James Madison Football Wins FCS National Championship
The James Madison football team won the national championship for the second time in program history, as the Dukes defeated Youngstown State 28-14 on Saturday in Frisco, Texas.
FRISCO, Tx (WVIR) - The James Madison football team won the national championship for the second time in program history, as the Dukes defeated Youngstown State 28-14 on Saturday in Frisco, Texas.
JMU was playing in the title match for the first time since winning its first-and-only championship in 2004.
The Dukes jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half against the Penguins on Saturday, and led wire-to-wire in the FCS Finals.
James Madison blocked a punt on YSU's first possession on the game, and Bryan Schor connected with Jonathan Kloosterman for a touchdown two plays later.
Head coach Mike Houston says, "It was a great team effort, to give our offense great field position early, and punch in a couple of quick scores."
Former Charlottesville High School star Rashard Davis caught a TD pass to make it 14-0 later in the 1st.
The senior wide receiver led the team with three catches for 52 yards in the game.
Davis says, "It's crazy. It honestly hasn't hit me hard, hard yet. I'm going to start tearing up in a few minutes. It's just crazy, thinking about it. We thought about this in camp, and we went out there and did it. The whole season we just stuck together, and we did it."
Running back Khalid Abdullah scored two rushing touchdowns, and finished with a program record 45 TD's in his career.
The senior carried the ball 26 times for 101 yards in the victory, and was named FCS Championship MVP
Abdullah says, "A lot of teams when they play us, they try to use ball control, and hold on to the ball for a long time, and just keep themselves in the game. So the fact that we went up so quickly in the game meant that they had to play catch-up. That's hard for teams to do, especially teams that can't score in bundles like we can. They can't keep up. It was definitely beneficial."
Junior offensive lineman and St. Anne's-Belfield alum Aaron Stinnie helped lead the Dukes to 141 yards rushing on 45 carries.
Stinnie says, "The atmosphere out there was amazing, to have all our fans there like that. It's an amazing moment. It's something I've never felt before in my life. It's special to be there and do this with my team. I love those guys."
The James Madison defense held YSU to just 21 yards on 31 carries (0.7 yards per carry), and also forced three turnovers.
Houston says, "We had the goal that we were going to shut down their run game today. I thought our kids did a great job of executing the game plan. Being disciplined. Doing their job. Trusting in the other guys to do their job. Building a wall, setting the edge, and really keeping things contained in there. Really putting all the pressure on their passing game."
Schor completed 7-of-12 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns for JMU.
The junior QB says, "I've heard from people what it's like to win a national championship. The stories don't touch it. It's incredible to be out there and celebrate this moment with my teammates."
The 2016 national champion Dukes finish the year with a record of 14-1 in head coach Mike Houston's first season in Harrisonburg.
The coach says, "I've been blessed to have great kids, and a great coaching staff that has worked very, very hard to get here. With where we started, and for us to end up here, winning the national championship here in Frisco is certainly very rewarding. I couldn't be more proud of my players and my coaches, and the job they did today."