Upset special: JMU ends Bison run
Khalid Abdullah had 180 yards rushing, added 51 yards receiving and a touchdown and James Madison snapped North Dakota State’s 22-game postseason win streak with a 27-17 upset in the FCS semifinals Saturday night.
James Madison (13-1) will play in the FCS National Championship on Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas against either Youngstown State or Eastern Washington.
Abdullah’s 180 rushing yards are the most NDSU has given up since the 2010 playoffs.
“Good football player. We missed some fits,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman. “You miss some fits against a guy like that and he is going to make you pay.”
“Man (offensive line) blocked so well out there today I felt like anybody could have ran through the holes they made,” said Abdullah. “I probably could have put my mom in. She could have ran through some of those holes that big Matt Frank created. I’m just proud of them.”
After NDSU defensive end Brad Ambrosius was called offside on a fourth-and-19, the Dukes took a 20-17 lead on a 45-yard field goal from Tyler Gray with 11:46 to go.
“We were staggering pretty good,” said coach Mike Houston. “I felt like that field goal got the momentum back in our direction and took some pressure off of us.”
A 25-yard TD pass from Bryan Schor to John Miller with 6:59 left made it 27-17.
James Madison outgained the Bison 301-164 total yards in the first half. Abdullah had 175 of those yards and his 10-yard touchdown reception gave JMU a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Schor threw for 242 yards and three TDs.
“Bryan has been doing that all year. His ability to escape pressure and extend plays in the pocket have been evident all year,” said Houston. “He has worked very hard to make himself into the player that he is. He is special.”
Chase Morlock and King Frazier sandwiched scoring runs around a 45-yard field goal by Cam Pederson as North Dakota State (12-2) made it 17-all with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
The Bison were held to a season-low 132 yards rushing. Easton Stick was 19-of-38 passing for 216 yards with an interception.
JMU awaits the winner of Youngstown State and Eastern Washington. EWU hosts YSU at 6:30 p.m. today on ESPNU.