James Madison, North Dakota State to ramp up preparations

(STATS) – The holiday returns will have to wait for James Madison and North Dakota State, it’s time to get back to work.

After a break for the holidays, both top-seeded JMU (14-0) and second-seeded NDSU (13-1) are set to return to their respective campuses and continue preparations for the FCS Championship Game on Jan. 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

The two current giants of the subdivision meet in one of the more anticipated matchups in the 40-year history of the FCS playoffs. NDSU won a record five straight national titles from 2011-15 before JMU ended the Bison’s run in last year’s semifinals en route to winning its second all-time title.

“It was a tough regular season, it was a tough road through the playoffs, but I think what you see is two teams going to Frisco, Texas, that are both are very talented, they both have very passionate alumni bases. It’s probably going to be pretty wild down there,” James Madison coach Mike Houston said.

“It’s going to be a great matchup.”

The champions from the two top conferences in the FCS are matched in the final for the second consecutive season, James Madison out of CAA Football and North Dakota State from the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Dukes are on a 26-game winning streak – second in FCS history only to the Bison’s 33 in a row from 2012-14 – including a 28-14 win over Youngstown State in last year’s title game.

The two veteran squads posted blowout wins in their semifinals and are experienced with the three-week layoff leading into the championship game. Much of their game plans will be installed in the coming days before the teams travel to Frisco midway through next week.