RICHMOND, Va. - James Madison had two football players earn Colonial Athletic Association Football Player of the Week honors, as sophomore punter Conner Arnone was named Special Teams Player of the Week and redshirt-freshman linebacker Gage Steele earned Rookie of the Week honors. It is the first league honor for both.
Arnone had a stellar all-around day in the Dukes’ win over UAlbany, finishing with a 49.5-yard punt average on four punts that included a career-long 65-yarder. The sophomore also averaged 60.8 yards on eight kickoffs that featured three touchbacks in a special teams effort that forced the Great Danes to on average begin drives from their 27-yard line.
Steele broke open for a career day against the Great Danes, turning in an 18-tackle effort that leads the league through the opening six weeks of the season. The rookie racked up 13 solo stops and one sack in JMU’s dominant win, with four of his tackles ending Dane drives. His 18 tackles are the first 18-plus game since Justin Barnes had 19 against New Hampshire in 2007, while the 13 solos tie the highest since 1999 along with Pat Williams (vs. Towson in 2009) and Akeem Jordan (vs. Appalachian State in 2006). Steele’s showing highlighted a defensive unit that held UAlbany to just 81 rushing yards and five of 19 third-down conversions on Saturday.
JMU hosts the Richmond Spiders Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium in its third Colonial Athletic Association game of the season. The game is scheduled to kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. Tickets for the game against Richmond are currently on sale, as well as available for student online pickup and for students to purchase guest tickets. To purchase tickets for the Dukes-Spiders game online, click here.