In NDSU title win, Stick leads the way

07 January, 2018, 05:12 | Author: Laura Christensen
  • In NDSU title win, Stick leads the way

"To his credit, he's an experienced veteran quarterback", James Madison coach Mike Houston said, "and you've got to have guys go out and perform like that to win a national championship".

Junior Bruce Anderson has been instrumental in helping Wilson along, "I've had more one on one time with Seth, you know kind of show him".

Houston, who last month signed a 10-year contract extension with James Madison, unabashedly said on the way to the top that he was building his team to beat the Bison, and that's what the Dukes did last year in the FCS semifinals. "You can tell they play a lot of snaps", Stick said of JMU's secondary.

"I just know they're both competitors and they're both winners", NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said.

DeLuca helped lead the Bison defense in a staunch effort, highlighted by the Millard North product's hit behind the line of scrimmage on a key third down play in the game's fourth quarter. 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. Later in the quarter, redshirt senior defensive lineman Simeyon Robinson blazed through NDSU's offensive line to sack Stick and force a fumble. The Dukes face No. 2 seed North Dakota State (13-1), FCS champs for five straight seasons from 2011-15.

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.

The Bison would runout the final 58 seconds of the clock for the championship.

James Madison, with all of the momentum on its side, advanced the ball to the 19-yard line with 1:53 left, but its only positive gain on the ensuing four plays earned one yard.

"I love what players pass down to us, it's been like this for years", Dempsey said.

NDSU 17 JMU 6 - Ratke makes a 21-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the second quarter.

Still, James Madison looked like it had an opportunity to take the lead late after NDSU missed its own field goal with 4:37 remaining in the game. "There has been so much adversity that has made us so much stronger as a team".

Last season, the Dukes went to the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota, and took down the Bison - a feat not often accomplished by road teams. Schor threw for a loss of two yards on 2nd-and-9, he was harassed into a hurried incompletion on 3rd-and-11 and, after a false start, could not complete a blind Hail Mary heave on 4th-and-16 with 1:10 to play.

Quarterback Bryan Schor scrambled for 17 yards to the 46. They had (only) 53 yards rushing in the first half. He said the difference in his sales from 2017 to 2016 was "the Bison week", or lack thereof.

"Good time to get the first one", Stick said. "You don't see a big play because someone's out of position or they blew a coverage".

With the game in the final minutes, JMU ran a fake punt with Harry O'Kelly to continue the drive. Several players from each team leaped for the ball, but the Dukes' receivers came up empty.



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