BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 11, 2010 - The #12 James Madison football squad put together one of the biggest wins in school history with a thrilling, come-from-behind 21-16 victory at FBS #13 Virginia Tech , Sept. 11. With the win, the Dukes earned their first victory in Blacksburg in seven tries and moved to 2-0 on the season while the Hokies fell to 0-2.
The Dukes, who played without a turnover while the Hokies committed three miscues, outscored the home team 14-3 in the second half, scoring on their first two possessions.
Virginia Tech expanded its 13-7 halftime lead to 16-7 when redshirt senior Chris Hazley connected for this third field goal of the game, a 28-yarder with 11:32 remaining.
JMU got things going offensively when it got the ball back, putting together a solid sustained drive. The Dukes turned the momentum by engineering an impressive 14-play, 66-yard drive, holding the ball for 7:17 on the game clock. In the red zone, Madison cashed in with Drew Dudzik (Clifton, Va./Centreville) going around the left end on a bootleg, picking up a solid block from tight end Brian Barlow (Stephens City, Va./Sherando) to get into the end zone from seven yards. Dixon Wright (Crossnore, N.C./Avery County) converted the attempt to cut the lead to 16-14 with 4:06 to go in the in the third quarter.
Junior weak safety Jonathan Williams (Ridgeway, Va./Magna Vista) intercepted a Tyrod Taylor pass on Tech’s next possession, taking it back to the JMU 38, where the Dukes made it count. Dudzik capped off the eight-play drive by outlegging the Tech defense to the left corner of the end zone from 12 yards and the Dukes took a 21-16 lead with 13:45 to go in the contest.
Tech had a pair of chances to regain the lead by driving deep into JMU territory. The first ended on a 4th-and-2 on the JMU 17. As the Dukes put on a max blitz, sophomore cornerback Leavander Jones (Atlantic City, N.J./Atlantic City) knocked away a Taylor pass that had reached the end zone and was intended for split end Jarrett Boykin.
After a JMU three-and-out, Tech moved it quickly to the Madison 12. On 2nd-and-1, Tech running back Darren Evans had the ball knocked out by linebacker Stephon Robertson (Alexandria, Va./Edison) and recovered by Jones to give JMU the ball with just over five minutes to go.
From there, the Dukes converted a pair of third-down attempts and, when forced to punt, drew a roughing the punter penalty with under 10 seconds to play that iced the victory.
After JMU’s drive to open the game stalled, Virginia Tech took over on its six for its first possession and put together a 17-play, 94-yard march down the field over almost nine minutes for the first score of the game. Taylor found Boykin across the front of the end zone for the 9-yard score. Hazley’s point after was good to make it 7-0 Virginia Tech with 3:24 to go in the first.
The Hokies again put together a drive early in the second quarter but were stopped in the red zone. Hazley knocked through a 30-yard attempt to make it a 10-0 margin with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.
The Dukes got on the board for the first time in 11 quarters against Tech on its next possession. On the third play, senior tailback Jamal Sullivan (Ruther Glen, Va./Caroline) took a swing pass in the left flat from Dudzik , broke four tackles and scampered 77 yards down the Dukes’ sideline for a touchdown. Wright was good on his first point-after attempt of the year and the lead was trimmed to 10-7.
Virginia Tech took the ball back and got into field goal range as the half was winding down. Hazley hit his second field goal of the game, this time from 41 yards, to make it 13-7 Tech at the intermission.
JMU was outgained 362-235 but was able to hold the ball for more than 18 minutes in the second half, including scoring the two touchdowns. The Dukes had 12 first downs in the second half and limited Tech to 164 yards of offense in the second half and kept the Hokies to just 3-of-5 scoring in the red zone, with two of them field goals.
Dudzik finished the game 5-of-8 for 121 yards and one touchdown while rushing 12 times for 35 yards and two rushing scores. Sullivan had 126 yards of total offense, including the 77-touchdown catch-and-run. Robertson led all players with 13 total tackles, including 1.0 tackles for loss and the key forced fumble late in the game.
Ryan Williams led the Hokies with 91 yards on 20 carries, while Taylor finished with 13 carries for 86 yards. Taylor was also 10-of-16 through the air for 124 yards for one touchdown and one interception.
The Dukes will be off this week before hosting three-time defending Big South Conference champion Liberty at Bridgeforth Stadium, Sat. Sept. 25. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.