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07 January 2018, 04:11 | Susie Olson
Jim Oxley HERO Sports
After piecing together an unforgettable 26-game winning streak and ideal 2017 campaign heading into the season, JMU fell to North Dakota State 17-13 in the FCS Championship at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
While ending top-seeded James Madison's 26-game winning streak, North Dakota State (14-1) made it six championships in seven years, tying Georgia Southern for the most in FCS history. Madison was one of seven on third-down opportunities, had turned it over twice, dropped a few passes, committed a roughing-the-punter penalty that led to an NDSU touchdown, given up a 50-yard TD pass caught by a wide-open receiver, possessed the ball for about eight fewer minutes, and had missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt.
NDSU has now won 14 national championships, breaking a tie for the most by any team across any NCAA division.
"That's nearly an absurd accomplishment, and one that you probably won't ever see again", Houston said. JMU running back Marcus Marshall rushed for 30 yards and a score.
Said James Madison coach Mike Houston: "They made the plays". The Dukes are attempting to win back to back national titles.
NDSU 17 JMU 3 - Pedersen makes a 32-yard field goal with 39 seconds left in the second quarter. They trailed 17-6 at halftime.
"I told (my team) we were going to win the football game and I firmly believed that", Houston said of his message to his team at halftime. "They have such a dominant team and they don't make many mistakes". It didn't help NDSU that JMU held a big advantage in the punting game.
"Most important things to us was don't flinch", said NDSU cornerback Marquise Bridges on the fake punt.
So when Stick completed his kneel after a 27-yard loss and he knew the clock had drained, he threw the ball high in the air as hundreds of Bison fans stormed the field after a 17-13 victory. The Dukes drove 69 yards in a half-minute to get a 21-yard field goal.
Special teams gave James Madison an opportunity to win the game late. "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".
"I wanted to wait for the right time because you only get one chance at it", Houston said.
Houston expects to get a pretty solid shot from NDSU (13-1) on Saturday, and wouldn't be surprised if the game turns out to be one for the ages.
"In the back of our mind, we were looking at them", Stapleton said.
NDSU - Easton Stick was 13-for-22 with 130 yards and 1 touchdown.
Quarterback Bryan Schor scrambled for 17 yards to the 46. After Schor hit redshirt senior wide receiver Terrence Alls for 12 yards, Schor and Marshall combined for 20 rushing yards over four consecutive plays to bring the Dukes to the 1-yard line.
"That was a great football game between two great teams, and more importantly, two great programs", Klieman said.
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