CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The No. 2 James Madison football team lost 28-20 against No. 1 North Dakota State University in the FCS National Championship Game in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday.
The Bison rushed for 281 yards against the Dukes top-rated run defense, including 166 yards from quarterback Trey Lance.
JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci completed 22-of-33 passes for 204 yards, and two touchdowns.
Riley Stapleton had two TD catches, the second of which cut the deficit to eight with 6:55 remaining.
The Dukes’ defense forced a turnover on downs from the Bison, and the offense advanced to the NDSU 3-yard line, but a DiNucci interception in the endzone with eight seconds left ended the Dukes’ comeback attempt.
“That’s one thing about this team, it’s always going to have fight," says senior linebacker Dimitri Holloway. "That’s JMU football, in general. That’s one thing that will always be instilled in us. We always fight to the end. When the clock hits zero, then we’ll take our pads off.”
Head coach Curt Cignetti adds, “We’re down two scores, but plenty of time, really, to get back in the game. I thought there were moments in that game where we showed our true character, and stepped up, but unfortunately, there were too many big, negative plays, that proved to be too much to overcome.”
James Madison finishes the season with a record of 14-2.
NDSU (16-0) has won 37 games in a row, and eight of the last nine FCS national championships.