Bison Win 6th Division 1 Football Title

As the James Madison football team prepares to take the field Saturday in search of their second straight FCS national championship, Dukes coach Mike Houston can't help but be in awe of North Dakota State's string of five titles in a row. North Dakota State was able to run the clock out, and secure their sixth FCS Championship in the last seven seasons. The Dukes are now riding a 26-game winning streak.

The Bison have won 14 national championships in football with the first eight coming in Division II before NDSU transitioned to Division I.

The Bison outgained James Madison 264-241 and held the Dukes to just 93 yards rushing.

JMU started the possession at their own 27-yard line, and Schor picked up a first down on a 17-yard run to start the team's season-defining drive.

One element organizers were particularly proud of are videos made with and for the Bison fans, with appreciation messages from several of the players and coach Chris Klieman.

The Dukes went on to win last year's title - only their second all-time.

"It's hard to put into words, but this culture is wonderful, the fans, the coaches, the's so special", said Bison wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, who had a 50-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. They trailed 17-6 at halftime. "I know I'll have these guys the rest of my life". "They have such a dominant team and they don't make many mistakes". D'Angelo Amos returned Koonce's punt for 37 yards - the second-longest return of his career - to put the Dukes at the NDSU 14-yard line.

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That was the case against Weber State in the FCS quarterfinals, when the Dukes (14-0) had to overcome a second-half deficit and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired.

Bridges said Stapleton and the James Madison receiving group will present a challenge.

"I wanted to wait for the right time because you only get one chance at it", Houston said.

A personal foul penalty on JMU on the play gave the Bison the ball at the 44. He also rushed for 19 yards on 14 attempts.

The Bison continued to prevent big plays, rough up Schor (four sacks, twice as many scrambles), and keep JMU from moving the ball much on the ground. JMU was pounding on the door again following a 26-yard punt by backup punter Garret Wegner, who came in the second half after starter Jackson Koonce was presumably injured on a roughing call in the first quarter, a play that led to NDSU's first touchdown. "They created opportunities for all of us, but we just came up short".

Quarterback Bryan Schor (33 total touchdowns) leads the Dukes' eighth-ranked scoring offense (35.9 points per game) that's gotten a major boost from running back Marcus Marshall and wide receiver Riley Stapleton this postseason.

"That was a great football game between two great teams, and more importantly, two great programs", Klieman said.

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