Back On the Road to Open Postseason Play: The James Madison football squad will play its third straight road game when it heads to No. 2 seed North Dakota State for the second round of the 2011 NCAA Division I Football Championships, Dec. 3. The Dukes won last week's playoff opener at Eastern Kentucky, 20-17, after ending the regular season with a 34-17 victory at Massachusetts, Nov. 19.
The Coaches: James Madison Head Coach Mickey Matthews (West Texas State, '76) is in his 13th season at JMU and as a head coach overall with an 96-60 record.
North Dakota State Head Coach Craig Bohl (Nebraska, '82) is in his ninth year as head coach of the Bison and as a head coach overall, with a 71-31 record.
Longest Trip Ever For JMU: The trip from Harrisonburg, Va., to Fargo, N.D., is the longest trip in the history of JMU Football. The flying distance between the two cities is 1,079 miles, the first journey of more than 1,000 miles. The longest previous trip was 995 miles, as the Dukes went to Lake Charles, La., and played McNeese State in 1996, defeating the Cowboys, 24-10.
History With North Dakota State: Today is the first time that JMU and NDSU will meet on the football field. However, it is not the first time that the Dukes have played a Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) team in the playoffs. Madison traveled to Ohio and played Youngstown State in 2006, losing a tough 35-31 decision. As a matter of fact, YSU is the only current MVFC team that the Dukes have ever played, holding just a 1-3 mark against the Penguins, with the lone win coming on the road in 1992. That 2006 playoff meeting was also the only time current Head Coach Mickey Matthews has only faced an MVFC team in his career.
Missouri Valley Football Conference - MVFC leads 3-1
(Home 0-1, Away 1-2)
Youngstown State (1-3)
Year Location W/L Score
10/20/90 Home L 15-31
11/9/91 Away L 21-28
9/26/92 Away W 52-49
11/25/06 Away L 31-35
Playoff Appearances for the Dukes: After missing the playoffs for two seasons, the Dukes are making their 10th appearance in school history in the Division I Football Championships. Overall, JMU is 9-8 in NCAA Postseason action, including going 5-6 away from home. Current Head Coach Mickey Matthews is making his sixth appearance as JMU's coach in the NCAA Postseason. He holds a 7-4 record in the playoffs, including the run to the 2004 National Championship and the 2008 appearance in the NCAA Semifinals.
Playoff History - 9-8
(Home: 3-2; Away: 5-6; Neutral: 1-0)
Year Opponent Loc. W/L Score
11/28/87 Marshall A L 12-41
11/30/91 Delaware A W-2ot 42-35
12/7/91 Samford H L 21-24
11/26/94 Troy State H W 45-26
12/3/94 Marshall A L-ot 21-28
11/25/95 App. State A L 24-31
11/27/99 Troy State A L 7-27
11/27/04 Lehigh A W 14-13
12/4/04 Furman A W 14-13
12/10/04 William & Mary A W 48-34
12/17/04 Montana N W 31-21
11/25/06 Youngstown St. A L 31-35
11/24/07 App. State A L 27-28
11/29/08 Wofford H W 38-35
12/6/08 Villanova H W 31-27
12/12/08 Montana H L 27-35
11/26/11 E. Kentucky A W 20-17
Not Familiar With Playing In A Dome: This will be the first time that any member of this Madison team has played a college football game in a dome. The last time that JMU was in a dome was in 1987, the final time that Madison and East Tennessee State met, which was a 28-24 win for the Dukes. In the program's history, JMU is 3-1 in dome stadiums, all at ETS.
For current Head Coach Mickey Matthews, he was last coaching in a dome in his final game on the University of Georgia staff as defensive backs coach in 1998. That contest was the Peach Bowl (now the Chick-Fil-A Bowl), as the Bulldogs defeated Virginia 35-33 in the annual game played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
Close Battles: JMU was in battles throughout the 2010 season. Of the 11 games last season, nine of them were decided by seven points or less, with the Dukes posting a 5-4 mark in those games, including just a 3-4 record in CAA games. One of those tight games was the 10-3 victory over Liberty in Bridgeforth Stadium.
This year, the Dukes have been involved in six games decided by seven points or less, with JMU earning victories in four, including last week's final-play victory at Eastern Kentucky. In fact, Madison has had two wins on field goals on the final play of the game this season (the other a 40-yard field goal to defeat Liberty). Previously, Coach Mickey Matthews had only two other games decided in closing-seconds field goals (Hofstra - 2002 in double overtime, though Hofstra had final possession and William & Mary - 2005).
James Madison Football On TV: The Dukes will be on television six times this year, with two of them at the friendly confines of Bridgeforth Stadium. The first was the season opener at FBS North Carolina, Sept. 3 as part of the ACC Television package along with ESPN3, followed by the Sept. 17 contest at Liberty, with that televised on the Flames Television Network and ESPN3. The Dukes' CAA opener at William & Mary was the first of four conference contests involving JMU being broadcast. The first two league games at the renovated Bridgeforth Stadium were broadcast when Madison hosted Richmond on Oct. 1 and Maine on Oct. 8. The final regular season television game was the 23-20 loss in the Oct. 29 contest at CAA-newcomer Old Dominion. Last week, JMU defeated Eastern Kentucky, 20-17, on ESPNU and ESPN3, making the Dukes 4-3 on TV this year and 4-2 in FCS contests.
JMU Has 11 Players Earn All-CAA Awards: James Madison University showed the fruits of the program's late surge to the playoffs by placing 11 players on the All-Colonial Athletic Association teams, announced by the league today. The awards, voted on by the 11 CAA Football head coaches, were handed out following a 2011 season which saw as many as nine league squads ranked among the Top 25.
Three Dukes earned first team honors, as redshirt-junior offensive lineman Earl Watford, redshirt-senior defensive end D.J. Bryant and redshirt-sophomore linebacker Stephon Robertson all garnered the top-level accolade for the first time in their careers.
Madison picked up six awards on the second team, as redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott earned recognition at both running back and punt returner, with redshirt-senior offensive lineman Roane Babington, redshirt-junior h-back/tight end Brian Barlow, redshirt-senior linebacker Pat Williams and redshirt-junior punter David Skahn all joining Scott on the second team. Babington earned Second Team All-CAA for the second time in his career, while Scott was a third-team selection at punt returner last year.
Three more JMU players were honored with Third Team All-CAA awards, as redshirt-senior wide receiver Kerby Long, redshirt-senior defensive lineman Lamar Middleton and redshirt-freshman safety Dean Marlowe were named at their respective positions. Marlowe was one of just three defensive freshman in the league to earn All-CAA honors
JMU Football History: The 2011 season is JMU's 40th season of football, its 38th varsity football season, its 33rd season with football scholarship players and its 32nd season competing at what is now the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level, formerly Division I-AA.
JMU began football in 1972, moved to a recognized varsity schedule in 1974, first awarded scholarships for the 1979 season and moved to Division I-AA in 1980. JMU moved from Division III to Division II in 1979 and to then-Division I-AA for the 1980 season.
JMU's top seasons in addition to winning the 2004 NCAA Division I-AA championship (13-2) have been in 2008 when the Dukes reached the FCS semifinals as the playoffs' top-seeded team and compiled a 12-2 record, 2007 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 2006 (9-3, NCAA playoffs), 1999 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 1995 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 1994 (10-3, NCAA playoffs, second round), 1991 (9-4, NCAA playoffs, second round), 1987 (9-3, NCAA playoffs), 1982 (8-3), 1978 (8-2, No. 9, Division III), and 1975 (9-0-1, College Division).
Last Time Out - Keeping the Season Going With Final-Play Win at Eastern Kentucky: Redshirt-sophomore Cameron Starke drilled a 35-yard field goal into a strong wind as time expired to lift #17 James Madison to a 20-17 win at Eastern Kentucky in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship at Roy Kidd Stadium, Nov. 26. It was the Dukes' third consecutive victory.
Late in the fourth quarter, JMU halted EKU's drive as redshirt-sophomore Stephon Robertson flushed quarterback T.J. Pryor from the pocket and forced him into redshirt-senior linebacker Pat Williams for a sack at the EKU 18. Jordan Berry's 46-yard punt was muffed but recovered by JMU to give them possession on its own 36. From there, the Dukes got a first down and moved to the EKU 43 for a 4th-and-2 with 1:34 left in regulation. The Colonels called a time out as JMU was setting up to punt. The Dukes reconsidered, sending the offense out for the play and converting it as redshirt-sophomore running back Dae'Quan Scott got four yards to keep the drive alive. Madison earned another first down and got the ball down to the EKU 19 with one second remaining. Two time outs were called by the hosts to try and ice the JMU kicker, but Starke stepped up and drilled his second game-winning field goal of the season down the middle to propel the Dukes to the second round.
JMU controlled the flow of the game, holding the ball for a staggering 40:30 of the contest while outgaining the Colonels 393-213. In the second half alone, JMU has 52 offensive plays to just 14 for the Colonels while keeping the ball for more than 23 minutes. The Dukes rushed for 244 yards in the game and threw for 149, while limiting EKU to just 119 yards on the ground, more than 80 yards below its season rushing average. Madison also didn't give the ball up on a turnover in the game to a team that came in as a plus-16 in the turnover column for the year.
JMU was led by redshirt-junior quarterback Justin Thorpe, who gained a career-high 93 yards on 28 carries while he was also 9-for-16 for 149 yards through the air. Scott and redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson both chipped in solid games on the running attack, with Scott going for 75 yards on 24 carries and Anderson recording 15 carries for 71 yards and the two scores. Three players reeled in two receptions each, led by wide receiver Renard Robinson's 50 yards. (Full recap on page 22).
Grinding It Out on the Ground: JMU's ground attack continues to be a struggle for opponents to handle. Heading into this weekend's action, the Dukes are second in the Colonial Athletic Association and rank 10th in the country at 234.08 yards per game. Since the season opener at North Carolina, JMU is averaging 250.6 yards on the ground along with 23 rushing touchdowns in 11 FCS games.
Individually, redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott is fourth in the CAA and 20th nationally at 103.42 yards per contest while redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson is now seventh in the league and 65th in the country at 69.50 yards a game. Additionally, this season marks the first time in Head Coach Mickey Matthews' tenure that he has had two rushers post a rush of greater than 75 yards in a season. Anderson (80-yard rush vs. Maine) and Scott (76-yard rush vs. UMass) have each completed the task this season.
Getting the Pressure Going: Part of the JMU defensive effort has also resulted in getting to the quarterback. After having no sacks in the first two games, JMU has posted 38 sacks in the last 10 games, including a season-high seven in the win over Richmond. That total leads the CAA and ranks ninth nationally, averaging 3.17sacks per game. Defensive end D.J. Bryant is the team's leader, as he is tied for fourth in the CAA and tied for 81st nationally at 0.54 sacks per game.
Fourth Quarter Improvement This Season: Last year, JMU struggled to find the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, tallying just 19 points in 11 games, an average of 1.7 points a game. This season, the Dukes have scored 70 points in the quarter in 12 games, averaging 5.8 points per contest. After not scoring in the second half of the previous two games, the Dukes put up 17 in the second half of a 31-13 win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12, and followed it up with 10 in the victory at UMass, Nov. 19 and 10 in the win at Eastern Kentucky, Nov. 26.
Combined, JMU has outscored its opponent in all four quarters this season, with the largest margin in the second, 81-62.
Against FCS, Defense Showing It Has What It Takes: The JMU defense has continued to show its ability to make an impact on a game, especially against FCS opponents. On the scoreboard, Madison has outscored its FCS opponents 265-187, giving up just 17.0 points per game. The Dukes are giving up just 89.5 rushing yards per FCS game and just 282.5 total yards per game. JMU has 17 takeaways and has posted 38 sacks and 73 total tackles for loss in those 11 contests, going 8-3.
Controlling the Football A Key Factor For the Dukes: In JMU's 11 FCS games, the Dukes have had a time of possession advantage in nine of them, going 8-1 in the those contests. The average difference in those nine games was 7:18, with the most a 21:00 difference in the NCAA Playoff road win at Eastern Kentucky Nov. 26. The only one that Madison did not win was the 23-20 loss at Old Dominion Oct. 29. The two games that Madison did not hold the advantage were the Maine game (a 25-24 overtime loss) and the New Hampshire road contest (a 28-10 loss).
Defense Getting Into the Act And On the Scoreboard: For the first time in two years, the JMU defense got a takeaway and took it all the way to the end zone for six. Midway through the first quarter at Massachusetts, Nov. 19, redshirt-senior cornerback Mike Allen picked off Kellen Pagel at the UMass 44 and returned it to the end zone for the touchdown. It was the first JMU defensive touchdown since Arthur Moats had a 68-yard fumble recovery against Towson on Nov. 21, 2009. It was also the first interception returned for a touchdown since Jon Williams had a 62-yard return against Maryland on Sept. 12, 2009.
Matthews The Winningest: Mickey Matthews (1999-Pres.) became the all-time leader in victories among JMU football coaches Sept. 27, 2008 in a 24-10 victory at Maine. The win gave the then-10th-year Dukes coach a 68-45 JMU record, which is now at 96-60 overall, which currently ranks 12th among all active coaches in terms of winning percentage and 25th in victories.
Challace McMillin (1972-84), JMU's first football coach, had a 67-56-1 record during 13 JMU seasons and held the program's previous coaching victories record. McMillin has retired as a JMU kinesiology teaching staff member, but he continues to work with JMU athletic teams in a sports psychology role. He was with the team at Maine for a special team presentation to Matthews in recognition of the coach's accomplishment.
JMU'S COACHING RECORDS
Coach (Years) W-L Pct. NCAA
Mickey Matthews (1999-Pres.) 96-60 .615 6
Challace McMillin (1972-84) 67-56-1 .544 0
Joe Purzycki (1985-90) 34-30-2 .530 1
Rip Scherer (1991-94) 29-19 .604 2
Alex Wood (1995-98) 23-22 .511 1
* Challace McMillin's listed coaching record at JMU does not include the program's inaugural football season of 1972 when the team's schedule did not include the minimum number of games to constitute an NCAA-recognized varsity football season. JMU's 1972 team played five games against a mixture of college varsity and junior varsity and prep-school teams.
JMU UNDER MATTHEWS
Year Overall Conf.
1999 8-4 7-1 NCAA
2000 6-5 4-4
2001 2-9 0-9
2002 5-7 3-6
2003 6-6 4-5
2004 13-2 7-1 NCAA Title
2005 7-4 5-3
2006 9-3 7-1 NCAA
2007 8-4 6-2 NCAA
2008 12-2 8-0 NCAA
2009 6-5 4-4
2010 6-5 3-5
2011 8-4 5-3 NCAA
Totals 96-60 63-44
JMU Against Ranked Teams: In its FCS history, Madison has a 53-67-1 record against ranked opponents. Since taking over in 1999, Head Coach Mickey Matthews has coached in a majority of those games, posting a 35-31 record against ranked teams.
JMU had three straight wins over top-25 teams on consecutive weekends for the first time since the 2004 season, when the Dukes won four straight road games to win the National Championship. Otherwise, this is the first time in school history during the regular season that JMU had posted three straight wins in consecutive weeks over ranked opponents. Madison fell just short against the last three ranked foes, the first on Oct. 8 when it dropped a heartbreaking 25-24 loss to #19 Maine, followed by Oct. 29 defeat at #15 Old Dominion, 23-20 and a 28-10 loss at #9 New Hampshire, Nov. 5.
Scott Goes Over the Century Mark Again: Redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott posted his seventh 100-yard game of the season with his career-best 251 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 30 carries in the win at Massachusetts, Nov. 19, to earn CAA Offensive Player of the Week honors. He has also posted 100-yard rushing games this year against Central Connecticut State, Liberty, William & Mary, Villanova, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. His eight career 100-yard games ranks 14th on the JMU career list for 100-yard games. (Complete list of Scott's 100-yard games on page 10).
Scott is ninth in scoring in the CAA and 67th nationally at 6.50 points per game. He also starts today's game with 1,241 rushing yards, the fifth-highest single-season total in JMU history, earning him Second-Team All-CAA honors. He needs just 32 yards to reach Rodney Landers (2007) in fourth with 1,273 and 43 yards to tie Warren Marshall (1986) for third with 1,284.
Scott's 12 rushing touchdowns is tied for the fourth-highest single-season total in school history with Mike Cawley (1994) and Rodney Landers (2007), with Kenny Sims in third with 14 in 1992. Scott's 220 rushing attempts are the sixth most rushing attempts in a single-season, with Warren Marshall (1986), Curtis Keaton (1998) and Rodney Landers (2007) next on the list with 223 carries.
Barlow A Key Target: Junior tight end Brian Barlow is proving to be one of the key targets of the JMU offense this year. Barlow currently leads Madison with 29 receptions, while his 282 receiving yards are second on the team. He had a career-high five receptions in the season opener at North Carolina, Sept. 3, and recorded at least one catch in each of the first nine games, the only JMU player to do so, but did not have a reception in the win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12. He did have a reception in the win at Massachusetts, giving him a catch in 11 of 12 games this year. Barlow had his first touchdown catch of the season at New Hampshire, Nov. 5, a 14-yard pass from Jace Edwards.
Robertson In On the Tackle: That is a phrase that has become very familiar to the Dukes when it comes to redshirt-sophomore linebacker Stephon Robertson. Last year, he was the second-leading tackler for JMU with 90 total tackles (9.0 per game), including a career-best 13 tackles each at Virginia Tech, against Liberty and at Towson, earning him CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
This season, he picked back up where he left off, recording a team-high 102 tackles along with one interception, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble to garner First Team All-CAA honors. He posted a team-best eight tackles at North Carolina, Sept. 3 and then led the team with a career-high 14 tackles in the home opening win over Central Connecticut State, Sept. 10, and also having a team-high nine tackles in the victory at Liberty, Sept. 17. He also earned the CAA Defensive Player of the Week after recording six tackles and a key forced fumble that led to the game-winning touchdown at William & Mary, Sept. 24. He has led the Dukes in tackles in eight of the 12 games, including a game-high 12 tackles, six of them solo, along with 1.0 tackle for loss against Maine, Oct. 8, and eight tackles, with 1.0 sack and a pass breakup in the win over Villanova, Oct. 15. Most recently, he had a team-high 10 tackles in the NCAA Playoff win at Eastern Kentucky, Nov. 26.
He currently leads the Dukes with his 102 tackles and is 12th in the CAA and 71st in FCS football at 8.50 tackles per game. He has also recorded nine games of seven tackles or more on the season.
Long Getting Involved: In the win at #20 Liberty, redshirt-senior wide receiver Kerby Long was a key part of the action. Long had a career-best six catches for 61 yards in the contest, with none more important than his final grab. On the final drive on a 3rd-and-4 from the Dukes' 31, Thorpe connected with Long for a 32-yard reception, getting the ball to the LU 37 and setting up the eventual game-winning field goal. Long had a key catch in the victory at #5 William & Mary Sept. 24, grabbing a 52-yard touchdown catch for the first score of the game. His career-long catch came in the win against Villanova, Oct. 15, as he outjumped a Wildcat defender for the ball, broke two tackles and went 80 yards for a touchdown catch that sealed the win.
He currently leads Madison with 375 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 28 catches, earning him Third Team All-CAA honors from the league's coaches.
Skahn Finding the Mark: After a slow start to the season, junior punter David Skahn is hitting it well. In eight CAA games, he averaged 42.2 yards on 42 punts with 17 inside the 20 yard line and six of 50 yards or more and just eight punts that were returned, garnering him Second Team All-CAA honors.
He hit a career-long 56-yard punt in the win over Richmond, Oct. 5, an effort that included two punts of more than 50 yards and four of the seven finishing inside the Richmond 10. Against Villanova, he averaged 42.8 yards on four punts, with two inside the 20 and two fair catches. He currently ranks third in the CAA and 36th in the nation with a 39.94 yards per punt average.
Starke Splitting the Uprights: Redshirt-sophomore kicker Cameron Starke has shown he knows how to put the ball between the goal posts so far this season. After missing his first field goal attempt at JMU in the game at North Carolina, Starke connected on nine consecutive field goals, including the 40-yard game-winner at #20 Liberty, Sept. 17, and both field goals in a road victory at #5 William & Mary, Sept. 24, prior to missing at Old Dominion from 51 yards out. He hit a career long of 44 yards in the victory over Richmond, Oct. 1. The kicker was 2-for-3 in the win at Eastern Kentucky, Nov. 26, including his second last-play, game-winner of the year, this time from 35 yards out. Starke is now 15-of-19 on field goal attempts this season and has also hit on 32-of-33 point after tries. He ranks third in the CAA and 26th nationally with 1.25 field goals per game, as well as 10th in the league and 68th nationally at 6.42 points per contest.
Thorpe Returns And Makes Impact: Redshirt-junior quarterback Justin Thorpe returned to action against Rhode Island, Nov. 12, and made his presence felt immediately. On the opening drive, he had three carries for 44 yards, including going the final 10 for the first score of the game. In leading the Dukes to the eventual 31-13 victory over the Rams,Thorpe had 19 carries for a then-personal season-high 88 yards and one touchdown while going 6-for-13 for 91 yards and one touchdown through the air. Last week, he had a career-best 93 rushing yards in the victory at Eastern Kentucky, Nov. 26. He is now 6-1 as the starting quarterback this year, leading Madison to six FCS wins.
In his career, Thorpe is 11-4 as the starting quarterback, including winning his last 10 starts against FCS foes.
Anderson Continues To Assert Himself in the Running Game: Redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson has put together two of the more impressive consecutive weeks of rushing the football. Against Maine, Anderson posted the then-seventh-best rushing game in school history and 10th 200-yard game in JMU annals when he rushed for a career-high 212 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. The last time the Dukes had a single player rush over 200 yards was Rodney Landers with 206 yards against Massachusetts on September 13, 2008. Anderson's 212 yards is also the most since Curtis Keaton's 237 against Connecticut in 1999.
Prior to the Maine game, Anderson took advantage of his opportunity in the win over #10 Richmond Oct. 1. Helping fill the role of the injured Dae'Quan Scott, Anderson had 13 carries for career-highs of 162 yards and two touchdowns. His first two collegiate touchdown runs of 45 and 49 yards were the two longest previous carries of the season for the Dukes and are now the second and third longest of his career.
Anderson currently ranks ninth in the CAA and 67th nationally in rushing at 69.50 yards per game.
Oh Captain, My Captains: The Dukes voted and elected six captains for the 2011 season, with four seniors and two juniors. From the offensive side of the ball, senior Roane Babington and juniors Justin Thorpe and Brian Barlow were voted as captains, while the defensive captains are seniors Vidal Nelson, D.J. Bryant and Pat Williams. All but Nelson are first-year captains, as Nelson was the only junior captain on the 2010 squad.
Scott Earns CAA Offensive Player of the Week Honors: James Madison University sophomore running back Dae'Quan Scott has been named the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced. This is the second time this season that Scott has earned the honor, with the first coming after his efforts in the last-second win at Liberty in Game 3.
Scott nearly eclipsed a James Madison single-game rushing record in the Dukes' 34-17 win on the road over Massachusetts. The sophomore carried the ball a career-high 30 times gaining a career-best 251 yards in the victory. Scott's mark was the 11th 200-yard rushing game in JMU history and was second only to Warren Marshall's 264-yards on the ground in terms of a single-game rushing record for the Dukes.
And Bridgeforth Is Larger: Sept. 10, 2011 marked the first game in the renovated Bridgeforth Stadium with a new capacity of 24,877. In the Phase I renovations completed for the 2010 season, there was a new seating area on the West side of the stadium that included seating with a chairback club section, new concessions and bathrooms, ticket booths and a team store.
Following the final 2010 home game, the temporary bleachers came down in the end zone. Then construction began on Phase 2, which includes the completion of the club room, an upper deck with new press box, suites, elevators, stadium graphics, the wraparound of seats to the north end zone and a new 60'x24' videoboard and sound system above the Plecker Athletic Performance Center.
Calling FedEx For the Dukes in 2012: James Madison will find its way to the nation's capital on Sept. 15, 2012, as the Dukes will take on West Virginia at FedEx Field, home of the NFL's Washington Redskins. This will be the first time that JMU has played in one of the NFL's top facilities. It will be the second-ever meeting between the Dukes and Mountaineers, as the Dukes fell to the Mountaineers, 45-10, in Morgantown, W.Va., on Sept. 25, 2004. JMU eventually won the next six consecutive games and posted a 13-2 mark that season en route to the I-AA National Title, while the Mountaineers finished with an 8-4 record that season.
Dukes in the Show: JMU is well represented in the NFL on the 2011 rosters entering the season. The Dukes have two former players that are on opening rosters for the 2011 season. Linebacker Akeem Jordan has spent his first four years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. Starting his second season in the NFL is former defensive end turned linebacker Arthur Moats (Buffalo Bills). Former tight end Mike Caussin (Buffalo Bills) is on the practice squad to open the season.
The New Bridgeforth Drew Fans: There is no question that attendance records will continue to be broken at JMU's renovated and expanded Bridgeforth Stadium. After today's game, more than 120,000 fans will have witnessed JMU home football this season, the most ever in a regular season for the Dukes. Sept. 10's crowd for the home opener against Central Connecticut State was the largest in Bridgeforth Stadium history with an attendance of 25,102. Then for the sold-out Homecoming game, the attendance was 25,742, setting a second record this year. There were 24,023 people that attended the Oct. 8 game against Maine, followed by the 25,047 for the victory over Villanova, Oct. 15. Senior Day on Nov. 12 against Rhode Island had 25,096 in attendance, marking the fourth game that had at least 25,000 fans in Bridgeforth Stadium during the 2010 season. All five totals surpassed the previous high of 17,163 when JMU posted a dramatic 35-32 come-from-behind win over Appalachian State on Sept. 20, 2008. Currently JMU ranks third in average attendance per game in the FCS with a mark of 25,002 and a five-game total of 125,010.
Home Is Where the Heart (And the Victories) Are: The Dukes are tough to beat at Bridgeforth Stadium under Head Coach Mickey Matthews. In his 12-plus years at the helm, JMU has a 58-19 (.753) record in Harrisonburg. What makes that more impressive is that eight of the losses occurred during a two-year span (2001-02) when the Dukes had a combined overall record of 7-16 (JMU was 2-9 in 2001 and 5-7 in 2002). This year, JMU was 4-1 at home, securing its ninth-straight .500 or better season at home.
Matthews' JMU Home Mark
Year Overall Conf.
1999 5-0 4-0
2000 6-0 4-0
2001 1-4 0-4
2002 3-4 2-3
2003 5-1 3-1
2004 5-1 3-1
2005 5-1 3-1
2006 5-0 4-0
2007 5-1 3-1
2008 8-1 4-0
2009 3-2 2-2
2010 3-3 1-3
2011 4-1 3-1
Totals 58-19 36-17
All-Time Versus the CAA: For the last seven-plus seasons, there has not been a better team in league action in the Colonial Athletic Association than James Madison. During that time span, the Dukes have put together a 45-18 conference mark to take the top spot, one game better than New Hampshire. Overall JMU is 69-28 in that span, surpassed only by New Hampshire's 71-25 mark.
Records 2004-Pres. Conf. Overall
James Madison 45-18 69-28
New Hampshire 44-19 71-25
Richmond 36-27 60-35
Massachusetts 34-21 51-30
Villanova 35-29 53-38
Delaware 34-30 58-40
William & Mary 33-30 51-39
Maine 32-32 45-44
Hofstra* 18-30 31-37
Northeastern* 16-32 20-47
Towson 17-47 33-55
Rhode Island 15-48 26-61
NOTE: During this time period until the 2010 season, CAA teams each season played each of five other teams in their division and three of the six teams in the other division for an eight-game league slate. With the dropping of football by two CAA schools prior to 2010 (Hofstra and Northeastern*), the league eliminated the divisions and are one unified standings.
JMU vs. CAA Teams (* Former league teams)
Opponent Overall Met
Boston University* 5-1-0 1997
Connecticut* 4-1-0 1999
Delaware 8-12-0 2010
Hofstra* 6-3-0 2009
Maine 10-5-0 2011
Massachusetts 7-8-1 2011
New Hampshire 7-7-0 2011
Northeastern* 12-8-0 2007
Old Dominion 0-1-0 2011
Rhode Island 7-3-0 2011
Richmond 13-16-0 2011
Towson 17-5-1 2010
Villanova 11-9-0 2011
William & Mary 19-15-0 2011
Totals 125-94-2 (.570)
Former Duke Haley Named FCS Ambassador: Charles Haley, a former James Madison University student-athlete and the only NFL player to win five Super Bowls, was named as the FCS Ambassador for the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship. Haley is the third ambassador of the football championship, following Wayne Chrebet (Hofstra) in 2009 and Everson Walls (Grambling State) in 2010.
"Charles Haley's successful collegiate and professional career provides a quintessential model of academic and athletic success," said Damani Leech, NCAA director for Division I football and baseball. "Each year we have looked for an individual who embodies the character of the FCS and can be used as a success story for the FCS student-athletes. We are thrilled that Charles will continue this tradition."
As ambassador, Haley will lend his support to the championship game in a number of ways, including pre-game interaction with fans, serving as an instructor at a youth clinic, performing the pre-game coin toss and participating in the postgame awards ceremony.
"I'm honored to serve as FCS Ambassador for the 2012 Division I Football Championship game," Haley said. "Greatness is not born, it's made. The FCS has been turning out great players for years and I look forward to watching these outstanding student-athletes compete at the highest level."
A 2011 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Haley graduated from James Madison in 1988 with a bachelor's in social science. A four-year starter under head coach Challace McMillin, Haley became the first Dukes selected as a First-Team All-American in 1985, and was also the school's first NFL draftee. Haley, whose jersey number 87 was retired by the school, finished his JMU career with a school record 506 tackles, three interceptions and 17 quarterback sacks. In his 12 NFL seasons, Haley recorded 100.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions and eight fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown. He was selected to play in five Pro Bowls (1988, 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995) and was named NFL All-Pro in 1990 and 1994. This November, he will be inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
The 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship game will be played on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
Can It BE Any Tougher?: JMU sported one of the toughest schedules in FCS football, with the eighth-ranked schedule in FCS Football, according to the 2010 NCAA final statistics, with five of the top eight spots occupied by Colonial Athletic Association squads.
This year, the Dukes were one of six Colonial Athletic Association squads picked among the top 25 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason Poll and 10 total squads receiving votes. Defending CAA champion William & Mary was picked third, followed by Delaware in fifth. New Hampshire earned the 10th spot in the poll with Villanova at 14th and JMU at 15th. Richmond comes in at 16th, with Massachusetts rounding out the top 25 teams at 25. Among those also receiving votes in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll are Rhode Island, Maine and Old Dominion. CAA Football has had a national finalist in each of the past five seasons and seven of the last eight, including national champions Delaware (2003), James Madison (2004), Richmond (2008) and Villanova (2009) with national finalist Delaware last year.
In addition to five games scheduled against CAA opponents in the preseason top 25 teams nationally and three other CAA foes receiving votes, the Dukes also play Preseason-Big South Conference favorite and four-time defending league champion Liberty in Lynchburg, Sept. 17. The Dukes also play Central Connecticut State in the home opener Sept. 10, as the Blue Devils are the preseason Northeast Conference favorite and were among the teams receiving votes in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches Poll. The season opener pits the Dukes against FBS North Carolina, who is receiving votes in the USA Today Preseason Poll. That gives the Dukes all 11 of its games against opponents ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes nationally in their respective preseason polls.
According to the NCAA records over the last seven years, JMU has had a schedule ranking as one of the top 10 toughest schedules nationally four times, including the top schedule in 2008 and the eighth-toughest slate last year.
Former Duke Haley Enshrined in College Football Hall of Fame: Former James Madison football All-American Charles Haley was enshrined in the College Football Hall Of Fame, July 15-16 in South Bend, Ind. He becomes the first ever player from a CAA school and sixth person overall (five previous were coaches) to be elected to the Hall.
Haley was a four year starter at JMU from 1982-85. He was a two-time All-American and a three-time Defensive MVP at Madison. As a senior at JMU, Haley was voted a 1985 Associated Press First-Team I-AA All-American and both the Richmond Touchdown Club and Roanoke Times & World News' State Defensive Player of the Year. He leads JMU's all-time tackles list with 506, including three seasons of more than 100 tackles, and his 22 tackles at Shippensburg during the 1983 season still ranks as the eighth-highest single-game total in JMU history. He also added three interceptions and 17 quarterback sacks to his total.
In 1986, after his senior season Haley was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, as he was the No. 96 pick overall, the highest ever in school history. The first ever JMU player to be drafted into the NFL, Haley went on to become the only player in the league's history to win five Super Bowls, two with the 49ers and three with the Dallas Cowboys. He was also selected to five Pro Bowls during his career, as well as being a two-time First-Team All-Pro and 1990 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his professional career with 100.5 sacks, including a career-high 16 in 1990. He had eight fumble recoveries and scored one touchdown in the NFL. He retired in 1999 before becoming an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions.
Former JMU Standouts: In addition to the former Dukes recently active with professional football organizations, JMU's leading all-time performers include several other players who have enjoyed success in the NFL - placekicker Scott Norwood (1978-81), wide receiver Gary Clark (1980-83), defensive end Charles Haley (1982-85), linebacker Dion Foxx (1990-93), wide receiver Macey Brooks (1993-96), running back Curtis Keaton (1998-99), tight end Ed Perry (1993-96) and return specialist Delvin Joyce (1997-2000).
Norwood received All-Pro honors as a placekicker with the Buffalo Bills.
Clark was All-Pro with the Washington Redskins and a member of two Super Bowl title teams and later played with the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. He was selected in the first round of the first United States Football League draft in 1984.
Haley was the first player to be a member of five Super Bowl title teams while playing with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first Duke to be a first-team Division I-AA All-America and the first Duke chosen in the NFL draft (San Francisco, 1986, fourth round). He is JMU's career tackles leader.
Foxx played with the Miami Dolphins.
Brooks was with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.
Keaton was with the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints after being the 1999 Atlantic 10 offensive player of the year when he ran for 1,719 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Perry was a tight end and long snapper with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs after being Miami's sixth-round 1997 draft pick and first-team All-Yankee Football Conference during each of his final three collegiate seasons.
Joyce was a return specialist for the New York Giants and New York Jets. He ended his career at JMU as the only player in Division I-AA history with 1,000 yards in each of the career statistical categories of rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns and as the all-time Division I-AA leader in punt return yards and combined kick return yards. He holds many of JMU's career kick return marks and is the program's all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 5,659.
Two other former Dukes saw extensive time during the 2007 preseason with NFL teams, including tailback Alvin Banks (2003-06) with the New York Jets and offensive lineman Corey Davis (2003-06) with the Buffalo Bills. Justin Rascati, JMU's starting quarterback from 2004-06, briefly was with the Chicago Bears.