HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Redshirt-junior running back Dae'Quan Scott plunged in from three yards out with the go-ahead score and senior safety Jakarie Jackson batted away the two-point conversion attempt to give No. 4 James Madison a thrilling 27-26, double-overtime victory over visiting William & Mary, Oct. 13. With the Colonial Athletic Association victory, the Dukes moved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league play, while the Tribe fell to 2-5 and 1-3 in the conference.
The game turned to the ultimate drama after William & Mary kicker Drake Kuhn put his 31-yard field goal attempt wide left with one tick remaining in regulation. The Dukes won the coin toss and elected to go on defense first. William & Mary had the ball for eight plays, but a pass interference penalty set back the Tribe and forced a 38-yard field goal from Kuhn to put W&M up 20-17.
Madison came back on its first overtime possession and got down in scoring range with a 2nd-and-goal at the one. However, William & Mary’s defense held and redshirt-junior kicker Cameron Starke was good from 18 to send the game to a second extra session.
JMU’s offense went right back on the field with a sense of urgency, as the Dukes got two first downs, including redshirt-junior quarterback Justin Thorpe hitting redshirt-senior tight end Brian Barlow for a key 12-yard completion to get down to William & Mary’s three-yard line. From there, Scott plunged in over the right side of the line for the go-ahead touchdown, with Starke’s PAT making it a 27-20 lead.
William & Mary came back with its own quick four-play drive to get in the end zone as quarterback Raphael Ortiz found wide receiver Tre McBride for a jump ball touchdown in the back of the end zone to cut it to 27-26. The Tribe called a timeout and came out to go for the two-point conversion and the win, similar to last year’s loss against Maine. This time, the outcome was in JMU’s favor, as another jump ball play in the back of the end zone was batted down by Jackson and the Dukes celebrated the win.
Thorpe finished the game with a career-high 106 rushing yards on 21 carries, while going 14-for-20 for 157 yards and one touchdown. Redshirt-junior Arlandis Harvey had a career-high six receptions and 113 yards, including a score, in the victory. It was the first 100-yard receiving game this year by a Duke. Redshirt-junior Stephon Robertson led with 13 tackles, including four solos, and sophomore safety Dean Marlowe added 12, including 1.0 tackle for loss.
William & Mary was paced on the ground by Darnell Laws with 17 carries for 61 yards, while Ortiz had 14 rushes for 54 yards. Ortiz was also 14-for-23 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. McBride finished with seven catches for 79 yards and two scores. The two Tribe kickers combined to go 2-for-5 on their field goal attempts on the night. Linebacker Luke Rhodes led W&M with 13 stops, including 0.5 tackle for loss.
The Tribe took the opening drive and marched it 78 yards on eight plays, capped off by Ortiz’s scramble for a 22-yard touchdown. Drake Kuhn hit the point after attempt and the Tribe had an early 7-0 lead.
Both teams missed scoring opportunities, with JMU missing on a 48-yard field goal attempt and William & Mary missing on two kicks from outside of 40 yards. The Tribe then took advantage of a second Dukes’ turnover, this time an interception of quarterback Justin Thorpe by Jerome Couplin III that put the ball at the Tribe 37. On third and goal from the JMU 3, Ortiz threw a fade to the left corner of the end zone that McBride grabbed out of the air to make it a 14-0 game with just under 11 minutes left in the half.
After a trade of possessions, the Madison offense got going quickly from its own 32. The Dukes moved down the field in eight plays, as Thorpe hit Harvey in the front left corner of the end zone for a score. Starke split the uprights and cut the margin to 14-7 with 4:08 to play in the half.
JMU had one last surge but came up short, as time ran out in the half with the Dukes driving at the William & Mary 34.
A little different special teams play set up the next score as Thorpe quick kicked and JMU downed the ball at the W&M 1-yard line. After three plays did not gain a first down, Madison’s Sage Harold blocked the punt from the end zone and the ball came out to the 7-yard line. On the next play, Scott took it in and Starke’s PAT knotted the game at 14 with 8:23 to go in the third.
On the next possession, JMU again put points on the board, this time on an 11-play, 52-yard drive. The drive stalled out at the W&M 13 and Starke split the uprights from 40 yards out to put the Dukes up for the first time in the game, 17-14, late in the third quarter.
The Tribe came back on its next drive and also went 52 yards and 11 plays, with its ending up with a 39-yard field goal by Drake Kuhn to make it 17 all with less than eight minutes remaining on the clock.
After JMU was unable to move the ball on its final possession of regulation, William & Mary got it on its own 13 and converted several third-down opportunities to move into scoring position with the clock winding down. From there, Kuhn missed the chip-shot field goal and sent the contest into extra periods.
JMU returns to play next Saturday as it travels to Richmond for a 3:30 p.m. game at Robbins Stadium. The game is set to be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Regional coverage.