(STATS) - It's been about the offense at No. 5 James Madison this season, but the defense delivered both a 20-7 win over No. 9 Villanova and the CAA Football championship on Saturday.
The Dukes (9-1, 7-0), who have lost only to ACC member North Carolina in coach Mike Houston's first season, earned their second straight and fifth overall CAA title and their first outright crown since 2008. They collected the conference's automatic qualifier for their third straight postseason appearance.
Junior quarterback Bryan Schor was knocked from the game in the second quarter with an injury, but Khalid Abdullah (33 carries, 101 yards) ran for a touchdown in each half and Tyler Gray kicked 21- and 27-yard field goals in the second half. The Dukes defense stopped Villanova (7-3, 5-2) on downs twice inside the JMU 25-yard line and blocked one field goal.
"It was very frustrating. Their defense is very athletic," Villanova running back Aaron Forbes said. "They run to the ball very well and we just had to keep tapping, keep tapping at the rock. We tried, but they just happened to come out on top today."
JMU entered the game ranked second in the FCS in scoring offense (49.1 ppg), but the tempo was more to Villanova's liking. The Wildcats had been No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (14.9 ppg).
But JMU intercepted Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk four times. Bednarczyk scored on a 56-yard run in the second quarter.
STATS FCS TOP 25 SCHEDULE=
SATURDAY, NOV. 12
No. 1 Sam Houston State 48, Northwestern State 16
Jeremiah Briscoe completed 29 of 46 passes for 337 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions. Yedidiah Louis (11 receptions, 125 yards, one touchdown) and Nathan Stewart (6-98-2) were his go-to receivers.
The Southland Conference title will be on the line when the top-ranked Bearkats (10-0, 8-0) host Central Arkansas next Saturday.
No. 2 Jacksonville State 33, Murray State 15
Roc Thomas rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns - all in the second half - as Jacksonville State clinched a share of its third straight Ohio Valley Conference title.
JSU (9-1, 6-0) is playing one fewer OVC game than UT Martin (7-5, 6-1), which it hosts next Saturday. If UT Martin ends the Gamecocks' 23-game OVC winning streak, the Skyhawks will have one more conference win, but they will share the title because the conference bases its standings on the number of losses.
No. 3 Eastern Washington 48, Idaho State 17
EWU senior Cooper Kupp set the Division I record for career receptions and scored on a 3-yard run and 76-yard punt return in the third quarter. His seventh and final catch was the 396th of his career, pushing him past former Elon wide receiver Terrell Hudgins' 395 from 2006-09.
Antoine Custer rushed for 141 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (9-1, 7-0), who will earn a share of the Big Sky Conference title with a win at Portland State next Friday night.
No. 4 North Dakota State 41, Indiana State 17
The five-time defending FCS champion Bison (9-1, 6-1 Missouri Valley) celebrated Senior Day by scoring the game's first 31 points, including quarterback Easton Stick's two touchdown carries.
Linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker had a career-high 12 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss and a pass breakup.
No. 5 The Citadel 30, VMI 20
The Citadel (10-0, 8-0) completed a perfect season in the Southern Conference for the first time as quarterback Dominique Allen had 246 yards of total offense (133 passing, 113 rushing) and both rushed and passed for a touchdown.
Wofford 36, No. 7 Chattanooga 28
Wofford (7-3, 5-2 Southern) beat Chattanooga for the first time since 2011 as Lorenzo Long rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown and Lennox McAfee had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score. The Mocs (8-2, 6-3), who play at Alabama next Saturday, were held to 88 rushing yards on 35 carries.
No. 8 Richmond 31, Delaware 17
Kyle Lauletta threw for three touchdowns - two to Garrett Hudson and one to Brian Brown (six receptions, 139 yards) - as Richmond (8-2, 5-2 CAA) rebounded from a loss. Deontez Thompson carried the ball 24 times for 132 yards and a touchdown.
No. 10 North Carolina A&T 45, Delaware State 14
Tarik Cohen rushed for 221 yards and two long touchdowns on only 13 carries to keep North Carolina A&T (9-1, 7-0) in a first-place tie with North Carolina Central (8-2, 7-0) in the MEAC. They meet for the conference title at N.C. Central next Saturday.
Cohen, who scored on 84- and 59-yard runs, has eight 200-yard games in his career.
No. 11 South Dakota State 28, South Dakota 21
Quarterback Taryn Christion scored on a 7-yard run with 4:39 to play to lift South Dakota State (7-3, 6-1). The Jackrabbits rushed for 415 yards, led by Brady Mengarelli (161 yards) and Isaac Wallace (102 yards, one touchdown).
No. 12 North Dakota 38, Northern Arizona 31
Deion Harris returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown with 2:43 to play to break a 31-31 tie and give North Dakota (9-2, 8-0) at least a share of its first Big Sky Conference title. The Fighting Hawks scored the final 28 points after trailing 31-10 midway through the third quarter.
John Santiago rushed for two touchdowns and the UND defense forced four turnovers to overcome Northern Arizona quarterback Blake Kemp's 416 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
No. 13 Central Arkansas 31, Nicholls 24
Central Arkansas (9-1, 8-0 Southland) forced four turnovers, including Jaylon Lofton's 79-yard interception return for a touchdown which gave the Bears a 31-21 lead with 8:15 left.
Carlos Blackman had two rushing touchdowns for the Bears, who will play at top-ranked Sam Houston State next Saturday for the Southland Conference title.
No. 14 Charleston Southern 48, No. 25 Liberty 26
Quarterback Shane Bucenell threw for three touchdowns and rushed for one as Charleston Southern kept alive its hope for the Big South Conference title. The Buccaneers (6-3, 3-1) host Kennesaw State (8-2, 3-1) next Saturday and the winner will share the conference title with Liberty (6-4, 4-1).
No. 15 Coastal Carolina 31, Bryant 21
Running backs Osharmar Abercrombie (114 yards, two touchdowns) and De'Angelo Henderson (98 yards, two touchdowns) returned from injuries to fuel Coastal Carolina (8-2) to its fifth straight victory.
Weber State 22, No. 16 Cal Poly 15
Cal Poly's No. 2-in-the-FCS rushing offense was held to 190 yards - 180 below its average - in falling to 6-4 with its second straight loss. Jadrian Clark passed for two touchdowns to spark Weber State (6-4, 5-2), which had lost its two previous games.
No. 17 Youngstown State 21, Southern Illinois 14
The Penguins (7-3, 5-3 Missouri Valley) moved a step closer to their first playoff bid in 10 years, breaking a 14-14 tie on Hunter Wells' 10-yard touchdown pass to Darien Townsend with 4:59 remaining.
Jody Webb rushed for 167 yards on 21 carries in the win.
Northern Colorado 28, No. 18 Montana 25
Kyle Sloter's 5-yard touchdown pass to Theron Verna with 3:35 left to play helped Northern Colorado (6-4, 4-3) hand Montana (6-4, 3-4) a potentially devastating Big Sky loss.
Joey Counts scored on a pair of runs for the Griz. They had won 13 straight games in the series since UNC had won the first meeting in 1976.
Northern Iowa 30, No. 19 Western Illinois 23
UNI (5-5, 4-3 Missouri Valley) hopes it kept alive the chance for an at-large playoff bid and handed Western Illinois (6-4, 3-4) its second straight loss. Eli Dunne passed for two touchdowns and Michael Malloy rushed for a pair of scores.
No. 20 Grambling State 21, Alabama State 0
With its second shutout in three games, Grambling State (7-1, 7-0) remained in first place in the SWAC West Division with Southern (7-2, 7-0). Wide receiver Chad Williams had 10 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown.
Albany 36, No. 21 New Hampshire 25
New Hampshire's bid for a 13th consecutive playoff bid took a hit as it fell to 6-4. Albany sophomore Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks carried the ball 39 times for a program-record 298 yards and three second-half touchdowns.
The Great Danes (6-4, 3-4 CAA), who were behind 22-0 in the first half, scored the final 22 points after trailing 25-14 in the third quarter.
No. 22 Samford 24, Mercer 19
Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges completed 39 of 43 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns, and the Bears (7-3, 5-2 Southern) ended a two-game losing streak. Emmanuel Obajimi (13 receptions, 183 yards, one touchdown) and Karel Hamilton (15-108-2) both went over 100 receiving yards.
FRIDAY, NOV. 11=
Penn 27, No. 24 Harvard 14
Penn (6-3, 5-1 Ivy) broke a 14-14 tie on Alek Torgersen's 2-yard touchdown pass to Justin Watson with 15 seconds remaining. Taylor Hendrickson recovered a Harvard fumble two plays later and returned it 18 yards for a score as time ran out.
The Quakers' second straight win over Harvard (7-2, 5-1) created a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League, also with Princeton (7-2, 5-1)..
No. 23 Lehigh