James Madison vs. North Dakota State: FCS Playoffs 2021 TV Info, Time, More

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 17, 2021

10 September 2016: North Dakota State Bison running back Lance Dunn (10) during a game against the East Washington Eagles at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota. (Photo by Zackary Brame/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The first of the two FCS semifinals to be played will have the feel of a championship game.

The James Madison Dukes and North Dakota State Bison met in two of the past four finals at that level of the sport.

North Dakota State is the dominant power at the FCS level. It has eight national titles since 2011, and it breezed through its two playoff games to reach the final.

James Madison also had an easy time with its first two postseason opponents, outscoring those foes 87-26.

The Dukes face the most unenviable task in all of FCS football by making a trip up to the Fargodome. North Dakota State is almost unbeatable inside its home stadium and is consequently favored to win Friday night.


James Madison vs. North Dakota State Info

Date: Friday, December 17

Start Time: 9:15 p.m. ET


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app.


Game Odds

Spread: North Dakota State (-5.5) 

Over/Under: 48

Moneyline: North Dakota State -210 (bet $210 to win $100); James Madison +170 (bet $100 to win $170)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook



There will be a national championship-style atmosphere in North Dakota on Friday night.

The winner of the semifinal contest will be viewed as the favorite to win the FCS national title on January 8 in Frisco, Texas.

North Dakota State claimed two of its past three titles over James Madison in tight, one-possession affairs.

The Bison will try to win the contest through a rushing attack that posted 278 yards on 49 carries in the quarterfinal victory over the East Tennessee State Buccaneers. Seven North Dakota State players earned at least one carry in the victory, and TaMerik Williams led the dominant effort on the interior with 91 yards and two scores off 15 carries

James Madison is ranked fourth in rushing yards allowed, so Williams and Co. may have trouble finding some seams on the interior.

The same could be said about the Dukes' ground attack, as it is set to face the third-best rushing defense in the FCS. North Dakota State gave up the fewest points per game on the FCS level. It allowed three opponents to score 20 or more points in 13 games.

The Bison will be tasked with slowing down JMU's passing combination of Cole Johnson and his two 1,000-yard receivers. Antwane Wells Jr. and Kris Thornton combined for 155 catches, 2,247 receiving yards and 27 touchdowns.

North Dakota State's top defensive aim should be to shut down at least one of those wideouts. James Madison does not have another player with more than 300 receiving yards.

If NDSU gets a few quick stops, it could flip the field in its favor and begin to control the clock through its ground unit.

It may take some time for either offense to get going since both defenses rank near or at the top of a handful of defensive categories. We should expect another tight affair between the Bison and Dukes, but it is hard to pick against NDSU's home-field advantage.

North Dakota State has seven double-digit victories inside the Fargodome this season, and until JMU proves it can beat the Bison, the home side has to be the pick to advance to the FCS National Championship.


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