The college football season is almost over. A fun and exciting football season will end after January 13th. However, before then, the 2019 FCS National Championship will be decided on January 11th. The game features two teams that have matched up twice before. The James Madison Dukes will take on the North Dakota State Bison. The Dukes will be looking for their second championship in the last four years.
On the other hand, the Bison are looking for its eighth title in the last nine years. This has the making of being a monumental showdown. As we countdown the days, let’s recap the 2019 season and see how both teams got to the 2019 FCS National Championship.
James Madison Dukes
James Madison enters the championship game 14-1. The lone loss for the Dukes came back in week one against West Virginia. As a result, James Madison won the Colonial Athletic Conference and clinched the number two seed in the playoffs. The Dukes defeated Monmouth, Northern Iowa, and Weber State en route to the 2019 FCS National Championship. James Madison is under first year head coach Curt Cignetti. Cignetti is on the brink of completing a full season turnaround.
After winning the title in 2016, the Dukes followed with a runner-up finish in 2017. 2018 was a step back year, but Cignetti has James Madison on the cusp of another championship. Quarterback Ben DiNucci leads the Dukes. DiNucci has thrown for 3,237 yards and 27 touchdowns. The last time James Madison played in a national championship, they came up four points short. Coach Cignetti and quarterback Ben DiNucci hope to capitalize on this 2019 opportunity and shut the dynasty down for a year.
North Dakota State Bison
New year same result from Fargo, North Dakota. No matter what changes come at North Dakota State, the beat goes on for the Bison. North Dakota State concluded 2018 as an undefeated national champion. The Bison have picked right up where they left off. Despite having a new head coach, North Dakota State is sitting at 15-0. The Bison won the Missouri Valley Conference and, therefore, were rewarded the number one seed in the playoffs. The Bison defeated Nicholls, Illinois State, and Montana State to advance to, yet, another FCS National Championship.
As I mentioned earlier, North Dakota State was under new guidance in 2019. Coach Matt Entz has taken over the reins in Fargo. The Bison offense is also under a new direction. Freshman quarterback Trey Lance is concluding his first season as a starter and has thrown for 2,714 yards with 28 touchdowns. There seems to be nothing standing in the way of North Dakota State from hoisting another trophy. However, James Madison knows how to defeat the Bison. Coach Entz and quarterback Trey Lance hope to keep the train rolling and bring the eighth championship back to the Fargo Dome.
2019 FCS National Championship (Game Matchups)
Each team’s success depends on how well their quarterbacks play. DiNucci has only thrown five interceptions all year. On the other hand, Lance has yet to throw an interception in 15 games. It will be up to the defenses to try and force the opposing quarterback into making mistakes.
In addition to turnovers, we need to keep an eye on the play of special teams. Punting and kicking will play a significant role in deciding the winner of this game. It will also be interesting to see which coach comes in with a better game plan.
Each coach is debuting in the national championship. Despite this, both coaches have experience coaching on the big stage. Coach Entz served as an assistant at North Dakota State, and Coach Cignetti was an assistant at Alabama. Both coaches know what it takes to win a championship.
2019 FCS National Championship (Championship Game History)
North Dakota State is undefeated in championship games since 2011. The only postseason loss for the Bison came in the 2016 semifinals. James Madison defeated North Dakota State by a final score of 27-17. The following year the Bison defeated the Dukes in the championship game by a final score of 17-13. If I had to pick a winner, I would probably select North Dakota State. This team always seems to find a way to win. Whether it be a blowout or a close game, the Bison rarely lose.
However, I will be rooting for James Madison because I like to see parody. No matter what result we get, I know it will come down to the fourth quarter. Furthermore, one mistake, at a crucial time, will decide who wins this game.
The 2019 FCS National Championship game comes your way on Saturday, January 11th. The game will begin at 11:00 am central from Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Will the Bison continue to stampede the competition? Will the Dukes try and form their own dynasty run?
Tune in at 11:00 on Saturday to see how the game unfolds.
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