HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 21, 2013 – After a quick start Saturday night by Charlotte at a rainy Bridgeforth Stadium, No. 16/17 James Madison football (3-1, 0-0 CAA) rode a big day from redshirt-senior Dae’Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) to a 34-7 win over visiting Charlotte, Sept. 21. With the victory in their final non-conference game, the Dukes are now 3-0 at home this season.
Led by Scott and quarterback Michael Birdsong (Matoaca, VA./Matoaca), the offense racked up 522 total yards. Scott received a heavy workload, carrying the ball a personal-best 35 times for 176 yards and two touchdownswhile Birdsong was 20-for-28 through the air for 201 yards and a score.
Scott eclipsed 100-yards rushing for the fourth straight game and the 16th time in his career to move into third all-time in career-rushing yards (2,886 yards). Birdsong passed for more than 200 yards for the second time this season.
Following a fumble by the Dukes on the opening kickoff, the 49ers took a 7-0 lead on an eight-yard run by Matt Johnson. The two-play drive began on the JMU 31-yard line.
JMU responded with 34 unanswered points, starting with a 12-play, 76-yard drive immediately following Charlotte’s touchdown. Scott capped the drive with a nine-yard run to tie the game midway through the first.
Following a failed 4th-down conversion attempt by the 49ers, JMU matched its longest drive in school history as the Dukes marched 99 yards on 11 plays. Once again, it was Scott who put the finishing touch on the drive with a 20-yard touchdown run to give the Dukes a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish.
JMU turned to the passing game for the lone points of the second quarter. Birdsong connected with a wide-open Quintin Hunter (Orange, Va./Orange) down the left sideline for a 37-yard touchdown pass. The kick from redshirt senior Cameron Starke (Halifax, Va./Halifax County (West Virginia)) went wide of the uprights, and the Dukes took a 20-7 lead in the half.
JMU outscored the 49ers 14-0 in the second half as a pair of freshmen reached the end zone for the first time in their career.
Wide receiver Rashard Davis (Charlottesville, Va./Charlottesville) took a handoff late in the third to score a 36-yard touchdown. Making his debut for the Dukes, Khalid Abdullah (Newport News, Va./Heritage) ran 13 times for 61 yards, including a six-yard run early in the fourth to complete the scoring at 34-7.
Both teams struggled to hold on to the ball in the rainy weather. Charlotte fumbled six times and lost three of them, while JMU turned the ball over on all three of its fumbles
Stephon Robertson (Alexandria, Va./Edison) led the JMU defensive effort with 12 tackles including six solo stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Alex Mosley (Highland Sprints, Va./Highland Springs) finished with 1.5 sacks, while Ascene Jacques (Springdale, Md./C.H. Flowers), Gage Steele (Front Royal, Va./Warren) and Brandon Lee (Sterling, Va./Park View) all forced fumbles. Kwe’shon Williams (Norfolk, Va., Norview) intercepted his second pass of the season.
JMU travels to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens in their first Colonial Athletic Association game of the season. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m., and will be televised on Comcast Regional Sports.