The FCS championship is here with an enticing James Madison vs North Dakota State matchup. Below we’ll be taking a sportsbook look at this matchup before making our prediction.
FCS Championship – James Madison vs North Dakota State
James Madison Dukes (14-1) vs North Dakota State Bison (15-0)
Saturday, January 11th – 12:00PM ET – Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Online Betting Line: TBD
After a pair of one-sided semifinal games, the stage is set for the FCS Championship on January 11th. The James Madison Dukes and the North Dakota State Bison are headed to Frisco for the championship game.
The Dukes lead the FCS with 619 points scored. They scored 51 more points than the next closest team, North Dakota State. They won by an average of 26.4 points per game.
North Dakota State allowed just 177 points all season, under 12 points per game. That’s second only to Dartmouth’s 124.
James Madison kicked fof their 2019 season with a disappointing loss at West Virginia. The Dukes lost 20-13 after they failed to score a touchdown in the second half. Quarterback Ben DiNucci passed for just 156 yards and an interception in the game. It was not the start JMU had in mind.
The slow start lit a fire under DiNucci and the team. The Dukes went on to win every game the rest of the season. They finished 14-1, earning themselves a trip to the FCS playoffs.
They shut out Northern Iowa 17-0 in the quarterfinals and defeated Weber State 30-14 in the semifinal after getting off to a 24-7 halftime lead.
North Dakota State has dominated teams all season. They’re undefeated in 15 games, including a 9-3 win over Illinois State in the FCS Championship quarterfinal and a 42-14 win over Montana State in the semifinal.
ND State would achieve a three-peat with a win over James Madison in the FCS Championship. They beat Eastern Washington 38-24 in last year’s final and James Madison 17-13 in 2017. James Madison
JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci passed for 3,237 yards and 27 touchdowns while throwing five interceptions. He completed over 71% of his passes this season and averaged a 173 passer rating. DiNucci also rushed for 560 yards and seven touchdowns.
DiNucci got plenty of help from his favorite target, Brandon Polk. Poly caught 72 passes for 1,153 yards, and 11 touchdowns — all team highs. Running back Percy Agyei-Obese rushed the ball 241 times for 1,143 yards (a 4.7-yard average), and 19 touchdowns. Jawon Hamilton was also very effective in the running game. He rushed for 889 yards on 5.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns.
Safety Adam Smith has a team-high six interceptions this season for James Madison. John Daka has forced four fumbles and recovered one. Dimitri Holloway has forced one fumble and recovered three.
ND State quarterback Trey Lance is a dual-threat for the Bison. He’s passed for 2,714 yards and 28 touchdowns on the season while throwing no interceptions. He’s also the team’s second-leading rusher, six yards behind Ty Brooks, with 934 yards and a team-high 13 touchdowns.
Lance isn’t the most accurate passer. He completes just 67% of his passes, but you can’t knock numbers like his. For a quarterback that’s on the move as much as he is, 11 sacks and 0 interceptions is incredible. The best part for ND State is that Lance is a freshman.
The Verdict James Madison vs North Dakota State
North Dakota State is the Alabama of the FCS. They’re in the big game more times than not. They have talent on both sides of the ball. They’re a well-coached team that plays to their strengths. Saturday, January 11th will be another example of that.
The Bison will win another national title when they defeat James Madison University in the FCS Championship.