HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — It all comes down to one game. The national champion will be crowned this Saturday when No. 1 JMU faces No. 2 North Dakota State in the 2018 NCAA Division I Football Championship game on Jan. 6.
Kickoff is set for noon ET (11 a.m. CT) at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas and will be nationally televised on ESPN2. It will also be streamed on ESPN3 and ESPN app and can be heard on the JMU/Sprint Broadcast Network, with pregame coverage starting at 11 a.m. ET.
Saturday marks the third meeting between JMU and NDSU, as all three games have occurred in the FCS playoffs. NDSU won the initial meeting in the 2011 FCS Second Round (26-14), and JMU won the latter meeting in the 2016 FCS Semifinals (27-17). Both of those games were played in Fargo, N.D.
Making their 14th FCS playoff appearance, JMU looks to repeat as the NCAA Division I national champion. The Dukes won titles in 2004 in Chattanooga and 2016 in Frisco. JMU is making its program-record fourth straight playoff berth. It is 16-11 overall in the playoffs. This is the fourth time JMU has won multiple postseason games, having gone 4-0 in both national title runs, 3-0 this year and 2-1 in the 2008 playoffs.
JMU is 2-0 on neutral ground, as both have occurred in JMU’s national championship victories. The Dukes are also 8-4 at home and 6-7 in true road games. In last year’s championship season, JMU outscored its four opponents 175-60 (43.75 to 15.0 avg). This year, the Dukes have outscored the three opponents 108-51 (36.0 to 17.0 avg). Over the past two years, JMU has had the three largest scoring outputs in the playoffs. It scored 65 against Sam Houston State and 55 versus New Hampshire in 2016, and tallied 56 against South Dakota State.
JMU’s 51-16 triumph in the FCS Semifinals marked JMU’s program-record 26th consecutive win, extending the CAA record and longest active streak in all of NCAA Division I. With Mary Hardin-Baylor’s loss in the Division III title game, JMU took over as the win-streak leader at every NCAA division.
JMU’s streak currently ranks second all-time in FCS history. The Dukes are one of two teams with active double-digit win streaks, as Celebration Bowl champion N.C. A&T has won 12 straight. As of Dec. 31, only two teams at the FBS level have won 10 or more in a row, as UCF has claimed 12 straight and FAU has won 10 consecutive. The Dukes have also won a CAA-record 18 straight league games and became the league’s first team ever to go 8-0 back-to-back years.
The Dukes last saw defeat on Sept. 24, 2016 – a 56-28 setback at ACC-foe North Carolina. JMU has also won 27 straight games against FCS opponents, with the last loss coming on Dec. 5, 2015 versus Colgate in the second round of the playoffs. The Dukes have won 17 straight at Bridgeforth Stadium and hold a program-record 10-game win streak in true road games.