 yards to the JMU 30 where it bounds out-of-bounds. A Roughing-The-Kicker penalty is called on LB #11 Bryce Maginley. The ‘Dukes’ were agressive and came after Koonce. Maginley hit his leg and Koonce grabbed his hamstring and rolled on the ground. First and 10 at the JMU 47.
QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for 2 yards. FS #5 Raven Greene made the tackle in place. RB #30 Seth Wilson runs left and picks his way for 5 yards before he’s tackled by DL #47 Darrious Carter. Stick keeps the ball off the Jet-Sweep-Fake, he hurdles a defender, and runs 9 yards before going out-of-bounds. First and 10 at the JMU 31,
Stick throws to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski on the near sidelines. He’s pushed out-of-bounds by CB #6 Jimmy Moreland. First and 10 at the JMU 16. (Stick was hit hard by LB #9 Kyre Hawkins on the play.)
Stick’s next pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd in the middle of the field for 9 yards. The tackle was made by FS #5 Raven Greene. Stick on a designed run, get 2 yards before he’s tackled by DL #93 Andrew Ankrah and SS #44 Jordan Brown. First and Goal at the JMU 05.
RB #8 Bruce Anderson gets 2 yards before DL #94 Cornell Urquhart makes the tackle. Anderson rides a wave of defenders to the goal line for a Touchdown. He barely took a step, but wiggled over the top of the ‘Dukes’. Did his elbow touch the field? The Officials review the play, “The ruling on the field stands.” #36 Cam Pedersen makes the extra point, and with 6:40 left in the First Quarter, the ‘Bison’ take a 7 to 0 lead.

Cam Pedersen (#36) on the kickoff to the JMU 10. WR #19 David Eldridge return the ball 30 yards before he’s taken down by FS #3 Tre Dempsey and Pedersen. First and 10 at the JMU 40.

JMU RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs for 2 yards into LB #49 Nick DeLuca. QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is dropped by RB #29 Marcus Marshall. A low throw. DE #93 Jarrod Tuszka was credited with a QB Hurry. Schor’s pass is broken up by SS #5 Robbie Grimsley. (Intended for WR #19 David Eldridge.. almost.) #98 Harry O’Kelly punts the football 44 yards to the NDSU 14 where it’s downed.

NDSU RB #10 Lance Dunn turns the corner for 6 yards. LB #9 Kyre Hawkins made the tackle. DL #47 Darrious Carter sacks Stick for a loss of 6 yards. (No receivers open) Stick’s next pass is incomplete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd. (overthrown) #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 37 yards to the JMU 49. Safety #24 D’Angelo Amos returns it 37 yards before he’s taken down by Koonce. First and 10 at the NDSU 14.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is under-thrown to WR #7 Terrence Alls midfield. Schor’s next pass is overthrown to TE #88 Jonathan Kloosterman. This play was identical to Kloosterman’s scoring play in the Fargodome. (Dec 2016) Schor’s pass is dropped by WR #13 Ishmael Hyman. Schor is 1 of 6: he’s having a bad day. #91 Ethan Ratke’s 31-yard Field Goal is good. With 3:48 left in First Quarter, JMU gets on the scoreboard, 7 to 3.

Ethan Ratke (#91) with a 58 yards kickoff. RB #8 Bruce Anderson returns it 19 yards before he’s tackled by LB #3 Gus Little. First and 10 at the NDSU 26.

NDSU RB #10 Lance Dunn runs for 1 yard. His stiff-arm didn’t intimidate SS #44 Jordan Brown. OT #64 Colin Conner is called for Holding. First and 20 at the NDSU 16.
QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski for 2 yards. He’s pushed out-of-bounds by SS #44 Jordan Brown. Stick runs 5 yards on a designed/delayed run. The tackle was made by LB #52 Landan Word. Stick’s pass is incomplete to RB #8 Bruce Anderson. A QB Hurry by DL #74 Simeyon Robinson forced Stick to just throw it away, at Anderson’s feet. #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 36 yards. Safety #24 D’Angelo Amos returns it 9 yards before he’s tackled by LB #44 Matt Plank. First and 10 at the JMU 50.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton for 8 yards. He steps out-of-bounds. RB #1 Trai Sharp runs for 5 yards into DE #93 Jarrod Tuszka. First and 10 at the NDSU 37.
Sharp again, 6 yards into DE #94 Stanley Jones. RB #29 Marcus Marshall gets 1 yard before DE #91 Derrek Tuszka takes him down. QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton over the middle for 7 yards. SS #5 Robbie Grimsley tackled him in place. Schor pumps the ball a couple times, one too many, DE #91 Derrek Tuszka sacks him for a loss of 8 yards.


Second Quarter

RB #1 Trai Sharp runs toward the near slide-lines. CB #9 Marquise Bridges made the tackle after a gain of 5 yards. QB #17 Bryan Schor is forced to scramble; his pass ends up in the hands of LB #1 Chris Board. The officials rule Board dropped it. #91 Ethan Ratke attempts a 42-yard field goal: Wide Left. First and 10 at the NDSU 26.

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson runs into LB #11 Bryce Maginley and DL #15 Ron’Dell Carter. He was lucky to get 2 yards. Anderson improved to 3 yards against CB #6 Jimmy Moreland. Anderson almost broke it open. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski for 4 yards. WR #34 Justin Bethea brought him down a yard short. #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 37 yards. It’s downed: First and 10 at the JMU 28.

JMU RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs for 2 yards into DT #90 Grant Morgan and DT #63 Aaron Steidl. QB #17 Bryan Schor pulls the ball back and runs it himself for 5 yards. The tackle was made by DE #91 Derrek Tuszka. Schor’s pass is incomplete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton on the near sidelines. CB #9 Marquise Bridges had his hands on Stapleton but nothing was called. #98 Harry O’Kelly punts the football 38 yards. WR #20 Darrius Shepherd is tackled by LB #9 Kyre Hawkins and Safety #38 Mike Cobbs after a two yard return. (Shep’ couldn’t find a running lane.) First and 10 at the NDSU 29.

NDSU QB #12 Easton Stick rolls out half-way to the near sideline; the pass is complete to WR #4 Dimitri Williams for 14 yards. CB #6 Jimmy Moreland fought for it. First and 10 at the NDSU 43.
OG #75 Austin Kuhnert is called for a False Start. RB #10 Lance Dunn runs outside for 3 yards into DL #47 Darrious Carter. QB #12 Easton Stick is sacked for loss of 8 yards by DL #74 Simeyon Robinson. Stick fumbles the football and LB #3 Gus Little makes the recovery. Kuhnert let Robinson through. A bad drive for the kid from Sioux Falls. First and 10 at the NDSU 28.

JMU RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs for 3 yards. SS #5 Robbie Grimsley came up to make the tackle. Marshall runs around the ‘Bison’ defenders for 10 yards to the NDSU 15. DE #93 Jarrod Tuszka had to scramble backwards to make the tackle. First and 10 at the NDSU 15.
QB #17 Bryan Schor is pressured by DE #93 Jarrod Tuszka. Schor’s pass hits DT #99 Nate Tanguay in the hand; the ball drops to the top of Nate’s shoe. He picks it up and starts running. Tanguay returns it 11 yards before Center #73 Mac Patrick makes the tackle. JMU doesn’t like this and a scuffle breaks out. It looks like the NDSU bench clears, but it was the NDSU Offense taking the field. JMU OL #60 Jahee Jackson was called for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. The ‘Bison’ fans are going wild, and chanting, “Let’s Go Bison. Let’s Go Bison.” First and 10 at the NDSU 44.

NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. Second Quarter, JMU drive started at 4:40. 1st and 10 at NDSU15. QB #17 Bryan Schor pass is intercepted by DE #99 Nate Tanguay at the NDSU 18, Nate Tanguay returns it 11 yards to the NDSU 29 before hes tackled by Mac Patrick. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. Second Quarter, JMU drive started at 4:40. 1st and 10 at NDSU15. QB #17 Bryan Schor pass is intercepted by DE #99 Nate Tanguay at the NDSU 18, Nate Tanguay returns it 11 yards to the NDSU 29 before he’s tackled by Mac Patrick. -photo by Kevin Wolf

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson finds a hole and sheds tackles for 7 yards before LB #11 Bryce Maginley brings him down. Anderson runs 6 yards into FS #5 Raven Greene. CB #22 Rashad Robinson tackles RB #10 Lance Dunn in the backfield for a loss of 2 yards. Dunn gets nothing on the next snap thanks to DL #47 Darrious Carter. Dunn is called for a False Start. 3rd and 17 at the NDSU 50. QB #12 Easton Stick with a deep side-line pass to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for a Touchdown. DL #64 Mike Greene let Shepherd go by. Shepherd was wide open. Coach Klieman runs on the field pumping his arm as the Bison Offense comes off the field. He’s excited. And why not, his gamble paid off: catching Safety #44 Jordan Brown out of position. #36 Cam Pedersen kicks the extra point. With 4:14 left in the half, NDSU extends their lead 14 to 3.

NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. Second Quarter, 3rd and 17 at NDSU 50. QB #12 Easton Sticks pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for 50 yards and a TOUCHDOWN. clock 4:14. NDSU 14, JMU 3. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. Second Quarter, 3rd and 17 at NDSU 50. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for 50 yards and a TOUCHDOWN. clock 4:14. NDSU 14, JMU 3. -photo by Kevin Wolf

Cam Pedersen (#36) with a Touchback. First and 10 at the JMU 25.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to TE #88 Jonathan Kloosterman. The play was well blocked, and Kloosterman gets 10 yards before FS #3 Tre Dempsey takes him down. Schor is sacked for a loss of 11 yards. DE #95 Caleb Butler flushed Schor backwards as LB #42 Jabril Cox came in off a blindside Edge Blitz. Schor runs for 2 yards before LB #42 Jabril Cox grabs him again. Schor’s 27-yard pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton on the near sidelines. But CB #35 Josh Hayes forces the ball out. LB #42 Jabril Cox recovers the ball and runs 12 yards across the field before Schor makes the tackle. The ‘Duke’ bench is swearing up and down that Stapleton was down before the ball came out. The play is under review. “The call stands.” First and 10 at the JMU 41. DT #97 Quinn Alo is on the bench tapping his elbow, ‘To The Bone’.

NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. JMUs drive started with 4:14 remaining in the Second Quarter. 1st and 10 at JMU 35. QB #17 Bryan Schor is sacked for a loss of 11 yards by DL #95 Caleb Butler and LB #42 Jabril Cox. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. JMU’s drive started with 4:14 remaining in the Second Quarter. 1st and 10 at JMU 35. QB #17 Bryan Schor is sacked for a loss of 11 yards by DL #95 Caleb Butler and LB #42 Jabril Cox. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. Second Quarter, 3rd and 19 at JMU26. QB #17 Bryan Schors pass is complete to Riley Stapleton for 27 yards to the NDSU 47, but a fumble is forced by CB #35 Josh Hayes, recovered by LB #42 Jabril Cox, and returned 12 yards to the JMU 41. Schor made the tackle. Game Clock at 2:11 -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. Second Quarter, 3rd and 19 at JMU26. QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to Riley Stapleton for 27 yards to the NDSU 47, but a fumble is forced by CB #35 Josh Hayes, recovered by LB #42 Jabril Cox, and returned 12 yards to the JMU 41. Schor made the tackle. Game Clock at 2:11 -photo by Kevin Wolf

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson up the middle: nowhere; into DL #47 Darrious Carter and CB #6 Jimmy Moreland. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is incomplete to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski. It looked like CB #6 Jimmy Moreland held him. Coach Klieman isn’t happy with the call. QB #12 Easton Stick can’t find a receiver, so he takes off running behind some fine blocking and gets 17 yards before jumping out-of-bounds. First and 10 at the JMU 24.
RB #10 Lance Dunn is tackled for a loss of 1 yard by DL #47 Darrious Carter. NDSU calls a Timeout with 1:11 left in the half. Stick’s pass is complete to WR #4 Dimitri Williams on the far sideline. LB #9 Kyre Hawkins and CB #6 Jimmy Moreland push him out-of-bounds after a gain of 6 yards. Stick’s next pass is complete to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for 4 yards. The tackle was made by CB #22 Rashad Robinson. NDSU called a Timeout with 43 seconds left in the half. JMU calls a Timeout. Stick lines up and tries to get the ‘Dukes’ to jump. NDSU calls another Timeout. #36 Cam Pedersen makes a 32-yard Field Goal. With 39 seconds left in the half NDSU leads 17 to 3.

Cam Pedersen (#36) on the kickoff, boots the football 61 yards. RB #29 Marcus Marshall returns it 22 yards before he’s tackled by SS #5 Robbie Grimsley. First and 10 at the JMU 26.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton for 28 yards going out-of-bounds. CB #35 Josh Hayes was called for Pass Interference. Coach Mike Houston declines it. First and 10 at the NDSU 46.
Schor to Stapleton again for 9 yards. Schor’s next pass finds WR #7 Terrence Alls down the middle of the field for 17 yards. SS #5 Robbie Grimsley made the tackle. Schor is running the Hurry Up offense. His next pass is incomplete to WR #19 David Eldridge, but CB #35 Josh Hayes is too aggressive and was tackling Eldridge before the ball got there: Pass Interference. First and Goal at the NDSU 05.
James Madison calls a Timeout. QB #17 Bryan Schor is about to run a play when JMU calls another timeout. Coach Mike Houston must have thought better of it. #91 Ethan Ratke makes a 21-yard Field Goal with 3 seconds left in the half. NDSU still leads 17 to 6.

Ethan Ratke (#91) on the ensuing kickoff: 48 yards. WR #4 Dimitri Williams returns it 14 yards before he’s tackled by Safety #38 Mike Cobbs. End of the half.


Third Quarter

Ethan Ratke (#91) kicks off the second half with a Touchback.

NDSU RB #10 Lance Dunn runs power into LB #49 Brandon Hereford, which yields four yards. RB #30 Seth Wilson behind some great blocks for 8 yards; tackled by FS #5 Raven Greene. (Carson Wentz’s, tweet is read on air. See below.) First and 10 at the NDSU 37.
QB #12 Easton Stick is sacked by DL #74 Simeyon Robinson (from the blindside) for a loss of 8 yards. RB #10 Lance Dunn is hit hard by LB #49 Brandon Hereford- a gain of one. Stick’s pass is incomplete to RB #10 Lance Dunn. A QB Hurry is credited to DL #93 Andrew Ankrah. #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 36 yards. Safety #24 D’Angelo Amos returns it 33 yards behind CB #6 Jimmy Moreland’s block. LB #45 Levi Jordheim made the tackle. First and 10 at the NDSU 33.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is dropped by RB #29 Marcus Marshall. Schor had all the time in the world and Marshall was wide open. Schor’s next pass is complete to WR #7 Terrence Alls for 12 yards. FS #3 Tre Dempsey had to come up to made a stop. First and 10 at the NDSU 21. Schor keeps the ball but can’t get over DE #91 Derrek Tuszka- 2 yards. RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs 3 yards into DT #69 Blake Williams. Schor jags past DE #93 Jarrod Tuszka to the NDSU 5. SS #5 Robbie Grimsley saves a touchdown with the tackle. First and Goal at the NDSU 05.
RB #29 Marcus Marshall drives LB #1 Chris Board to the one. Schor overthrows WR #10 Riley Stapleton in the endzone. RB #29 Marcus Marshall pushes the ‘Bison’ D-line back for a Touchdown. #91 Ethan Ratke kicks the Extra Point. With 9:26 left in the Third Quarter, JMU closes the gap, but NDSU leads 17 to 13.

Ethan Ratke (#91) on the kickoff for 63 yards. RB #8 Bruce Anderson returns the ball 18 yards before he’s tackled by LB #36 Robert Carter Jr. First and 10 at the NDSU 20.

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson runs into LB #9 Kyre Hawkins after one. QB #12 Easton Stick, under pressure, runs for his life and turns a possible 10-yard sack into a 10 yard gain. DL #93 Andrew Ankrah made the tackle. First and 10 at the NDSU 31.
RB #30 Seth Wilson loses a 1 yard as he’s chased out-of-bounds by SS #44 Jordan Brown. OT #68 Zack J. Johnson is called for a Block Below The Waist. First and 25 at the NDSU 16.
QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass zips through WR #4 Dimitri Williams’ hands. Stick runs 6 yards into LB #9 Kyre Hawkins. Stick overthrows WR #16 RJ Urzendowski, RJ tips the ball and WR #4 Dimitri Williams slides to make a catch. Nope, it hits the ground. NDSU back-up Punter #22 Garret Wegner with a 26-yard kick. It’s downed, First and 10 at the NDSU 48.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton for 12 yards. Tackled in place by CB #35 Josh Hayes. First and 10 at the NDSU 36.
QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is complete to WR #10 Riley Stapleton for 16 yards over the middle. He’s tackled by CB #9 Marquise Bridges. First and 10 at the NDSU 20. Schor’s next pass is complete to WR #13 Ishmael Hyman for no gain- tackled at the line by SS #5 Robbie Grimsley. Schor’s pass is intercepted at the endzone by CB #9 Marquise Bridges. Intended for WR #13 Ishmael Hyman, Bridges jumped the route. (Pointing to his elbow, ‘To The Bone.’) First and 10 at the NDSU 03.

NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. Third Quarter, 2nd and 10 at NDSU 20. QB #17 Bryan Schors pass is intercepted by CB #09 Marquise Bridges at the NDSU 03. WR #13 Ishmael Hyman made the tackle. Game Clock at 5:26. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. Third Quarter, 2nd and 10 at NDSU 20. QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is intercepted by CB #09 Marquise Bridges at the NDSU 03. WR #13 Ishmael Hyman made the tackle. Game Clock at 5:26. -photo by Kevin Wolf

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson pushes the D-line 3 yards before he’s stopped by LB #11 Bryce Maginley. Anderson runs straight for 4 yards into LB #49 Brandon Hereford. CB #22 Rashad Robinson is injured on the play- he walks off the field. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is complete to TE #87 Connor Wentz, open in hole in the ‘Dukes’ coverage. A 12 yard gain; tackle made by WR #34 Justin Bethea and LB #9 Kyre Hawkins. First and 10 at the NDSU 22.
QB #12 Easton Stick, under pressure tosses the ball to TE #82 Ben Ellefson for 3 yards, where he’s tackled by FS #5 Raven Greene. RB #10 Lance Dunn is tripped up by CB #6 Jimmy Moreland after two yards. Stick, almost sacked, runs only one yard before LB #9 Kyre Hawkins makes the tackle. Safety #44 Jordan Brown is on the ground with cramps. #19 Jackson Koonce punts the ball 27 yards. Almost blocked, as Moreland runs past Koonce, scared that he might rough the punter? A Fair Catch is called by Safety #24 D’Angelo Amos. The punting game for NDSU is dismal.

JMU RB #1 Trai Sharp runs for 4 yards before DE #91 Derrek Tuszka grabs him. QB #17 Bryan Schor under-throws WR #10 Riley Stapleton. (bad route?) DE #91 Derrek Tuszka sacks Schor for loss of 7 yards. (Off a three man rush) #98 Harry O’Kelly punts the ball 44 yards, where it’s downed. First and 10 at the NDSU 14.

NDSU QB #12 Easton Stick twists for 1 yard before he’s unwound by DL #74 Simeyon Robinson.


Fourth Quarter

RB #8 Bruce Anderson leaps over a defender and gets 10 yards before he’s tackled by DL #94 Cornell Urquhart. Anderson runs through the ‘Dukes’ defense for 7 yards before LB #49 Brandon Hereford takes him down. Anderson gets 2 yards before LB #9 Kyre Hawkins gets to him. RB #10 Lance Dunn falls forward 5 yards. Hawkins made the stop again. First and 10 at the NDSU 39.
Dunn runs for 2 yards into DL #93 Andrew Ankrah. QB #12 Easton Stick throws it away (well over WR #4 Dimitri Williams’ head.) Stick’s next pass is to WR #16 RJ Urzendowski. Almost intercepted by CB #6 Jimmy Moreland. RJ made sure it didn’t stay in Jimmy’s hands. #19 Jackson Koonce with a 37-yard punt. Plenty of coverage, but Safety #24 D’Angelo Amos still managed to return it 8 yards before he’s run out-of-bounds by LB #42 Jabril Cox. First and 10 at the JMU 30.

JMU QB #17 Bryan Schor’s pass is incomplete to WR #19 David Eldridge. CB #9 Marquise Bridges striped it out of his hands. The ruling on the field was an incomplete forward pass rather than a fumble. Schor’s next pass is complete to WR #19 David Eldridge in the near sidelines; he steps out-of-bounds. Schor, out of the shotgun on a delay run, gets 2 yards as LB #49 Nick DeLuca races up to make the stop. First and 10 at the JMU 41.
QB #17 Bryan Schor is tackled for a loss of 2 yards by LB #1 Chris Board and DT #63 Aaron Steidl. Bison defenders all along the line keeping him from breaking free. Schor rolls out and throws a perfect pass to a wide open WR #7 Terrence Alls, with a free path to the endzone, drops the ball. LB #1 Chris Board on a blitz grabs Schor, who breaks free, but LB #49 Nick DeLuca is right there to take Bryan down for loss of 7 yards. #98 Harry O’Kelly with a 34-yard ‘Rugby’ punt. A Fair Catch is called by WR #20 Darrius Shepherd. First and 10 at the NDSU 34.

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson off a delay hand-off for 3 yards into DL #47 Darrious Carter. Anderson slips a tackle for 5 yards into FS #5 Raven Greene. OL #64 Colin Conner limps off the field. QB #12 Easton Stick with a quick dart to WR #20 Darrius Shepherd for 5 yards. First and 10 at the NDSU 47.
RB #10 Lance Dunn runs a sweep for 6 yards into LB #52 Landan Word. Dunn finds a hole down the far sideline for 21 yards. FS #5 Raven Greene pushed him out-of-bounds. First and 10 at the JMU 26.
Dunn runs for 3 yards. Anderson runs for 2 yards. QB #12 Easton Stick’s pass is incomplete to TE #87 Connor Wentz. The throw was too late, into too much traffic, and the pass was broken up by LB #9 Kyre Hawkins. #36 Cam Pedersen’s 38-yard Field Goal attempt is blocked DL #74 Simeyon Robinson. A low kick. It was recovered by Pedersen. First and 10 at the JMU 27.

JMU RB #29 Marcus Marshall runs for 2 yards. DE #95 Caleb Butler made the tackle. QB #17 Bryan Schor runs out of a possible sack, then runs around the back field with a couple pump fakes, which holds the defenders in place. A hole opens up and Schor runs through it for 17 yards. DE #95 Caleb Butler and LB #49 Nick DeLuca finally come up to make the tackle. First and 10 at the JMU 46.
Schor overthrows WR #10 Riley Stapleton on far sidelines. Schor can’t escape DE #94 Stanley Jones and DT #53 Cole Karcz this time. One yard gain. Schor, under pressure, throws short to WR #13 Ishmael Hyman. #98 Harry O’Kelly runs a punt fake for 24 yards. LB #55 Aaron Mercadel made the tackle. Great play with great blocking. The ‘Bison’ bite hard on it.
QB #17 Bryan Schor runs a QB Draw for 10 yards. First and 10 at the NDSU 19.
RB #29 Marcus Marshall is stopped by LB #1 Chris Board and CB #9 Marquise Bridges after a one-yard run. Schor’s pass loses 2 yards to RB #29 Marcus Marshall as LB #1 Chris Board takes him down behind the line. James Madison calls a Timeout with 1:19 left in the game.
A QB Hurry by DE #91 Derrek Tuszka, chasing Schor all over the back-field. Schor shakes off sacks and finally throws the ball away, over the head of TE #88 Jonathan Kloosterman on the far sidelines. 4th and 11 at the NDSU 20. LT #70 Aaron Stinnie is called for a False Start. Stinnie was reacting to CB #9 Marquise Bridges’ Corner Blitz, and I’m sure the loud ‘Bison’ fans had more than a little to do with it. NDSU Head Coach Chris Klieman calls a Timeout with 1:10 left in the game. Another QB Hurry, this time by LB #42 Jabril Cox causes Schor to start running in the backfield. He finally heaves the football in an arc to the endzone. It’s a jump ball, that is batted down by FS #3 Tre Dempsey. JMU’s WR #10 Riley Stapleton went up for it. The Green and Gold in the crowd go crazy. Those in Blue.. not so much. It’s a good thing NDSU’s LB #1 Chris Board didn’t actually catch that ball, as it’s now First and 10 at the NDSU 25, rather than at the 1.

NDSU RB #8 Bruce Anderson runs for no gain. DL #93 Andrew Ankrah and LB #11 Bryce Maginley made the tackle. JMU Head Coach Mike Houston calls a Timeout with 54 seconds left in the game. Stick runs up the middle for 2 yards before he’s tackled by DL #74 Simeyon Robinson. JMU with another Timeout. 50 seconds left. Stick runs for 7 yards. DL #94 Cornell Urquhart made the tackle. Fourth and 1 at the NDSU 34. NDSU Coach Klieman calls a Timeout with Four seconds left on the clock. ESPN says they can take a Safety. Klieman and Stick have other plans. Klieman calls another Timeout, just to make sure Easton knows what to do.
QB #12 Easton Stick takes the snap and starts running backwards, then toward the far sidelines. The instant the clock hits zero he drops to his knee. The game is over. The ‘Bison’ break The Dukes’ string of 26 straight victories.
North Dakota State defeats James Madison 17 to 13 for the NCAA 2017 FCS National Championship.

The NDSU coaches hug it out on the sidelines, and the ‘Bison’ fans stream down to the field to celebrate their 6th National Title in the last 7 seasons.

Quint Kessenich (ESPN) Interviews Chris Klieman (NDSU) on the field after the game.
Quint: What made the difference?
Chris: Our character and our perseverance. We have a bunch of warriors and a bunch of winners in that locker room. And they wanted to leave a legacy today, and they left a legacy for the 2017 ‘Bison’. What a great group of guys; I’m so proud of them.
Quint: How would you best describe your red zone defense?
Chris: It’s phenomenal. Field Goals don’t beat you. Field Goals don’t beat you. That’s what we try to do. I’m so proud of the guys, they busted their tails.
Quint: What’s this mean?
Chris: That we won a sixth National Championship in seven years. Nobody’s done that before.


Post Game Notes

In someways this game was a mirror image of last year’s semi-final. Like NDSU, JMU couldn’t get their offense going. Too many dropped passes, turnovers, and just bad calls against the ‘Dukes’. In other ways this game was like the 2016 Western Illinois game. NDSU got some lucky breaks, scored some points in the first half, and then held on; going scoreless in the second half.
Easton Stick was named Most Outstanding Player. Okay, but it was the Bison Defensive that won this game. The MVP could have been Nate Tanguay with his interception, or Marquise Bridges with his interception. Either could have been the Play-of-the-Game. Easton Stick was only 13 of 22 (59.1%) with 1 Touchdown. But it was a beauty: a 50-yard deep ball to Darrius Shepherd for a TD. By contrast Bryan Schor had a dismal day, he was 14 of 32 (43.8%) with 2 Interceptions and 4 Sacks. Punter Harry O’Kelly was JMU’s second best runner gaining 24 yards off that fake.

NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. NDSU wins their sixth National Football title in seven years. QB #12 Easton Stick was named Most Outstanding Player of the game. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. NDSU wins their sixth National Football title in seven years. QB #12 Easton Stick was named ‘Most Outstanding Player’ of the game. -photo by Kevin Wolf

The officials let the boys play. The game was loosely called. NDSU had no reason to complain. JMU had a couple calls that hurt them bad. But that’s football. The ‘Dukes’ caused more harm to themselves than the officiating crew.

  • Referee: Mike Vandervale
  • Umpire: Mark Warner
  • Linesman: Bret Bascue
  • Line Judge: Matt Mount
  • Back Judge: T.J. Riley
  • Field Judge: Danny Hoeft
  • Side Judge: Charlie Hurd

At Half-Time NDSU Coach, Chris Klieman was concerned about turnovers, the short field, and giving up big plays. JMU Coach, Mike Houston was concerned about winning one-on-one match-ups on the outside. Was this why he didn’t take a shot at the endzone with 6 seconds left in the half?

JMU Special Teams dominated this game, especially kickoff and punt returns. The ‘Dukes’ had returns of 37, 30, 20, plus 50 yards on three other punts. Compared to NDSU’s: 19, 18, 14, and 2 yard returns. This was offset by at least four dropped passes. JMU’s Harry O’Kelly had five more yards than Jackson Koonce and 14 yards more then back-up punter #22 Garret Wegner. Field position for NDSU was difficult all day long. It didn’t help when O’Kelly ran a fake punt for 24 yards on a 4th and 9. It was his third successful fake punt this year. Why did the ‘Bison’ bite so hard on it?

Neither team was doing much on offensive. Both defenses were brutal. NDSU was able to throw some in the first half, and run some in the second half, but the yardage for both teams was way off their seasonal averages. NDSU won the third down stat, but 6/17 is nothing to brag about. Time of Possession definitely went NDSU’s way. They held the ball for 37:41 minutes. This and the turnovers made up for poor special team play (field position) and penalty yardage.

To The Bone
While watching the game, I noticed the ‘Bison’ players were patting their elbows after big plays. I didn’t know the meaning of this? Much later I learned it was a JMU tradition. The ‘Bison’ were taunting them!
JMU Offense Brings ‘To the Bone’ Celebration to the Fans.

WR RJ Urzendowski and LS James Fisher finished this season having played all 60 games in the past four seasons. LB Nick DeLuca played 59. FS Tre Dempsey, TE Jeff Illies and TE Connor Wentz played 58. DL Grant Morgan had 57. OL Austin Kuhnert and DE Nate Tanguay played in 55 games. That’s a lot of football.


Game Summary

The NDSU Bison play the James Madison Dukes for the NCAA 2017 FCS National Championship in Frisco, TX. The Dukes are playing for their second FCS National Championship in a row. The Bison are playing for their sixth, and playing for revenge: after JMU beat NDSU in the Semi-finals last season. JMU won the coin toss and elect to receive.

First Quarter
The NDSU defense gets a 3-and-out, as does JMU, however on the punt Bryce Maginley roughs Koonce for 15-yards and a Bison first down. Easton Stick moves the team down to the 5 yard line with his arm and legs. Bruce Anderson wiggles over a bed of players for a Touchdown. It looked suspicious but I’ll take it.
The teams swap 3-and-outs. Field position plagues the Bison all day long.
D’Angelo Amos returns Koonce’s punt 37 yards to the NDSU 14. The Dukes are plagued by dropped passes all day; they settle for a Field Goal.
A Holding penalty stalls the Bison at their 23.
JMU runs, and Schor passes as the Duke move into Bison territory. Derrek Tuszka gets a 8-yard sack. The Dukes get no closer and Ethan Ratke misses a 42-yard field goal.

Second Quarter
Bison kick on 4th and 1 at NDSU 35.
The Dukes’ offense doesn’t do much better.
Stick is sacked and fumbles. Gus Little recovers at the NDSU 28. Three plays later Nate Tanguay intercepts a deflected pass and returns it 11 yards to the NDSU 29. Jahee Jackson throws a punch and now we’re at the 44. I’m surprised they didn’t call NDSU too, as the bench cleared. But the coaches got them under control in a hurry. Maybe the refs thought we were switching to offense. Four runs, a false start, and then Stick throws a 50-yard Touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd, who beat his coverage, wide open, and out-runs the safety.
Schor is sacked for loss of 11 yards by Caleb Butler and Jabril Cox. Schor hits Riley Stapleton for 27 yards, but Josh Hayes forces a fumble that is recovered by NDSU Jabril Cox. On replay it’s questionable whether Stapleton is down before the ball comes out, but again I’ll take it.
Stick runs and throws before the drive stalls at the JMU 15. Cam Pedersen makes a 32-yard field goal.
Schor gets some good throws himself, and JMU is down to the NDSU 5 yard line. With only 6 seconds left, JUM goes for the easy Field Goal. Good from 21 yards.

Third Quarter
JMU head coach Mike Houston talked/yelled at Dukes in the locker room? They would dominate this half.
NDSU got 5 yards on the first drive of the half and then stalled. D’Angelo Amos took the punt 33 yards to the NDSU 33.
Schor and Marcus Marshall ran it rest of the way.
Stick ran for a First Down, but then the Bison drive stalled with personal fouls and incomplete passes.
Schor didn’t have that problem with three passes to the NDSU 20. His next pass found Marquise Bridges at the NDSU 03. This was probably the turning point of the game. NDSU got it out to the 28 before punting.
Derrek Tuszka sacked Schor for a 7-yard loss; stalling their drive at the JMU 42.

Fourth Quarter
Stick, Anderson, Lance Dunn move the ball to the NDSU 41 before the drive stalls with two incomplete passes.
Schor starts moving the ball for JMU with his legs and arm. He’s sacked by Nick DeLuca for 7 yards. The Dukes’ drive stalls at the JMU 32.
NDSU is able to move the ball on the ground. Dunn has a 21-yard run. The Bison move to the JMU 21. Pedersen’s field goal attempt is blocked. He kicked it too low and Simeyon Robinson got his hand on it. The game was a real nail biter.
Schor goes back to running, as his receivers can’t hold on to the ball. The Bison stop the Dukes at the JMU 47. Harry O’Kelly, to punt, but runs the fake instead for 24 yards. The Duke fans smell victory. It looks like it too, as Schor runs for another First Down. Tuszka hurries Schor, which causes and incompletion to Jonathan Kloosterman. Aaron Stinnie is called for a False Start. Caused by our NDSU fans in Frisco? 4th and 16 at NDSU 25 with 70 seconds left in the game. The NDSU Linebackers: Nick Deluca and Jabril Cox are chasing Schor around the backfield. Schor plants his feet and gets the pass off as he’s hit. The ball arcs to the endzone. A jump ball, half-a-dozen Bison and Dukes go up for it. The Bison bat it down.
Stick and Anderson can’t get a first down. JMU burns up all it’s Timeouts. It’s 4th and 1 at NDSU 34. NDSU calls Timeout twice, with 4 seconds left. Stick in the shotgun takes the snap and runs backwards 18-yards until time expires. He takes a knee, and throws the football up in the air. The NDSU Bison have won their 6th FCS National Championship in the last 7 years: 17 to 13. The Bison fans storm the field.

NDSU vs JMU Scoring Summary, 1/6/2018 FCS National Championship
Qtr Time Team Scoring Play Plays Yards TOP NDSU JMU
1st 6:40 NDSU Bruce Anderson 3-yard run 11 66 6:30 7 0
1st 3:48 JMU Ethan Ratke 31-yard field goal 4 0 0:15 7 3
2nd 4:14 NDSU Darrius Shepherd 50-yard pass 5 71 3:16 14 3
2nd 0:39 NDSU Cam Pedersen 32-yard field goal 7 38 1:32 17 3
2nd 0:03 JMU Ethan Ratke 21-yard field goal 4 69 0:28 17 6
3rd 9:26 JMU Marcus Marshall 1-yard run 8 33 2:41 17 13

Pre-game Quotes

James Madison head coach, Mike Houston
It’s a tremendous honor to be here representing James Madison University and the CAA. We could not be more thrilled for the opportunity to be back in Frisco, Texas, and have the opportunity compete for a third national title for James Madison University football.
I think it’s a situation.. we have the two best teams in the country matched up. I think it’s one where it’s going to be a pretty intense, heated ball game. I’m sure.. there is starting to become a little bit of a rivalry between the two schools.
(NDSU) They are a 5.5-point favorite right now. Obviously, they have the respect of the entire country, but I can promise you our kids are confident and motivated and are going to be ready to play tomorrow.. Obviously there are people out there that don’t respect us that much. They don’t think we are good enough to be here.. That’s about as disrespectful as you can get. Don’t think our kids didn’t know it and don’t think that didn’t have a little bit to do with kind of the determination that they took to field with. Last time I checked we are underdogs right now going into the National Championship game, which is fine with us. Excited about a return trip to Frisco. Obviously it was a great experience for us last year and we have a tough test in front of us. Going into the tournament they (NDSU) were seeded No. 2. I think the playoff committee got it right by having the top teams come out of each bracket to face off January sixth.
I’ve had the opportunity for the past two years to coach the best quarterback to ever play at James Madison University, and we’ve got one more game together. I think we’ve all been blessed to have a player of this caliber on our team, in our program and for our fans to be able to watch lead our team for the last two years. (on QB Bryan Schor) He’s the record holder in every major offensive category in JMU history and probably the winningest quarterback in the history of the program. He is as fine of a young man as I’ve ever coached.
This is one of things that I told the search committee when I interviewed at JMU: We would field a top-end defensive unit because that is how I believe winning programs are built. Defense wins championships.
(Easton Stick) He’s a big, strong and talented player that has done a great job at throwing the football this year and has not turned the ball over much. He’s also done a great job at running the ball; at 221 pounds, he’s a physical runner. We are going to have to do a great job with our eyes and our discipline in the secondary.
They’re going to line up with two and three tight ends, they’re going to line up in three-back sets, they’re going to line up unbalanced. They’re not going to try to spread us out like many of the teams have tried to do. They’re going to try to line up, come right at us and run over top of us. They are such a downhill, attack-you running team. They really thrive off the play-action passes and taking big shots down the field. (Easton Stick) is a little bit of a bully runner, he’s going to try to run you over, so we need to be very physical tackling him. One of the big keys Saturday will be, “Can we slow him down?”
I feel like our fan base has spoken very loudly and our administration has been very pleased with the amount of exposure and the amount of enthusiasm behind the playoff runs of the last two years. (On staying in FCS) You have a chance to play on a national stage, to be on national television (ESPN2) in the championship game against the second-ranked team in the country. The spotlight’s (on) JMU.. right there, that’s something that you can’t buy in marketing dollars.. I just think that’s just not only great exposure for our football program, for recruiting or whatever else, but it’s also great exposure for our institution. I know that we saw a drastic increase in the number of applications after last year’s championship run, and I would anticipate you’d see the same thing this year. It’s good for everybody. You look at what some of the smaller bowl games, what that looks like, and I just think our alumni and fan base, they prefer this right here, right now. No disrespect to any other level or anything else, but I think this is pretty special, what we have going on.
James Madison quarterback, Bryan Schor
It probably changed my life when he (Mike Houston) came in front of us and said he was going to trust us and he wanted us to trust him. It’s a special thing in college football to get with your coach and know you can look him in the eye and when he says something to you it’s the real thing. He speaks with integrity. When I raise my kids and how I live my life, what I say is going to be what I mean. That’s something he’s taught me that I’ll take on the rest of my life.
I’d be lying if I said I came to JMU and envisioned going to Frisco twice. There’s a lot of things I’ll miss, but I love when we score and to look up and see the streamers fly.
James Madison wide receiver, John Miller
It’s going to be two great teams going up against each other, and that’s how we wanted it. We wanted to see them in the championship.
James Madison tailback, Marcus Marshall
Our coach tells us every week, “This is the biggest game of the year,” no matter what team we’re playing, what game it is. With it being the (FCS National Championship), there’s a lot on the line, but we’ve worked to get this far. There’s no point in adding extra pressure now. It’s just going out there and approaching the same way we always do.
James Madison safety, Jordan Brown
Coming into Saturday’s game is going to be a challenge. I think we’re ready for it. The goal is to try and get as many turnovers as we can. As soon as the first one comes, we know that can be the game changer. There’s always a chance he (Easton Stick) could hold the ball. Even on bootlegs where you’re covering the pass, he could have a chance to run out and take that first down with no one guarding him. Or, anytime we’re in man coverage he could be free.
James Madison safety, Raven Greene
It really speaks volumes as far as the numbers as to how good of a team defense we play. Their numbers are what they are — they’re pretty amazing and all that — but not everybody sees how the defensive line has impacted it and the linebackers being able to make their hits, because stopping the run opens up the pass.
James Madison defensive lineman, Andrew Ankrah
The demeanor of the team is the same as last year. The experience of the National Championship last year helped us come out and compete this year.. I feel like a lot of guys up here can attest to the adversity that we have faced. There has been so much adversity that has made us so much stronger as a team. The senior class is hungry to go out and get the job done.
NDSU head coach, Chris Klieman
There’s no one that deserves the opportunity to play in a National Championship game more than Easton Stick.
We’ve seen a lot of good defenses in our league and these guys are as good as any we have faced. We are going to have to have good schemes and guys are going to have to get pass press coverage.
NDSU running back, Bruce Anderson
Coach always preaches: next man up. You’ve got to ready up. You can’t dwell on it. You can’t take a step back. You’ve got to keep going with it and that’s what we do to play championship football. It helped me to grow up fast and I had to be more of a leader.
NDSU linebacker, Nick DeLuca
It is a legacy. Like the guys who came before us at the foundation and laid the tradition for us, we were excited to get back here.. To be out there at our walkthrough (on Friday); to see 200, 300 former players be around, that is what makes this place so special. It is not just the past six or seven years, it’s been going on for a long time.. It is an expectation to get back to this game and the National Championship. We take that on as a responsibility, and it is something we have as a goal each year..
NDSU safety, Tre Dempsey
They beat us last year, and I am looking to take our title back.
I love what (Former NDSU) players pass down to us, it’s been like this for years.
NDSU Former Quarterback, Carson Wentz tweets about Easton Stick
Love this dude to death! Pumped for him and proud of him! Gonna be a fun one today! Be sure to check it out at noon to see a heck of a football game. Sidenote: that mustache is gnarly.

Post-game Quotes

James Madison head coach, Mike Houston
That’s a disappointing end to an absolutely phenomenal season. They made the plays and we made too many mistakes. That’s what it boiled down to. I think both teams would say this is the most physical game they’ve played in all year.
I just felt like this team had what it took to beat that North Dakota State team. If somebody would’ve put a mic in front of me at the half I would’ve told them we were winning the ballgame. They made the plays when they had to and we didn’t. That’s what it came down to … the plays were there.
I told (the Dukes at halftime) we were going to win the football game and I firmly believed that. I promise you, everybody in that locker room thought we were going to. Just the feeling we had going into the half. They had (only) 53 yards rushing in the first half. We had a busted coverage to give them a touchdown. We made a couple of mistakes we don’t typically make. We felt like that we shouldn’t have been in the position we were at the half. 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.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have some pretty good defenses over the years.. (This is) the best defensive unit in James Madison University history.
This group has went out and played their hearts out every single weekend and represented James Madison in a first-class manner on and off the field. This group of seniors will not be forgotten. They’re just a special, special group of young men and I’m fortunate to be their coach.
We had our opportunities.. I think our punt return team did a good job today of getting on the coverage guys, holding them up, giving D’Angelo (Amos) some room. I think he did a good job with his vision, just seeing the cuts and seeing where the return was, and getting us solid field position. So excited to have him coming back for the future.
We worked that all week. We felt like we’d get that look from them. As we worked that fake for the last couple of weeks, we saw it on the first punt that it was there. I wanted to wait for the right time because you only get one chance at it. (on Harry O’Kelly’s fake punt.)
James Madison quarterback, Bryan Schor
We felt confident. We felt that if we went out there in the second half and continued to do those things, we’d be successful.
It obviously gave us a lot of life. We’ve got a special guy back there kicking the ball, and I look forward to watching him in the future as well. (on Harry O’Kelly’s fake punt.)
They (NDSU) did a good job in coverage, and on fourth down like that, I just tried to give our guys an opportunity. (on his Hail Mary pass at the end of the game.)
I’ve cherished these last four years. What I love about my teammates this year is something that I’ve loved since I got to JMU. It’s a special community there. Being on campus and being around the students is special. But inside that locker room we have something that no one else in the country has. The camaraderie, the brotherhood, the family that we have in there. Ending my career, the hardest thing is not have that piece anymore. I know I’ll have these guys the rest of my life.
James Madison linebacker, Kyre Hawkins
I would definitely say that this is the best defense I have ever been a part of.. Not just statistically but what we bring to the field and how we come out and play together. We never have to guess what the guy next to us is doing and that he has our back.
The mistakes were uncharacteristic, but we stuck together. We stuck to our guns and kept pushing because we’re a family and that’s what we do. We kept giving it our all, we gave it our all to the last second.
James Madison offensive tackle, Aaron Stinnie
Hats off to North Dakota State. They came out with a really good scheme. They had a lot of … blitzes, and different (looks). It was a lot to try to pick up on.
James Madison defensive lineman, Simeyon Robinson
The defense, we were trying to make something happen, get the ball back in our offense’s hands, set the tone coming out in the second half.. Those are big sacks, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. They created opportunities for all of us, but we just came up short. (on his sack fumble of Easton Stick)
James Madison defensive tackle, Simeyon Robinson
Definitely the best defense I’ve ever played with. We’re a family out there.
I needed to block the field goal. I needed to block the field goal for the offense to get back on the field and have the opportunity to score. That was my mindset. That was everybody else’s mindset, block the field goal.
NDSU head coach, Chris Klieman
This is frickin’ unbelievable! Six national championships in seven years? With all the injuries and adversity we’ve had. It isn’t supposed to happen.
We always talk about leaving a legacy. How are you going to be remembered?. I’m pinching myself. … Character wins games and our guys have unbelievable character.. The 2017 Bison are going to be remembered by a group of guys who had great resolve, smacked adversity right in the face when Murphy (adversity) hit us, and lo and behold, became National Champions for the sixth time in seven years.
(Preparing for the game) Yeah, you guys will be shocked about this, but I’m going to credit Craig Bohl on that. In 2011, it was my first attempt at it.. I was just a defensive backs coach and Craig got us all together and said, “You don’t go into this game to compete in it. You go to the game to win it. If not, you’re never going to be remembered.” I’ll never forget that staff meeting and him talking to us and saying, “You do not go and just be a participant. We all know that but you go and win it.” You ask our players, we grind those guys through those three weeks. (before the championship game.) Everybody else is back home (on Christmas break- not NDSU) But that’s because we have an administration that allows us to do that. When we get through the semifinal game, we go, OK, winter camp, here we go. Those guys (Bison players) know it’s going to be walkthrough after walkthrough after walkthrough and meeting after meeting after meeting. That’s how you hold JMU to 30 rushes for 93 yards and 14 of 32 throwing in the game. It’s because those guys are tired of coach Entz going through rep after rep after rep. We knew what they were going to do.
When (NDSU offensive coordinator, Courney) Messingham got the job (our inner circle of friends jokingly told Klieman and Messingham), “hey, they won five titles.. (try) not to screw it up. What a great job he did all season long. To share that with Courtney and I’m friends with a lot of our staff friends … to share it with a childhood friend is pretty special. (they played little league baseball together in Waterloo, Iowa.)
You have to hold your cards. I didn’t want to say anything about Ty (Brooks) because Ty is one of the most electric players in FCS. If you have to prepare for Ty Brooks, holy mackerel. If you knew Ty Brooks was out—Mike (Houston) knows that. Mike gets it.. I really didn’t know on (CB Jaylaan) Wimbush. He tried to go. I think he played a few plays and just couldn’t go. (CB) Jalen (Alison), we were trying to go all the way through this week hoping he’d have an opportunity, and he warmed up and just couldn’t do it.
I say this all the time: field goals aren’t going to beat you, especially in the style of play that college football has become. To limit that (JMU) offense to 13 points is pretty remarkable.
That was a great football game between two great teams, and more importantly, two great programs. A lot of institutions can have a great team here and there. But those are two great programs, and what a difference between having a great team and a great program. It (6 Championships) is unbelievably hard.. Bison Pride and NDSU, we always talk; we are different. And if I could tell you why, I would retire and make a million dollars selling it. But I can’t tell you. It’s hard, but it’s just different. It’s special.
The next man up has an opportunity, like Marquise. Do you think (cornerback) Marquise Bridges thought he was going to be here, on a podium with his name in front of him? He was wide receiver last year at this time. Now he is starting in a National Championship game. (cornerback) Josh Hayes is a true freshman that never started a game. And he started a National Championship game. That’s North Dakota State; that’s Bison pride. We found a way to play red zone defense, which has been a staple for us. (on Bridge’s interception.)
(Easton Stick) He’s right. He and I went back and forth on what to do with that four seconds. He just goes, “Coach, don’t worry. There will be no time left on the clock. Trust me. There will be no time left on the clock.” I absolutely love that young man. Easton is an absolute stud. He’s 34–3. Is that right? He’s 34–3 with a National Championship. He’s still going to be compared to his best buddy Carson. Carson sent both of us a text this morning. I know he’s so jacked for him.. It’s cool to be able to see him take all that preparation and fulfill that dream of being a National Championship quarterback. He deserved the opportunity to play in this game. He played like a veteran.
We needed to hit the home run. Not many teams hit a home run on those guys. (Stick’s TD pass to Darrius Shepherd.) Great time to get a first. (reception of the year for Shepherd.)
NDSU quarterback, Easton Stick
(Bison Football) It’s really special. It’s not just the last six or seven years, it’s been like this for a long time.. If I’m honest, I haven’t really thought about it too much. I haven’t really thought about it. This is about this group of seniors and their opportunity to finish it the way they’ve always wanted to. (on his legacy as a championship quarterback)
(NDSU) Got the coverage (from JMU) that we wanted, and really was all on Darrius running away from that back-side safety. (The Bison) Offensive line protected really well. Lance (Dunn) sold the fake well. Darrius was able to run underneath and get us in the end zone, and that was a huge play for us.
Coach and I were going back and forth- what our best possible scheme was there (on the final play). I just made sure, number one, catch the snap, and I found the clock right away and wanted to get down as soon as it was hitting zero. That was a special feeling. Seeing all our guys run out there and knowing we finished the right way for the seniors. That was a good feeling.
NDSU wide receiver, Darrius Shepherd
Such a big moment, just a lot of ups and downs this season, but it’s just so special to have that play happen. It was a good play call. (on his only TD catch of the season.) We thought that look could be there. (JMU defense) It went just how we planned it, it was an incredible play. The execution was just perfect. You have to keep waiting for that moment and keep believing that you are going to make that play. We kept our heads down and we kept pushing. We knew that the defense had our back. We had to keep relying on each other.. Code Green, (Bison defense) they’re an amazing bunch of dudes and we know that we can always rely on them, the best defense in the country. Whenever they are on the field, we have belief in them.
It’s hard to put into words, but this (Bison) culture is amazing, the fans, the coaches, the players … it’s so special. It’s so amazing to be a part of this program. It’s the best thing I’ve been a part of.. What an incredible leader for this team. I have so much love and respect for that man. (QB Easton Stick) That’s my guy.
NDSU running back, Lance Dunn
When I got back from (Christmas) break, I started practicing and feeling good. I came out there and did whatever I could to help the team win. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to be back right after the injury. (labrum) I had faith in the guys and I knew we were going to keep pushing to the championship game, and they gave me opportunities to play. I just took advantage of that. It’s just a blessing to be here and to be the National Champion again.
NDSU linebacker, Nick DeLuca
We say every year that our goal is to win the conference, to be the Missouri Valley Football Conference champions, but this is where we want to be. We know that. To be here and to have done it again, it feels unbelievable.. It’s an expectation to get back to this game and to get back to the National Championship. We take that on as a responsibility and it’s something that we set as a goal every year. We’re really excited that we were able to get it done this year.
I thought our defense did a good job to responding to adversity all season long. You know there is going to be adversity, just how you respond is going to be a big thing.
We had a focus to make them one dimensional. We put a lot of pressure on the D-line, and they took it upon themselves to give a big push and limit their run game and force them to go into the passing game. It was a successful game plan.
Anytime you see a 300-pound guy running with the ball, you want to get out of his way. (on Nate Tanguay’s interception.)
NDSU cornerback Marquise Bridges
Well, I know they had beat me on that play a couple plays ago. I was just trying to play it. (on his goalline interception.) To be honest, I understand the coaches are what make this all happen, man. Without them, I wouldn’t have done half the things that I did today. The coach is always coaching us up.
I don’t even know what happened. Next thing I know, I saw (DT Nate) Tanguay trying to stiff-arm somebody. Every time we needed a big play, he got one. (on Nate’s shoe-string interception.)
NDSU safety, Tre Dempsey
Damn right. We got it back. That’s what we’re supposed to do here—win National Championships. It feels great because this is what we’re supposed to do. This is what I came to NDSU for: to win championships.
I put the blame on myself, I thought we should have gone safe on that. (on the JMU fake punt.)
I saw the quarterback scrambling like he did the whole game, and he did a great job extending plays. And then there were two people open, I took one and Nick took the other. He was going to get sacked and then he just threw it up. When he threw it up, I said in my head it’s over. (on JMU’s last play, a hail Mary pass.)
NDSU defensive tackle, Grant Morgan.
(Wife and newborn) Morgan and Paisley are at home watching right now. The rest of my family is down on the field. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it but I know they’re here in spirit. I thought about them this morning and obviously would love to have them here but at the same time it would be a heck of a trip with an 8-day-old. What a blessing.
NDSU offensive coordinator, Courtney Messingham
I knew one thing, when I got the opportunity to come here (at NDSU), that if you just keep grinding, these guys knew what to do.. We talked about it all the time. Hey, it’s ours to go with them to get one because they already know the blueprint. On the plane, I’m going to be saying: Wow, this is why you come to a place like NDSU. Because you have an opportunity. You look at the fans and you know the culture and the way it’s set up, it’s a great setting.
If you have to take a safety, take a safety, but make sure the clock runs out. The only thing I said is you can’t get tackled until the clock runs out. It doesn’t matter how many yards you lose. (On the last play of the game.)
NDSU quarterbacks coach, Randy Hedberg
It’s well-deserved, Courtney has been in the game not as long as I have but he’s been coaching at some great spots. And this is the best spot he’s had to win games and championships. I’m happy for him.
NDSU defensive coordinator, Matt Entz
One thing that was frustrating was the short field.. Our guys felt comfortable they were not going to drive 70 or 80 yards against us.
NDSU Spectrum, Taylor Schloemer
On a day when the end zone was rarely visited, the seven points became a luxury.
InForum, Mike McFeely
Chris Klieman knows this. Moments after screaming “You got your six-pack!” to thousands of celebrating North Dakota State football fans jamming the field from end to end at Toyota Stadium—he meant championships, not beers—the Bison football coach saw a familiar face just behind the stage. Klieman smiled and shook his head, his new championship cap askew from all the hugging and patting on the back.. Yet there was a sea of yellow again, NDSU fans stretching from end zone to end zone and singing along with “We Are The Champions” while Bison players hoisted a trophy and held up their two-fingered horns sign to the partying crowd. Green and yellow confetti rained down.
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU Bison and JMU Dukes. NDSU wins their sixth National Football title in seven years. Head Coach Chris Klieman raises the trophy over his head and the Bison fans show their horns. -photo by Kevin Wolf
NCAA FCS National Championship game between the NDSU ‘Bison’ and JMU ‘Dukes’. NDSU wins their sixth National Football title in seven years. Head Coach Chris Klieman raises the trophy over his head and the Bison fans show their horns. -photo by Kevin Wolf

Statistics

Half-Time Stats JMU NDSU
Passing Yards 101 110
Rushing Yards 27 53
Total Offensive Yards 128 163
3rd Downs 1/7 3/8
Turnovers 2 1
Time Of Possession 10:57 19:03
Game Stats JMU NDSU
Passing Yards 148 130
Rushing Yards 93 134
Total Offensive Yards 241 264
Penalty Yards 3–35 6–55
First Downs 15 16
3rd Downs 4–14 6–17
4th Downs 0–1 1–2
Time Of Possession 22:19 37:41

References

Print Media

Video Media

Stream the entire game from ESPN on YouTube.com. Dave Neal on play-by-play, and Matt Stinchcomb as color analyst, with Quint Kessenich reporting from the sidelines.


NDSU at JMU 17 to 13

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