Saturday, January 7, 2017
FRISCO, Texas - James Madison held Youngstown State to 292 total yards on Saturday afternoon and rolled to a 28-14 victory, as the Dukes captured the 2016 NCAA Division I Football Championship, the second title in program history.
The Dukes, who finished the season 14-1 and undefeated against FCS foes, saw their defensive line dominate from start to finish, holding the Penguins (12-4) to just 21 rushing yards after YSU entered the contest averaging 257.5 yards on the ground.
Senior linebacker Gage Steele paced an all-around dominant performance by the JMU defense, racking up six tackles, including five solo stops, a pair of sacks and a pass breakup as the Dukes forced a pair of crucial turnovers in the third quarter to put the game away.
No defensive player had more tackles for the Dukes than junior defensive back Jordan Brown's seven, but nine different players had at least three, while sophomore defensive back Curtis Oliver picked off his second pass of the season and sophomore Darrious Carter scooped up a fumble.
- JMU won its 12th game in a row for the longest active streak in FCS football and second-longest in all of Division I behind Alabama (26)
- JMU's 14-1 overall record included a perfect 14-0 mark against FCS opponents and set a new school record for victories
- JMU finished as the nation's leader in scoring margin at +25.5 points per game, second in points per game (46.7) and 16th in points allowed (21.2)
- JMU went 6-0 vs. ranked opponents this season, all during the last seven contests
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
- Abdullah became JMU's single-season rushing record holder with 1,809 yards, passing record-holder Rodney Landers (1,770 in 2008).
- Abdullah increased his school records for season (22) and career (41) rushing touchdowns as well as his records for combined rushing and receiving touchdowns for season (25) and career (45)
- Abdullah is also JMU's season (150) and career (270) record holder for scoring
- Schor climbed to eighth in career total offense with 4,697 yards
- Schor tied for fifth in career touchdown passes with 35
- JMU set CAA records for single-season rushing offense (4,125), total offense (7,612) and first downs (380)
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
JMU finished the season 16th nationally in points allowed after ranking 77th in 2015 in that category. In addition to allowing 21.2 points per game, the Dukes limited opponents to 16.4 points per game over the last eight games and 15 per game in the playoffs, all against ranked teams. Also, 21 of the 60 postseason points allowed came in the final two minutes of games in which the outcome was already decided.