When you walk into a bar or restaurant in Frisco, Texas during the week of the FCS Championship, it's nearly like the Bison have never left. "As a quarterback, you've just got to play the game".
It's #1 vs. #2 showdown. "Without a doubt just trying to cherish every moment".
From Thursday's practice, Jalen Allison, Jaylaan Wimbush and Lance Dunn were on the practice field in pads for North Dakota State. And, defensively, James Madison boasts the nation's best scoring defense by surrendering just 10.7 points per game, while North Dakota State comes in second at 11.5 points.
"It's a tremendous honor to be here representing James Madison University and the CAA", JMU head coach Mike Houston said.
"I think to get to this stage you have to have a quarterback that's a victor, that's a playmaker, that the moment's not too big for them", Bison coach Chris Klieman said.
Both teams are experienced with playing outdoors at Toyota Stadium in January.
Houston speaks from experience with his team a win from an undefeated season as the defending champion.
The Bison will be looking for payback after the Dukes ended their championship run last season
Stick is one of the country's most efficient passers, and the 6-foot-2, 221-pound junior ranks third in yards per completion. "These are times that you'll talk about for the rest of your life as a player". So when the Bison came up a game short of the FCS national championship last season, it was a shot to the gut. "And the fact that they made it to the semifinals last year, and they're back in the finals this year, I mean really you're talking about a seven-year run where there's just complete dominance week in and week out".
"Oh no doubt", says Houston. "We're excited to get on the road and join the fun down there", said Schmitz.
"Obviously, there's people out there who don't respect us very much".
JMU senior quarterback Bryan Schor says, "This is the reason why we play football".
Organizers said it's a great way to get pumped for the game.
Stick couldn't beat James Madison with his arm when the Dukes slowed North Dakota State's run-first offense last season.
No Football Championship Subdivision team other than James Madison or North Dakota State has won a national championship since Eastern Washington accomplished the feat in 2010.
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