North Dakota St. wins 8th FCS ti­tle 28-20 over James Madi­son

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By Stephen Hawkins

FRISCO, TEXAS (AP) >> Red­shirt fresh­man quar­ter­back Trey Lance ran for 166 yards, with a clutch 44yard touch­down to start the fourth quar­ter, and North Dakota State held on to claim its eighth FCS na­tional cham­pi­onship with a 28-20 win over James Madi­son on Satur­day.

James Hen­dricks had an in­ter­cep­tion at the goal line in the fi­nal sec­onds for the Bi­son (16-0), who stretched their FCS-record win­ning streak to 37 in a row and com­pleted the first 16-win sea­son in any divi­sion since Yale in 1894.

Af­ter stop­ping Lance short on a fourth-and-2 at its 36 with 2:51 left, James Madi­son (14-2) drove to the 3. Hen­dricks, who ear­lier had a 20-yard touch­down run on a fake field goal, then picked off the pass by Ben DiNucci.

Lance’s 44-yard score came on a third-and-23 play to open the fourth quar­ter and put the Bi­son up 28-13.

Ri­ley Sta­ple­ton’s 5-yard TD catch with 7 min­utes left was his sec­ond of the game. He also had two TD catches in the na­tional ti­tle game two years ago, when the Dukes lost to North Dakota State. That was a sea­son af­ter they won a semi­fi­nal game at the Far­godome and then beat Youngstown State for the ti­tle.

The Bi­son won their eighth FCS cham­pi­onship in nine years, af­ter five NCAA Divi­sion II na­tional ti­tles be­tween 1983-90.

While Lance was only 6 of 10 pass­ing for 72 yards, he has now at­tempted 289 passes for the Bi­son with­out ever throw­ing an in­ter­cep­tion. He ran a sea­son-high 30 times in the fi­nale.

Lance suc­ceeded Eas­ton Stick, whose 49 wins at NDSU made him the win­ningest FCS quar­ter­back, while also set­ting school records for to­tal yards, pass­ing yards and to­tal touch­downs. Stick had fol­lowed Car­son Wentz.

Sta­ple­ton had a 5-yard TD on the open­ing drive of the game for James Madi­son, but the Bi­son quickly got even on Adam Cofield’s 1-yard TD run.

North Dakota State used some trick­ery to score twice in the sec­ond quar­ter. Re­ceiver Phoenix Spro­les swept around and faked a re­verse hand­off be­fore run­ning 38 yards for a touch­down, and Hen­dricks lined up for an ap­par­ent field goal wen he took the snap, then got up and ran to the end zone. BIG PIC­TURE James Madi­son: The Dukes got off to an im­pres­sive start, go­ing 86 yards on 17 plays and tak­ing half of the first quar­ter for their open­ing drive. That was the only time they led.

North Dakota St.: Make it 8-for-8 for the Bi­son for cham­pi­onships won when mak­ing it from Fargo to Frisco. Their eighth ap­pear­ance in the FCS cham­pi­onship matched the most with Ge­or­gia South­ern, which won six of their ti­tle games . ... The only two Divi­sion I win­ning streaks longer than NDSU are Wash­ing­ton (40, from 1908-14) and Ok­la­homa’s record 48 in a row was 1953-57. UP NEXT James Madi­son opens the 2020 sea­son at home Sept. 5 in a CAA game against Delaware with holes to fill. The Dukes will have a new quar­ter­back, and the Sta­ple­ton brothers — re­ceiver Ri­ley and tight end Dy­lan — played their last game, as did All-Amer­ica de­fen­sive end Ron’Dell Carter.

North Dakota State will go for its fourth win over a Power Five team in eight sea­sons in a Sept 5 sea­son opener at Ore­gon. The Bi­son have wins over Kansas State, Iowa State and No. 13 Iowa since 2013.

SAM HODDE - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

North Dakota State wide re­ceiver Phoenix Spro­les (11) smiles af­ter scor­ing a touch­down dur­ing the first half of the FCS cham­pi­onship NCAA col­lege foot­ball game against James Madi­son, Satur­day, Jan. 11, 2020, in Frisco, Texas.

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