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JMU Football Falls 17-13 in FCS National Championship Game

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Marcus Marshall scored the only touchdown of the game for JMU Marcus Marshall scored the only touchdown of the game for JMU
St. Anne's-Belfield alum Aaron Stinnie St. Anne's-Belfield alum Aaron Stinnie
Sophomore wide receiver Riley Stapleton Sophomore wide receiver Riley Stapleton
North Dakota State has won six of the last seven national championships North Dakota State has won six of the last seven national championships
FRISCO, Tx (WVIR) -

A desperation pass from senior quarterback Bryan Schor was batted away at the goal line with under a minute to play, and the JMU football team came up just short in its bid for back-to-back national championships.

The top-ranked Dukes lost 17-13 against two-seed North Dakota State in the FCS National Championship Game on Saturday in Frisco, Texas.

The loss represents JMU's first defeat since September 17th, 2016, and snaps the Dukes' 26-game winning streak.

"The atmosphere in the locker room was just brothers staying together," says senior offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie.  "Everybody leaning on each other.  Everybody keeping each other up.  Coach told us straight up, he loves us, keep our heads high.  Even though we didn't get the 'W', it was still a remarkable season.  Get to go out as one of the best classes at JMU, the most winningest class at JMU.  Hats off to North Dakota State, but I still love my guys, regardless."

James Madison was trying to win the national title for the third time in program history, and the first time in back-to-back seasons.

NDSU has won six of the last seven FCS National Championships.

The title match featured the two best defenses at the FCS level, as JMU led the nation in scoring defense (10.7 PPG), while the Bison were number one in total defense (237.1 YPG).

The Dukes turned the ball over three times against North Dakota State, and the Bison controlled the time of possession 37:41 to 22:19.

"Obviously, you can't turn the ball over," says Schor.  "We knew going into this game that that would be a big factor in the game.  It takes away points, and you can't turn the ball over in big games like that.  I had my turnovers, and we had a fumble.  Those are things you need to lock down on coming into a championship game, and you can't afford to have those costly turnovers."

Sophomore wide receiver Riley Stapleton says,  "Obviously, there are a couple plays that I think I could have made.  That fumble is going to eat at me, but overall it was a fun game to play in.  I just wish the outcome had been a little bit different."

JMU was held to 241 yards of total offense, including just 93 yards rushing on 30 attempts.

Head coach Mike Houston says, "We felt like we could win the 1-on-1 match-up's, so it turned into more of a throwing game than we wanted, but they're a great football team. It was a fantastic game.  We just came up on the short end of the stick."

Schor completed 14-of-32 passes for 148 yards and two interceptions.

The Dukes trailed 17-6 at halftime, and junior Marcus Marshall scored a one-yard rushing touchdown on JMU's first drive of the second half to cut the deficit to four.

The JMU defense did not allow the Bison to score in the 2nd half, but the offense was unable able to get any more points against the stout NDSU defense.

 "Just ran out of time at the end," says senior defensive end Simeyon Robinson.  "But North Dakota State, they deserved it.  They played a good game, and they capitalized."

James Madison finishes the season with a record of 14-1.