FCS Playoffs: NDSU Falls Short in Semifinal vs. James Madison
The Bison ran into their toughest matchup along the way to their sixth straight FCS national championship, but it was not to be, as they fall to a stellar James Madison squad, 27-17.
Khalid Abdullah seemed unstoppable out of the Dukes' backfield as he ran for 180 yards and amassed 231 total all-purpose yards and receiving touchdown, while Bryan Schor threw for 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. JMU (13-1) came in as the top scoring team in the nation and even the stout NDSU (12-2) defense couldn't contain them down the stretch.
Entering the fourth quarter, the score was tied at 17-17 with just over 12 minutes remaining. The Dukes had a fourth down at the Bison 33, which at the time was out of field goal range. JMU elected to punt, however, an offsides penalty moved the ball to the 28. Despite not being able to connect on a kick longer than 33 yards all season, Tyler Gray kicked a career-long 45-yard field goal to take a 20-17 lead.
On the Dukes next possession, they found the end zone when Schor hit John Miller on a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 27-17 with just under 7 minutes remaining. The Bison weren't able to put any further drives together to make a comeback.
In the first half, the Dukes sprung out to a 17-0 lead before Chase Morlock ran in a 3-yard score to make it 17-7 as they headed to halftime. In the third quarter, Cam Pedersen kicked a 45-yard field goal, and then King Frazier ran in a 16-yard score to tie it up 17-17.
Easton Stick finished just 19 of 38 for 216 yards. Lance Dunn and Frazier would combine for just 100 yards rushing as JMU held the one-two punch out of NDSU's backfield in check.
James Madison now advances to the championship game against either Eastern Washington or Youngstown St. Those teams play tomorrow night.
The loss is the first for NDSU in the playoffs since 1991.
Source: Bleacher Report