5. Andrew Ankrah vs. Colin Conner – While the JMU secondary is great, there’s no greater disrupter to the passing game than a terrific defensive end. Ankrah is just that as a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the best defensive player in the FCS. San Diego’s Jonathan Petersen gave Conner trouble in the first round. Now he’ll have to contain Ankrah, who has 15.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
4. Riley Stapleton vs. Marquise Bridges – Both have stepped up big this postseason. Stapleton has 259 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the last two games. Bridges came in for the injured starting cornerbacks for NDSU and had two interceptions in the semifinals. After relatively quiet regular seasons, the two play a huge role in Frisco.
3. JMU’s offensive line vs. NDSU’s third-down blitz – In the Dukes’ closest playoff game against Weber State, Bryan Schor was sacked three times. He was also sacked five times in the second round against Stony Brook. The young offensive line played much better in the semifinals, but face a tougher test against the Bison. NDSU likes to bring pressure on third down with its linebackers. Jabril Cox, Nick DeLuca and Levi Jordheim have combined for 12.5 sacks.
2. NDSU’s wide receivers vs. JMU’s cornerbacks – The Bison receivers had just eight catches last season against JMU. They’ll have to win the 1-on-1 battles to give NDSU a chance to run the ball. The Duke’s secondary is the best in the FCS, allowing them to key in on run-first offenses like the Bison’s.
1. Easton Stick vs. Bryan Schor – Neither quarterback was an all-American this season. But if you started an FCS team and had to choose a quarterback, your two choices should come down to Stick and Schor. As to which one? Well that will be decided in Frisco. And whichever quarterback has the better game is most likely going to decide who wins the national championship.