No. 1 James Madison headlines FCS playoff field
By CRAIG HALEY
(STATS) - The FCS playoffs continued to take shape on Saturday with everybody in the 24-team field lining up behind defending champion James Madison.
The top-ranked and unbeaten Dukes beat No. 11 Elon 31-3 to clinch an outright title in CAA Football and the conference's automatic playoff bid.
Quarterback Bryan Schor fueled JMU's 23rd straight win with 290 yards of total offense and three rushing touchdowns. The Dukes (11-0) are expected to be the No. 1 seed when the pairings are announced during an ESPNU selection show Sunday (11 a.m. ET).
"I think it says, number one, this is a group that, obviously, has talent," second-year coach Mike Houston said, "but, number two, I think this is a group that understands the things that are important and the things that aren't important. (It is) a group that understands the value of 'we' and 'us' and doesn't get caught up in the little stuff and the noise, and all the things on the outside. It's a special group of kids."
Ten teams earn automatic bids as conference champions. Also entering the field were Central Arkansas (Southland), Central Connecticut State (Northeast), Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), Kennesaw State (Big South), Lehigh (Patriot), North Dakota State (Missouri Valley), San Diego (Pioneer), Southern Utah (Big Sky) and Wofford (Southern).
Fourteen teams will qualify for the playoff field with at-large bids.
Three conferences don't send their champion to the playoffs. Yale (9-1) ended its season as the outright Ivy League champ, while MEAC champ North Carolina A&T (11-0) will play the winner of the SWAC championship game in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Dec. 16.
Updated November 18, 2017
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