HOW THE DUKES BECAME KINGS OF FCS COMMEMORATING JAMES MADISON'S CROWNING MOMENT

James Madison’s football team almost made it look easy this season. They scored 80 points — twice — and averaged 46.7 points per game. They won 14 games, including 12 in a row. But facing the five-time defending FCS national champions in the semifinals appeared to be no easy task. As we wrote, Now comes the hard part for James Madison — North Dakota State. But a JMU fan shared a different take:

Tenney Rosenblum nailed it. JMU jumped to a 17-0 lead and pulled away for a 27-17 win on Dec. 16 after North Dakota State tied the game at 17. Then on Saturday, the Dukes defeated Youngstown State 28-14 in the FCS title game for their second national title. JMU also won in 2004 and became the eighth FCS program to earn multiple national championships. Here's how the Dukes became kings of the FCS.

GAME 1 » SEPT. 3, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 80, MOREHEAD STATE 7

The Dukes surpassed the previous school record of 76 points set against Morgan State in 1995. Of JMU's 11 TDs, 10 came on the ground — also a school record and one shy of the FCS mark set by Georgia Southern in 2004. QB Bryan Schor (below) ran for 129 yards and 3 TDs, both career highs, and threw for 109 yards on 8-of-11 passing.

GAME 2 » SEPT. 10, 2016» HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 56, CENTRAL CONN. ST. 21

Cardon Johnson and Khalid Abdullah combined for 234 yards rushing and 4 TDs as JMU set a record for points scored in a two-game span. Bryan Schor opened the game with 12 consecutive completions. He finished 17 of 21 for 205 yards and 3 TDs, including one to Brandon Ravenel (below).

GAME 3 » SEPT. 17, 2016 » CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

NORTH CAROLINA 56, JAMES MADISON 28

Khalid Abdullah (below) rushed for a game-high 116 yards and 2 touchdowns as JMU took a 21-14 lead in the first quarter. But after the Dukes piled up 222 total yards in the first 15 minutes, the Tar Heels took control and pulled away as QB Mitch Trubisky passed for a career-high 432 yards and 3 TDs. It was JMU's only loss this season.

GAME 4 » SEPT. 24, 2016 » ORONO, MAINE

JAMES MADISON 31, MAINE 20

Khalid Abdullah (below) and Cardon Johnson, who grew up together, continued running over opposing defenses together. They both topped 100 yards for the third time this season, combining for 282 rushing yards and 3 TDs. The 11th-ranked Dukes rallied from a 13-10 halftime deficit to win the CAA Football opener on ASN. The Dukes also posted their first 3 sacks of the season. More would follow.

» WATCH: JMU RUNS OVER MAINE

GAME 5 » OCT. 1, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 45, DELAWARE 20

QB Bryan Schor (below) scored 4 TDs to lead the seventh-ranked Dukes. He passed for 209 yards and a TD and rushed for 103 yards and 3 TDs, tying his career high. Khalid Abdullah ran for a game-high 159 yards with 2 TDs on only 10 carries. It was his fourth 100-yard game of the season.

GAME 6 » OCT. 8, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 31, WILLIAM & MARY 24

An interception in the end zone by CB Taylor Reynolds (below) with 1:22 remaining preserved JMU's 24-17 lead. Three plays later, Khalid Abdullah scored on a 74-yard run to clinch a thrilling win befitting the rivalry. "I told the kids that today was the 39th meeting, and the total score differential was a 1-point lead for JMU," said Dukes head coach Mike Houston. JMU now leads the series 22-17 — and by 8 points.

GAME 7 » OCT. 15, 2016 » DURHAM, N.H.

JAMES MADISON 42, NEW HAMPSHIRE 39

Bryan Schor's 5 TDs (4 passing and 1 rushing) helped the Dukes to a 42-12 lead with 10 minutes remaining. But the Wildcats rallied for 27 consecutive points to nearly pull off an upset. Seventh-ranked JMU held on to end New Hampshire's 17-game home winning streak in a CAA Football game on ASN. Watch:

"We're one or two corrections away from being a really good football team. If we can make those corrections, we'll see what we can do down the stretch." — Mike Houston, JMU's first-year head coach (below)

GAME 8 » OCT. 29, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

James Madison 84, Rhode Island 7

The eighth-ranked Dukes (7-1) scored 80 points for the second time this season, setting school and CAA Football records for points and margin of victory. Bryan Schor also set JMU's single-game completion percentage record, completing 21 of 22 passes for 309 yards and 5 TDs — 3 to TE Daniel Schiele (below).

GAME 9 » NOV. 5, 2016 » RICHMOND, VA.

JAMES MADISON 47, RICHMOND 43

The lead changed 10 times before the seventh-ranked Dukes scored twice late in the fourth quarter for a thrilling victory. Jonathan Kloosterman's 9-yard touchdown catch gave the Dukes a 40-37 lead with 1:36 remaining to play for a 40-37 lead. Khalid Abdullah scored on a 4-yard run 36 seconds later after No. 6 Richmond (7-2) turned the ball over on downs at its 8-yard line.

GAME 10 » NOV. 12, 2016 » VILLANOVA, PA.

James Madison 20, Villanova 7

The sixth-ranked Dukes (9-1) won the battle of turnovers, forcing four to clinch their second consecutive CAA Football championship. Khalid Abdullah ran for 120 yards and scored 2 TDs and Tyler Gray added 2 field goals as the CAA's top offense bested the CAA's top defense in No. 9 Villanova (7-3).

GAME 11 » NOV. 19, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 63, ELON 14

Freshman Cole Johnson (below) threw for 274 yards and 2 TDs on 12-of-13 passing in his first start and Khalid Abdullah rushed for 125 yards and a score in the regular-season finale against Elon (2-9). JMU (10-1) went undefeated in CAA Football play (8-0) for second time in school history and won 10 games for the fourth time.

GAME 12 » DEC. 3, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

James Madison 55, New Hampshire 22

FCS SECOND ROUND

Bryan Schor (below) tied the school record with 5 TD passes and the Dukes (11-1) scored 49 points in the middle quarters to beat the Wildcats (8-5) for the second time this season. Schor threw for 371 yards, fifth most in JMU single-game history, on 30-for-37 passing. JMU, which earned a first-round bye, advanced to the FCS quarterfinals for the fifth time.

GAME 13 » DEC. 9, 2016 » HARRISONBURG, VA.

JAMES MADISON 65, SAM HOUSTON ST. 7

FCS QUARTERFINALS

Bryan Schor passed for 236 of his 251 yards in the first half and Khalid Abdullah rushed for 141 yards and 3 TDs in a rout of SHSU (12-1). The Dukes (12-1) led 35-0 with 10:40 remaining in the second quarter and posted the sixth-highest point total in FCS playoff history. They held Jeremiah Briscoe, winner of the Walter Payton Award, to a season-low 143 yards on 13-of-44 passing.

GAME 14 » DEC. 16, 2016 » FARGO, N.D.

JAMES MADISON 27, NORTH DAKOTA ST. 17

FCS SEMIFINALS

Khalid Abdullah ran for 180 yards and caught a TD pass from Bryan Schor as the Dukes (13-1) stunned North Dakota State (12-2) in Fargo to earn its first trip to the FCS championship game since 2004. The Dukes led 17-0 but the five-time defending national champions rallied to tie. Tyler Gray's career-long 45-yard field goal in the third quarter put the Dukes ahead to stay. Bryan Schor's 25-yard TD pass to John Miller provided the dagger.

GAME 15 » JAN. 7, 2016 » FRISCO, TEXAS

JAMES MADISON 28, YOUNGSTOWN ST. 14

FCS CHAMPIONSHIP

The Dukes (14-1) took a 21-0 lead and cruised to their 12th consecutive victory and second national title. LB Gage Steele led a dominant defensive performance and Khalid Abdullah (below) capped a record season with 101 yards rushing and 2 TDs. The Dukes registered 5 sacks and 2 turnover while holding Youngstown State (12-4) to 21 rushing yards. The Penguns had been averaging 257.5. Abdullah, ASN's FCS Player of the Year, set JMU's single-season records with 1,809 yards and 150 points.

“It means everything. It just means that all the dreams and goals we had team came to fruition.” — Khalid Abdullah (below)

» 10 TELLING NUMBERS

7,612

JMU's total yards, a CAA Football single-season record. The Dukes also set CAA milestones for rushing yards (4,125) and first downs (380)

270

Khalid Abdullah's career points, a school record.

35

Bryan Schor's career TD passes, fifth in school history.

25.5

JMU's average margin of victory, tops in the nation. The Dukes scored 46.7 points (second) and allowed 21.2 points (16th).

14

JMU's victories, a school record, including a 14-0 record against FCS opponents.

12

JMU's consecutive victories, the longest active winning streak in FCS and second-longest in Division I behind Alabama (26).

8

Teams with multiple FCS championships, including JMU (2).

6

JMU's victories against ranked opponents, all during the last seven games.

5

Touchdowns by TE Jonathan Kloosterman on six catches in four playoff games. He had only two in the regular season. “I have such great talent around me and people tend to forget about me in the red zone,” he said.

1

National championships for first-year head coach Mike Houston, who led Lenoir-Rhyne to Division II runner-up in 2013.

» JMU coverage on ASN

Photos courtesy JMU Athletics
Created By
Mike Bambach
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