VILLANOVA, Pa. - The #11 James Madison football squad fought on the road but came up on the short end of a 14-7 loss at defending national champion #6 Villanova, Oct. 23. With their second straight conference loss, the Dukes fell to 4-3 and 1-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association while the Wildcats moved to 5-2 and 3-1 in league action.
Both teams missed field-goal attempts in the first half before the host Wildcats got on the board with a 15 play, 80-yard march over 7:39. This included Villanova converting a fake punt at the 50 with a 23-yard run by Dominic Scarnecchia midway through the drive to put VU in deep in Madison territory at the 27. Quarterback Chris Whitney capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Norman White. Nick Yako hit the extra point to make it 7-0 with 4:19 remaining in the first half.
VU struck again after a 3-and-out for the Dukes gave the hosts the ball back with just under three minutes to play in the half. On the fourth play from scrimmage, Whitney hit a streaking Mikey Reynolds for a 54-yard touchdown and the Wildcats were up 14-0 at the halftime break.
JMU got the ball to start the second half and took it 73 yards on nine plays, including a pair of third-down conversions, to punch it in the end zone with just over five minutes gone in the half. Out of the Wildcat formation, redshirt-freshman Kavon Seaton took it in from the 2 for the score. Redshirt-freshman kicker Ben Hopewell hit the extra point and the lead was trimmed to 14-7 VU.
The Dukes got one last opportunity after forcing a turnover on fourth down from the JMU 1 and getting the ball back on their own 6. Madison got down to the Villanova 36 before trying the Hail Mary play as time expired that was intercepted in the end zone.
Villanova outgained JMU 368-300, but the Dukes did put together 213 yards of offense through the air. The Wildcats had 209 yards of rushing while the Dukes had just 87 on 32 carries. Madison was solid on third-down conversions, making 10-of-17 attempts.
Redshirt-senior quarterback Drew Dudzik was 22-for-32 for 213 yards on the day, while junior Kerby Long and senior Griff Yancey each had five receptions, as seven Madison players had receptions on the afternoon. Junior Scott Noble led the rushing game with 14 carries for 39 yards. Redshirt-freshman Stephon Robertson and junior linebacker Pat Williams tied for the team high with 11 tackles each, including 1.5 tackles for loss by each player. Of Robertson's 11 stops, 10 of them were solos.
VU was paced on the ground by Angelo Babbaro with 13 rushed for 72 yards. Whitney finished the game 13-for-19 for 159 yards and two scores, with White leading all receivers with seven catches for 73 yards and one score. Marquis Kirkland led the Wildcats with 10 stops, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.0 sacks.
JMU returns home to host Massachusetts at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, Sat., Oct. 30. Kickoff on CAA Television is set for 3:30 p.m.