James Madison captures its second national championship 28-14
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Khalid Abdullah ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns as James Madison won its second Football Championship Subdivision title, beating Youngstown State 28-14 on Saturday.
It is the first time in six years a team other than North Dakota State raised the FCS championship trophy. James Madison (14-1) was the team that made it from Fargo to Frisco instead, winning its semifinal game on the road against the five-time defending champion Bison.
Bryan Schor threw two touchdown passes in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game, the first after James Madison blocked a punt and the other after a shanked kick set the Dukes up at midfield.
Abdullah finished the season with a school-record 1,809 yards rushing and an FBS-best 22 touchdowns.
The four-time champion Penguins (12-4), who finished their second season with Youngstown native Bo Pelini as their coach, made it to the title game for the first time since 1999. Their four titles came during the 1990s under Jim Tressel, now the school's president after winning a national championship at Ohio State in 2002.
Abdullah's 1-yard TD midway through the second quarter made it 21-0. He added a 2-yard score early in the third quarter, capping a drive set up by Curtis Oliver's crazy interception after a pass that was deflected at the line ricocheted off the receiver's toe without hitting the ground.
Youngstown State: The Penguins couldn't overcome their own mistakes. The punting problems early put them in a two-touchdown hole, and turnovers on their only two possessions in the third quarter took away any chance of a comeback. Only Georgia Southern (six) and North Dakota State (five) have more FCS titles than Youngstown State.
James Madison: The Dukes' defense was dominating again, with five sacks while forcing two turnovers (seven in the postseason). That included an interception, upping their FCS-best total to 21. ... TE Jonathan Kloosterman had his fifth TD catch of the playoffs, a 14-yarder less than 3 minutes into the game. He had only two TDs in the regular season. ... JMU won its other title in 2004, the only other time making it to the championship game.
Youngstown State will travel to ACC opponent Pittsburgh on Sept. 2 for its 2017 opener.
James Madison, whose only loss this season was at North Carolina in the third week of the season, will open its 2017 season at East Carolina on Sept. 2.
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