Inside that locker room we have something that no one else in the country has. "I know I'll have these guys the rest of my life".
As for the Bison's secondary, Klieman said the statuses of injured cornerbacks Jalen Allison and Jaylaan Wimbush will be "game-time decisions". NDSU took over at the JMU 47-yard line.
The Dukes went on to win last year's title - only their second all-time. NDSU took a 17-13 lead into the fourth quarter with the appearance of next score wins. 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.
"I just know they're both competitors and they're both winners", NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said.
After a three-and-out for the Dukes, JMU turned to its most stable unit to turn the momentum back its way.
The Dukes looked like they were going to back up their coach's words early in the second half. Shepherd added his 50-yard touchdown catch that gave the Bison a 14-3 lead with 4:14 to play in the second quarter.
"We found a way to play red-zone defense, which has been a staple for us", Klieman said. For the second time in the half, a JMU miscue directly propagated a touchdown for the Bison.
Schor, last season's CAA Offensive Player of the Year, is completing 66 percent of his passes and has 26 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions.
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JMU - Kyre Hawkins had 10 tackles.
JMU - Riley Stapleton had 7 catches for 107 yards.
NDSU 17 JMU 3 - Pedersen makes a 32-yard field goal with 39 seconds left in the second quarter.
"The demeanor of the team is the same as previous year", redshirt senior offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie said.
- The North Dakota State Bison and their fans owned Frisco, Texas, for five consecutive championship seasons, not only on the football field but in area hotels, restaurants and sports bars. D'Angelo Amos' 33-yard punt return to the Bison 33 set up the drive and Marshall capped it with a 1-yard run.
Now North Dakota State is back in the finals, and looking to prove previous year was a fluke. "They do a really good job of rotating guys, the two corner spots and guys playing nickel and things like that. That's what it came down to. the plays were there". JMU's Bryan Schor and NDSU's Easton Stick have similar traits (big arms, sneaky athleticism) and their numbers are equally impressive. On first down from the Bison 15-yard line, Tanguay grabbed the short, wobbly throw and returned it to the NDSU 29. "That's their thing. I promise you, they wanted this match-up".
"That's nearly an absurd accomplishment, and one that you probably won't ever see again", Houston said. After getting as close as the NDSU 18-yard line, it just wasn't meant to be for the Dukes.
A scrambling Schor, under heavy pressure and off balance, heaved it in the end zone and the ball fell incomplete.