Shepherd hauled in a 50-yard landing move within the second quarter of NDSU’s 17-thirteen victory towards James Madison for the Division I FCS championship. For Shepherd, it was his first landing catch this season and in addition the most important offensive play in a recreation dominated by protection.
“We would have liked to hit the house run,” Bison head coach Chris Klieman stated. “Not many groups hit a house run on these guys.”
Shepherd completed with seventy four yards on six catches to steer the Bison in receiving. Getting into the championship recreation, Shepherd had 35 catches for 485 yards—no touchdowns. That zero modified on the most important stage and helped NDSU win its sixth FCS championship in seven seasons.
“Such an enormous second, simply lots of ups and downs this season, nevertheless it’s simply so particular to have that play occur,” stated Shepherd, who’s from Blue Springs, Mo. “It was an excellent play name.”
Shepherd’s massive landing catch the gave the Bison a 14-three lead with four minutes, 14 seconds remaining within the first half. These proved to be the sport-profitable factors and the ultimate landing the Bison might muster towards a stingy JMU protection.
“We thought that look could possibly be there,” Shepherd stated. “It went simply how we deliberate it, it was an unimaginable play. The execution was simply good.”
On the play, Shepherd lined up within the slot to quarterback Easton Stick’s left. Stick took a shotgun snap and faked a handoff proper earlier than lofting a cross to Shepherd, who was breaking towards the sideline. Shepherd caught the ball in stride and he broke free from the James Madison secondary and raced into the top zone.
“Obtained the protection that we needed, and actually was all on Darrius operating away from that again-aspect security,” Stick stated. “Offensive line protected rather well. Lance (Dunn) bought the pretend nicely. Darrius was capable of run beneath and get us in the long run zone, and that was an enormous play for us.”
Shepherd stated the important thing was for the Bison offense to remain affected person in a recreation dominated by each defenses. NDSU completed with 264 yards. The Dukes have been restricted to 241 yards.
“It’s a must to maintain ready for that second and hold believing that you’re going to make that play,” Shepherd stated. “We stored our heads down and we stored pushing. We knew that the protection had our again. We needed to maintain counting on one another.”