FRISCO, Texas – James Madison still had one more game after dethroning the five-time defending champs in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Now the Dukes have their second national title.
The team that knocked off North Dakota State in the semifinals, and made the trip from Fargo to Frisco instead, won the FCS championship game Saturday. Khalid Abdullah ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns after two early TD passes by Bryan Schor as the Dukes beat Youngstown State 28-14.
“A lot of the country probably thought when we beat North Dakota State that we’d have a really great chance to win the championship,” Schor said. “Something we really focused on the whole week … we have got to earn the right to win it, and that’s something we came out and I think we did today.”
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.
“We didn’t start the way we wanted, and got behind the eight-ball,” Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini said. “The way we started didn’t help.”
The Dukes won their other championship in 2004, the only other time they made it to the title game.
“It means everything,” Abdullah said. “It just means that all the dreams and goals we had team came to fruition.”
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 under Youngstown native Pelini, 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.
“At the beginning of the year, every college football program has this goal,” first-year JMU coach Mike Houston said. “The great thing about tournament play is, it’s not up to a vote system or anything like that. You go out there and play it out on the field.”
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