FCS Championship Game: James Madison vs. North Dakota State

Last Updated: 2018-12-07

Alabama vs. Georgia isn’t the only college football game on the schedule and Saturday’s game may turn out to be a better one, as the most anticipated FCS games of all-time takes place in Frisco, Texas, when James Madison meets North Dakota State in a match-up of the two best teams in the FCS.

While the FCS isn’t the FBS when it comes to talent, both of these teams are likely a little better than most people think. USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin has both teams ranked ahead of the likes of Texas A & M, Arizona State, Navy and UCLA.

James Madison comes into this one undefeated and ranked No. 1, but still find themselves as 4.5 point underdogs to the Bison and the total on the game is 48. James Madison has won 14 games in a row and are the defending champions, but North Dakota State has been waiting for a more than a year for this game, as the 2011-2015 FCS champions were defeated 27-17 by James Madison last year.

Both teams like to run the ball and do so extremely well, as North Dakota State averaged 282 gaining roughly 230 yards per game to 180 for the Bison. Both teams are in the top 21 in total offense and the Bison score 40.3 points per game and James Madison averages 35.9.

As good as the two teams are offensively, it’s the defense than has carried both to the championship games, as JMU allows an average of 10.7 points per game, tops in FCS, and NDS allows 11.5 points, which is second in FCS. Both teams are in the top three in total defense and there was a difference of just 11 total points allowed, so it’s hard to say one defense is better than the other.

Sportsbooks aren’t in the habit of giving away money and know that James Madison is going to get a few wagers just on the basis of being the No. 1 team and undefeated on the year. But the Bison are playing extremely well now and appear to be peaking at the right time, as they rushed for more than 400 yards in a 55-13 victory. Not that James Madison was bad in the semifinals, as they defeated South Dakota State 51-16 in a game where they created 10 turnovers, including five in the first quarter. That’s not going to happen again.

The under is enticing due to the play of both defenses, but either offense is capable of putting up quite a few points and think North Daokta State will put the most in this game, so will have to lay the points in this one.

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