James Madison vs. the Fargo Dome: is there a strategy?

The following comes directly from James Madison:

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Silencing one of the nation’s top offenses in a 65-7 victory over No. 5 Sam Houston State in the quarterfinals, No. 4 James Madison readies for its toughest test of the season when the Dukes face top-seeded North Dakota State inside the Fargodome on Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. ET.

Friday night marks the second meeting ever between JMU and North Dakota State. JMU last played a road playoff game back on Dec. 3, 2011, in what was the teams’ first meeting. NDSU won that meeting 26-14 en route to eventually winning its first of five straight national titles.

In that game, NDSU’s Sam Ojuri rushed for two touchdowns and a 60-yard touchdown by D.J. McNorton midway through the fourth put the game away for the Bison. Justin Thorpethrew for one touchdown while catching a touchdown pass.

The meeting was also the last road playoff game the Dukes played, having played the last four at home.

The Bison enters Friday’s semifinal game with a 12-1 record and are seeking their sixth straight trip to the FCS championship game, having won the previous five titles. The Missouri Valley Conference champions advanced with a 36-10 come-from-behind win against South Dakota State, avenging a regular-season loss to the Jackrabbits.

NDSU has played eight games against nationally-ranked teams, having gone 7-1 in those games, including a 23-21 win at then-No. 11 Iowa in September.

The Bison average 30.1 points per game while allowing 15.8 per outing. Over the last four home games, NDSU has conceded 9.3 points per contest. Easton Stick has passed for over 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for more than 650 and seven scores.

Lance Dunn and King Frazer have combined for 1,775 yards and 16 touchdowns, and Darrius Shepherd and RJ Urzendowski both have tallied more than 500 receiving yards.

Chris Klieman is in his third year as head coach of the Bison and sixth year overall with the program. He has tallied a 40-4 overall record at the helm and led the Bison to national titles in 2014 and 2015, for their fourth and fifth straight championship.

For the fourth straight year, a JMU star was named the state’s top Division I football player, as Bryan Schor was voted the winner of the Dudley Award. Schor, the CAA Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the STATS FCS Walter Payton Award, received 11 of the possible 12 first-place votes to mark the third consecutive year a JMU quarterback won.

Vad Lee was the first back-to-back Dudley Award winner in 2014 and 2015, while Stephon Robertson garnered the accolade in 2013. Rodney Landers also won in 2008, as JMU has won five of the seven by an FCS school. The Dukes are just one off of Virginia Tech’s five straight, which it won from 2002-06.

JMU advanced to the semifinals for just the third time in history and for the first time since the 2008 season. The Dukes first made it to the semis in 2004, beating William & Mary 48-34 on the road, prior to defeating Montana in the title game. Four years later, JMU and Montana met again, with the Griz leaving town with a 35-27 win. The quarterfinal victory over Sam Houston evened JMU’s all-time playoff record to 11-11.

In JMU’s 65-7 triumph against Sam Houston State, the Dukes broke several playoff program records.

In addition to it being the second-largest margin of victory, JMU set playoff records for points scores (65), points allowed (7) and total offense (607).

Khalid Abdullah became the second JMU back to score three rushing touchdowns in the playoffs, joining Kenny Sims, who did it in 1991. Abdullah and Trai Sharp each surpassed 100 rushing yards, marking the third time JMU had multiple 100-yard rushers in the playoffs.

Domo Taylor made a 64-yard reception, which turned out to be the third-longest by a JMU receiver in the postseason.

In last Friday’s win against Sam Houston State, Khalid Abdullah went over 100 yards for the ninth time in 2016. He became the third JMU player to surpass 1,500 rushing yards.

Now standing at 1,528, he is 191 yards shy of Curtis Keaton for second place (1,719) and 242 away from Rodney Landers’ JMU record (1,770). Should JMU reach the championship game, Abdullah needs to average 121 yards per game for the single-season record.