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Senior linebacker Stephon Robertson leads a stout JMU defense this year.Courtesy: Photography/JMU Athletics Communications
#15/19 Football Opens Season At Home Against Central Connecticut State, Aug. 31
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:08/28/2013

It All Kicks Off Tonight: James Madison will open the 2013 season tonight, hosting Central Connecticut State of the Northeast Conference. This is the second time in the last three years the two teams have met to open the season, with the Dukes coming away with a 14-9 victory in the first game in renovated Bridgeforth Stadium in 2011.

The Coaches: James Madison Head Coach Mickey Matthews (West Texas State, ‘76) is in his 15th season at JMU and as a head coach overall with a 103-65 record.

      Central Connecticut State Head Coach Jeff McInerney (Slippery Rock, ’82) is in his eighth year as head coach of the Blue Devils and overall with a 44-33 record.

The First at Home Tends To Be Good: Bridgeforth Stadium has been the home to many happy openings for the Dukes. Since its start in 1973, JMU is now 30-10 (.750) in the first home game of the year and it is even more impressive under current Head Coach Mickey Matthews, as his squads are 13-1 (.929) in the first contest at Bridgeforth each year, including a current 10-game winning streak. The only home opener loss under Matthews as in the 2002 season, a tough 31-28 defeat to Hampton.

History With Central Connecticut State: This is the second time the Dukes and Blue Devils will meet, with JMU having won the previous meeting. To open the renovated Bridgeforth Stadium in 2011, the two squads battled, with Madison escaping with a 14-9 victory in the season opener.

Central Connecticut State -- JMU leads 1-0
(Home 1-0)

Date          Location         W/L      Score

9/10/11       Home              W           14-9


Opening the Season Has Mixed Results: As a NCAA varsity program JMU is 21-18-1 in season-opening games, but since moving to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) in 1980, the Dukes are 16-17 in season-openers.

      In the FCS, JMU has started a season against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent 10 times (0-10 record), an FCS opponent 16 times (9-7 record) and a Division II opponent seven times (7-0 record).

      Under Matthews, JMU is 8-6 in season-opening games, including 0-5 against FBS teams, 4-1 against FCS teams and 4-0 against Division II teams.

      In season-opening games under Matthews, JMU lost in 1999 at Virginia Tech 47-0, defeated Lock Haven 72-0 in 2000, beat Elon 42-21 in 2001, lost to Hampton 31-28 in 2002, defeated Liberty 48-6 in 2003, beat Lock Haven 62-7 in 2004 and 56-0 in 2005, defeated Bloomsburg 14-3 in 2006, lost at North Carolina 37-14 in 2007, lost 31-7 at Duke in 2008, dropped 2009 ‘s season opener at Maryland in overtime, 38-35, won in 2010 against Morehead State, 48-7, lost 2011’s opener at North Carolina, 42-10, and defeated Saint Francis (Pa.) last year, 55-7.

JMU Picked Fifth In Preseason Poll: Madison was selected to finish fifth in the preseason poll, as chosen by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

      The Dukes were picked fifth overall in the preseason poll, despite having the second-most first-place votes with four. Villanova was picked to take home the league title, garnering 11 first-place votes, followed by Towson (three votes), New Hampshire (three votes), Richmond (one vote) and Madison. Delaware was picked sixth, followed by CAA-newcomer Stony Brook, Maine and William & Mary. The other CAA-newcomer Albany and Rhode Island round out the poll.

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. It is now at 103-65 overall, which currently ranks 23rd among all active coaches in terms of winning percentage and 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. 



Coach (Years)                                          W-L                 Pct.             NCAA

Mickey Matthews (1999-Pres.)    103-65             .617                 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, junior varsity and prep-school teams.



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            8-5               5-3             NCAA

2012            7-4               5-3

Totals     103-65        68-47

JMU Football History: The 2013 season is JMU’s 42nd season of football, its 40th varsity football season, its 35th season with football scholarship players and its 34th 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 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).

Playoffs Expanding Again in 2013: In 2011, JMU took advantage of the playoff expansion to 20 teams by grabbing one of the last slots in the 2011 FCS Playoffs and advancing to the second round after defeating Eastern Kentucky. This year, the playoffs increase in participation again, as 24 teams will be selected for the field, 11 via auto bids as the Pioneer League’s champion will now be automatically invited to the postseason. The top eight teams will be seeded, receive first-round byes and host second-round games. The 16 other teams will bid to host first-round games.

Three Selected To Preseason All-CAA Squads: Senior linebacker Stephon Robertson was named the Colonial Athletic Association Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and was one of three Dukes named to the preseason squad, announced at the CAA Football Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. Joining Robertson on the squad was junior safety Dean Marlowe and senior kicker Cameron Starke.

      The 2012 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, Robertson was previously selected as a Walter Camp All-American and a Second Team Associated Press and Sports Network All-American, as well as earning First Team All-CAA honors. A starter in all 11 games last year and 34 played in his career, Robertson was a force for Madison’s defense, which ranked second in the CAA and 24th in FCS football in scoring, first in the league and 19th nationally in rushing defense and fifth in the CAA in pass defense. Also a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’s top defensive player, Robertson finished with a team-high 101 tackles, including 48 solos, 8.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and five pass breakups, which earned him First Team All-CAA honors for the second straight year after being named CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010.

      A two-time All-CAA selection, including a first-team honor last season, Marlowe was the only sophomore and one of four non-seniors on the league’s first team last year. A Preseason All-America pick by The Sports Network, the safety had a career season-high 82 tackles on the year, including 44 solos, 5.0 for loss, seven passes defended, team-high tying three interceptions, one forced fumble and one safety. One of the leaders on a JMU defense that was second in the CAA in scoring, first in rushing and fifth in pass defense, Marlowe ranked second on the team, third among CAA defensive backs and ninth in the CAA overall at 7.45 tackles per game and 7.63 in league contests. He was tied for eighth in the league with three interceptions and recorded a season-high 12 tackles in the home win over William & Mary, one of two games with 10 or more tackles on the year.

      A Second Team All-CAA pick last year, Starke was a solid kicker for the Dukes, hitting all 37 of his point after attempts and going 10-for-14 (71.4 percent) on the year in field goal attempts, including connecting on all seven from inside 40 yards. He ranked second on the team in scoring with 67 points, including a career-long 49-yarder as part of a 13-10 win over then-defending CAA champion Towson. For his career, he is 25-of-33 (.758) on field goals and 71-of-72 (.987) on extra points, including two game-winning field goals on final plays in 2011. His 15 field goals in 2011 tied a school record for a single season as he is a career 25-for-33 (75.8 percent) on field goals.

James Madison Football On TV: Six 2013 James Madison University football games are scheduled to be televised through a package coordinated by the Colonial Athletic Association, the conference announced today. Another JMU game will be available for viewing through the Web-streaming service ESPN3, with all home games available on MadiZONE HD SportsNet presented by JMU Alumni Association.

      The Dukes’ will be nationally televised in CAA games on the NBC Sports Network three times during the year, as well as on the NBC Sports Regional Networks three times, making Madison the most televised CAA squad in the package. JMU’s national broadcasts will be the home contest against Richmond on Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m., as well as road contests at New Hampshire on Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m., and at Towson on Nov. 23 at 3:30 p.m. The regional broadcasts include the Sept. 28 game at Delaware at 7 p.m. and home tilts with Villanova on Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. and Nov. 16 against CAA newcomer Stony Brook at 3:30 p.m.

      JMU’s game at Akron on Sept. 7 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and will be televised live on ESPN3, giving Madison fans the opportunity to watch four of the five road contests free of charge via television or the internet.

National Rankings: JMU come into the 2013 season with high expectations from both the coaches and the media, according to their respective polls. The Dukes were ranked 15th in the FCS Coaches Preseason poll, while being in the No. 19 slot in The Sports Network poll, which is voted on by sports information, media members, broadcasters and other dignitaries.

Last Meeting - JMU Escapes With Home Victory Over Blue Devils:  In front of a record-setting 25,102 fans at the expanded Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, James Madison held on for its first victory of the season against Central Connecticut State 14-9.

        The Dukes took the early lead with a six-play, 87-yard drive on their second possession as junior quarterback Justin Thorpe hit junior Jon Sharp on a 28-yard pass.  That 7-0 lead held until the Blue Devils connected on a 35-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

        CCSU then had an opportunity to take the lead, recovering a fumble on the ensuing kickoff.  However, the Blue Devils came up three yards short on a fake field goal attempt.

        After exchanging possessions, the Dukes finally put the game away with a quick 36-yard drive, culminating in an eight-yard plunge by redshirt sophomore Dae'Quan Scott out of the wildcat formation. (Full recap on page 20.)

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 13-plus years at the helm, Matthews has led his squad to a solid 63-19 (.768) 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 is 5-0 at home, its 10th-straight .500 or better season at home.

        Additionally, Madison has only lost two non-conference games at home, and only one regular-season, out-of-league home tilt, under Matthews in 26 contests. The two losses were in the 2002 home opener against Hampton and the 2008 National Semifinal against Montana.

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

2012              5-1                  3-1

Totals        63-20             39-18

Matthews Reaches the Century Mark: JMU Head Coach Mickey Matthews recently accomplished a historic milestone in his coaching career. In his 14th season at the helm of the Dukes, Matthews earned his 100th career victory with a 13-10 win over then-No. 12 Towson, Oct. 6.  He is currently 25th on the FCS career active victories list with 103 victories, just behind New Hampshire’s Sean McDonnell with 104 wins.

Oh Captain, My Captains: James Madison's Stephon Robertson, Tyler Snow, Dae'Quan Scott, Quintin Hunter and Josh Wells have been selected by their teammates as captains for the 2013 football season. Robertson and Snow are captains for the second straight season, while this is the first time for the remaining three.

Preseason All-America Honors: James Madison’s Stephon Robertson and Dean Marlowe were named Preseason All-Americans by The Sports Network, the organization announced. Robertson was a first-team selection at linebacker, while Marlowe was on the second team at safety.

Robertson Getting In On the Play: Redshirt-junior linebacker Stephon Robertson has shown a nose for the football throughout his collegiate career. A 2013 Sports Network First-Team Preseason All-American and CAA Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker in 2012, Robertson led the Dukes in tackles in seven of the 11 games last season, including a career-high 15 in the win over No. 12 Towson. He averaged 9.18 tackles per game (101 total, 48 solos), which was third in the CAA and tied for 43rd in the nation. He had his first pass interception of the year and second of his career at Maine. He has contributed five pass breakups on the season, along with 8.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sacks. He recorded double-digit tackles in last games this season, including five of the last seven - all CAA games.

      In his career, Robertson has started in 34 of a possible 35 games. He has amassed 304 career tackles, an average of 8.94 tackles per game, despite being targeted as a threat by every opposing offense. He has also been named a 2013 Preseason All-American by Phil Steele’s College Football Preview and The Sports Network and is also on the initial watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award after finishing second among underclassmen and eighth overall in last year’s balloting despite appearing on just the final watch list.

Scott Chewing Up Ground:James Madison running back Dae’Quan Scott was eating up yardage lastseason. In his nine contests, Scott led the team with 781 yards on 155 carries (5.0 yards per carry) and eight touchdowns. His average of 86.8 yards per game ranked third in the CAA and 45th nationally. He tied for the team lead with 30 receptions for 295 yards (9.8 yards per catch) and four scores. His 8.00 points per game was third in the league and 23rd nationally. He posted his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the year, third in a row and 12th of his career when he had 23 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown against Maine, Nov. 3, 2012.                                               

Scott continues to move up the JMU career rushing charts to 10th with 2,292 yards. He also ranks ninth at JMU in career scoring with 180 points, six points back of Rodney Landers (2005-08) and Curtis Keaton (1998-99) at 186 points. He also is eighth in career all-purpose yards at 3,181 yards.

Starke Is Solid With the Foot But Splits the Uprights Even Better at Home: Redshirt senior kicker Cameron Starke has shown his ability to hit clutch kicks for the Dukes, having connected on two final-play, game-winning field goals in 2011.

A Second Team All-CAA pick last year, Starke was a solid kicker for the Dukes, hitting all 37 of his point after attempts and going 10-for-14 (71.4 percent) on the year in field goal attempts, including connecting on all seven from inside 40 yards. He ranked second on the team in scoring with 67 points, including a career-long 49-yarder as part of a 13-10 win over then-defending CAA champion Towson.

      For his career, he is 25-of-33 (.758) on field goals and 71-of-72 (.987) on extra points, including two game-winning field goals on final plays in 2011. His 15 field goals in 2011 tied a school record for a single season as he is a career 25-for-33 (75.8 percent) on field goals.

Smith Coming Into His Own As a Wide Receiver: Junior DeAndre’ Smith is continuing to show his growth with Madison, tallying his best game of his career at Richmond, Oct. 20, 2012. Smith had six receptions for career highs of 122 yards and two touchdowns. This year, Smith is the top receiving returner with 323 yards last year on 29 catches (second among returners) and two scores.

Birdsong Made History at Quarterback: True freshman Michael Birdsong made his first collegiate start in the Georgia State game, leading the Dukes to a victory. Birdsong was 11-for-23 for 119 yards and one touchdown through the air while carrying the ball six times for 43 yards.

        The start made him the first true freshman to start at the JMU signal caller slot since Head Coach Mickey Matthews' fourth season as head man of the Dukes in 2002. That year, Jayson Cooke started the season finale at Northeastern on Nov. 23, 2002, a game won by the Huskies 41-10.  Other true freshman starters during Matthews' tenure have been current wide receivers coach Clayton Matthews (9/22/11) and Mike Connelly (10/23/99).

        An injury cut his season short by two games, but he finished 41-for-77-for 478 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. He is slated to be the starting quarterback for the Dukes this season.

Taking on FCS Teams Not Kind to JMU: Against NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams that still compete in the division, JMU has a 4-17 record. The Dukes last played an FBS opponent last season, losing to West Virginia at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., 42-12. This year, Madison will head to Mid-American Conference-foe Akron for its FCS game, playing at the Zips on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.

                                          JMU                Last

Opponent                  Record              Met

Ball State                        0-1                1997

Duke                                0-1                2008

Maryland                        0-2                2009

Navy                                 2-1                1990

North Carolina             0-2                2011

Virginia                           1-2                1983

Virginia Tech                1-6                2010

West Virginia                0-2                2012

        Of JMU’s 21 games against FBS teams, 10 of the contests have been season-openers. JMU started the 1988 season at Navy, the 1991, 1992 and 1999 seasons at Virginia Tech, the 1997 season at Ball State, the 1998 season at Maryland, the 2007 and 2011 seasons at North Carolina, the 2008 season at Duke and 2009 at Maryland.

JMU’S  FBS  GAMES: JMU’s games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams include the following:

1979        Virginia 69, JMU 9                            10/13 at UVA

1980        Va. Tech 38, JMU 6                           9/27 at VT

1982        JMU 21, Virginia 17                         9/18 at UVA

1983        Virginia 21, JMU 14                         9/17 at UVA

1988        Navy 27, JMU 14                               9/3 at Navy

1988        Va. Tech 27, JMU 6                           11/19 at VT

1989        JMU 24, Navy 20                               10/28 at Navy

1990        JMU 16, Navy 7                                 10/27 at Navy

1991        Va. Tech 41, JMU 12                        8/31 at VT

1992        Va. Tech 49, JMU 20                        9/5 at VT

1997        Ball State 24, JMU 6                        9/6 at BSU

1998        Maryland 23, JMU 15                      9/5 at UM

1999        Va. Tech 47, JMU 0                           9/4 at VT

2003        Va. Tech 43, JMU 0                           9/6 at VT

2004        W. Va. 45, JMU 10                             9/25 at WVU

2007        N. Carolina 37, JMU 14                  9/1 at UNC

2008        Duke 31, JMU 7                                 8/30 at Duke

2009        Maryland 38, JMU 35 (ot)              9/12 at UM

2010        JMU 21, Va. Tech 16                        9/11 at VT

2011        N. Carolina 42, JMU 10                  9/3 at UNC

2012        W. Va. 42, JMU 12                             9/15 at FedEx

JMU Against Ranked Teams: In its FCS history, Madison has a 54-70-1 record against ranked opponents. Since taking over in 1999, Head Coach Mickey Matthews has coached in a majority of those games, posting a 36-34 record against ranked teams.

All-Time Versus the CAA (Need to add one): For the last nine seasons, James Madison has been among the top CAA teams. During that time span, the Dukes have put together a 50-22 conference mark and trail New Hampshire by two games. Overall JMU is 76-34 in that span, surpassed only by New Hampshire’s 82-32 mark. Additionally, Madison is the only school in this group to have at least a .500 overall record in each year since 2003.

CAA Records 2004-Pres.      Conf.          Overall

New Hampshire                         52-20            82-32

James Madison                         50-22            76-34

Richmond                                      42-30            70-41

Villanova                                        41-31            66-46

Delaware                                       37-35            65-45

Maine                                              36-36            51-52

William & Mary                            34-38            55-50

Towson                                           24-48            42-58

Rhode Island                                 15-57            27-71

NOTE:  During this time period until the 2010 season, CAA teams each season played 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, the league eliminated the divisions and are one unified standings. After the 2011 season, Massachusetts moved up to the FBS level

JMU  vs. CAA Teams (* Former league teams, Includes when not CAA members)               JMU      Last

Opponent                              Overall         Met

Boston University*                 5-1-0          1997

Connecticut*                            4-1-0          1999

Delaware                                  8-12-0         2010

Georgia State*                         1-0-0          2012

Hofstra*                                       6-3-0          2009

Maine                                         11-5-0         2012

Massachusetts*                       7-8-1          2011

New Hampshire                      7-7-0          2011

Northeastern*                         12-8-0         2007

Old Dominion*                        0-2-0          2012

Rhode Island                             8-3-0          2012

Richmond                                13-17-0        2012

Towson                                      18-5-1         2012

Villanova                                  11-10-0        2012

William & Mary                     20-15-0        2012

Totals                                      131-96-2     (.576)




Doing Work In Overtime: The Dukes had their fourth overtime game in as many seasons in the double-overtime victory over William & Mary, Oct. 13, 2012. JMU is now 6-6 all-time in overtime games, with Head Coach Mickey Matthews now holding a 3-4 mark in the extra period contests. The win over the Tribe also snapped a three-game skid for JMU in games going overtime.

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