The Bison accomplished the task by knocking off No. 1 James Madison 17-13 in Frisco, Texas Saturday. North Dakota State was able to run the clock out, and secure their sixth FCS Championship in the last seven seasons. Shepherd caught the ball in stride and he broke free from the James Madison secondary and raced into the end zone.
NDSU has now won 14 national championships, breaking a tie for the most by any team across any NCAA division.
It's the first time since 2011 and the first time since the FCS playoff field expanded to 24 teams that the top two seeds will face one another in the title game.
- The North Dakota State Bison and their fans owned Frisco, Texas, for five consecutive championship seasons, not only on the football field but in area hotels, restaurants and sports bars.
Shepherd's big touchdown catch the gave the Bison a 14-3 lead with 4 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the first half. "We made too many mistakes". North Dakota State limited James Madison to 21 yards in the first quarter, and neither team conjured an offensive explosion until the Bison executed a near-flawless play-action pass with 4:14 left in the half.
The Dukes lead the country in scoring defense, allowing just 11 points per game.
"We found a way to play red zone defense, which is a staple for us", Klieman said.
"We talk about it all the time: Field goals won't beat you, and it didn't today", Klieman said. This isn't the first one of the season.
"We thought that look could be there", Shepherd said.
"Got the coverage that we wanted, and really was all on Darrius running away from that back-side safety", Stick said.
North Dakota State: Coach Chris Klieman has his third title after winning three as an assistant. JMU running back Marcus Marshall rushed for 30 yards and a score.
Senior linebacker Nick DeLuca missed that game because of injury, so he'd been waiting for over a year to get another shot at the Dukes. "We take that on as a responsibility and it's something that we set as a goal every year".
James Madison is seeking to win back-to-back titles under coach Mike Houston and join four other programs to have at least three FCS titles.
OR bakers lose their appeal
Their attorneys haven't decided yet whether they will appeal the court's decision to the Oregon Supreme Court. Supreme Court heard arguments earlier this month in a similar case involving a bakery in Colorado.