The James Madison Dukes had an ugly first half of the FCS Championship against North Dakota State on Saturday.
This is the Bison sixth National Championship in the past seven years and the 14th overall. James Madison rushes for over 200 yards a game, but NDSU is over 280.
NDSU has now won 14 national championships, breaking a tie for the most by any team across any NCAA division.
It's not quite as cold as it was a year ago in Texas, as the temperatures were in the high 40's on Thursday, and it's expected to be in the mid-50's on Saturday for the FCS national championship game.
North Dakota State came into the game looking for revenge after last season's disappointing end. "We made too many mistakes".
In the bruising matchup of the two best defenses in the FCS, the Stick-to-Shepherd score was the biggest offensive play of the game.
Klieman says, "They got different players, just like we got different players".
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On 4-and-16 from the 25-yard line, with defenders in pursuit and the game on the line, Dukes quarterback Bryan Schor heaved the ball into the end zone, but it fell harmlessly to the ground after it was tipped amidst a large gathering of players.
"This", Steele said, "is going to be a moment that we talk about for the rest of our lives". Bison quarterback Stick then hit receiver Darrius Shepherd for a 50-yard touchdown in the second quarter, followed up with a Cam Pedersen 32-yard field goal to make it 17-3 NDSU. It marked the first time all season the Dukes trailed by double digits. "He just said "Coach, don't worry, there will be no time left on the clock".
"We got the coverage that we wanted and really it was all on Darrius running away from that backside safety", Stick said. Houston said the victory gave his team respect for North Dakota State's program and confidence it had reached its level.
Marcus Marshall had a 1-yard run for the only touchdown for the Dukes, who lost the turnover battle 3-1 after forcing 10 takeaways in the semifinals.
This year the teams seem evenly matched in all phases, including the presence of two veteran quarterbacks who have combined to win 62 games.
NDSU 7 JMU 3 - Ethan Ratke drills a 31-yard field goal with 3:48 left in the first quarter.