James Madison dominates Sam Houston State 65-7 to advance to national semifinals

 

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) – Khalid Abdullah and Trai Sharp combined for 285 yards rushing and five touchdowns and fourth-seeded James Madison advanced to the FCS semifinals with a 65-7 victory over fifth-seeded Sam Houston State on Friday night.

The Dukes (12-1) advance to play the winner of Saturday’s matchup between five-time defending champion North Dakota State and South Dakota State. It will be the first trip to the semis for the Dukes since 2008, when they lost to Montana. Their only title came in 2004.

Friday’s game matched the top two scoring offenses in FCS in the Bearkats (53.1) and Dukes (48.3), but only James Madison lived up to the billing with 607 yards total offense while the Dukes collected 270 yards, had two interceptions and two fumbles lost.

Sharp rushed for 144 yards and two scores and Abdullah 141 and three touchdowns. Bryan Schor was 13-of-17 passing for 251 yards and an interception while also rushing for a score. The Dukes had 251 yards receiving with one score, that by Jonathan Kloosterman.

The Dukes’ Rashard Davis returned a punt 72 yards for a 21-0 first-quarter lead and Bryce Maginley returned a blocked punt 20 yards early in the second quarter to lead 28-0. It was 42-0 at halftime and 65-0 after three quarters.

James Madison’s 65 points are the sixth-highest in playoff history and their margin of victory second-largest to Montana’s 70-7 victory over Troy in 1996.

The Bearkats (12-1) were the last remaining undefeated FCS team and were denied a third straight trip the semifinals.