JMU mistakes costly as NDSU wins 17-13 to capture FCS title

JMU mistakes costly as NDSU wins 17-13 to capture FCS title

A personal foul penalty on JMU on the play gave the Bison the ball at the 44.

Eight plays later, running back Marcus Marshall scored from the 1 and it was 17-13.

The Dukes turned it over again on their next possession when receiver Riley Stapleton, after grabbing a long pass, fumbled and linebacker Jabril Cox returned it to the JMU 41. Ratke then matched Pedersen, as with six seconds remaining in the half, the freshman kicker knocked in a 21-yard field goal to trim NDSU's lead to 17-6 heading into the half. The Bison's first drive notably showcased the return of junior running back Lance Dunn - arguably NDSU's most lethal offensive threat, who hadn't played since October 21. James Madison got another, 21-yard field goal from Ratke to make the score 17-6 at halftime.

Junior quarterback Easton Stick was named the game's most outstanding player, totaling 165 yards of offense, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Darrius Shepherd in the second quarter. They needed some points badly before kicking away to NDSU to start the third quarter, and Stapelton's snaring of this one - momentarily pinning it to the helmet of the Bison's Josh Hayes - got them across midfield to at least set up a field goal.

Said James Madison coach Mike Houston: "They made the plays". It was capped off by a 1-yard run from Marcus Marshall. "We made too many mistakes".

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North Dakota State never trailed while holding a almost 15 1/2-minute possession advantage. After a 24-yard gain on a fake punt, Madison faced fourth-and-11 at NDSU's 20 with 1:10 left. For James Madison, quarterback Bryan Schor completed 14 of 32 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions.

After showing flashes of excellence in the third quarter, the Dukes' reverted to their sloppy style of play from the first half in the fourth quarter. It led to a 32-yard Pedersen field goal and it was 17-3. One of his catches was crucial for 15 yards on the Bison's first scoring drive.

NDSU - Bruce Anderson had 18 carries for 63 yards and 1 touchdown.

A scrambling Schor, under heavy pressure and off balance, heaved it in the end zone and the ball fell incomplete.

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