DURHAM, N.H. - No. 13 James Madison could not find an answer for the No. 9 New Hampshire offense in the first half nor how to get through the UNH defense in the second half in a 28-10 Colonial Athletic Association road loss, Nov. 5. With their second-consecutive defeat, the Dukes fall to 5-4 and 3-3 in the CAA, while the Wildcats moved to 7-2 and 5-1 in league action.
Despite having five straight drives of the second half go into UNH territory, the Dukes were unable to come away with any points on any of the four, including missing on a 4th and 1 at the UNH 2-yard line early in the fourth quarter and a 4th-and-5 midway through the final period. A key play during this time was an apparent 17-yard touchdown pass from redshirt-freshman Jace Edwards (Midland, Texas/Midland Lee) to junior tight end Brian Barlow (Stephens City, Va./Sherando) that was called back on a questionable holding call. On the ensuing play, Edwards was intercepted, ending the scoring threat.
Madison was outgained 330-295 and UNH held the ball for 31:59 of the game. Penalties were a key also, as the Dukes were penalized eight times for 73 yards, while the Wildcats were just flagged four times for 19 yards. Kickoff returns were another key, as the hosts returned their three kickoffs for an average of 33.7 yards, averaging starting at the JMU 43 on the first three possessions of the game.
UNH scored on the first drive of the game, utilizing 20-yard pass completion and 23-yard run and marching it down the field 51 yards in less than a minute and a half. Running back Dontra Peters scored from three yards out for the touchdown. Known to be willing to try a gadget play, UNH then split out in three groups for a two-point conversion, resulting in a complete pass from quarterback Kevin Decker to Chris Setian to make it 8-0 Wildcats less than two minutes into the contest.
JMU gets going on, as sophomore running back Dae'Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) took good blocking and scampered 56 yards on the Dukes' first offensive play of the game. Three plays later, the drive stalled at the 8 and sophomore kicker Cameron Starke (Halifax, Va./Halifx County (West Virginia)) hit the 25-yard field goal to make it 8-3 UNH with 10:59 to go in first.
Big return for the Wildcats and a penalty gives them ball at JMU 25 to start the drive. Sack by Bryant of Decker keeps them out of the end zone but Mike MacArthur hits from 36 yards out to make it 11-3 UNH less than halfway through the first.
JMU kept the offense rolling with a mix of run and pass on its second drive. Another Scott run, this time for 20 yards, got the ball into UNH terrirtory. On first down from the Wildcats' 14, Edwards rolled out on a bootleg to the left and found Barlow in the end zone for the touchdown. Starke hit the point after and the UNH lead was down to one at 11-10 late in the first quarter.
The Wildcats had an immediate answer, getting down the field with the aid of another personal foul call against the Dukes. On third-and-10 from the JMU 19, Decker threw a perfect pass to a tightly-covered tight end Sean Cullen for the touchdown in the right corner of the end zone. The extra point pushed it back to an eight-point lead for the hosts, 18-10 with just under a minute left in the first period.
UNH continued its offensive success, moving the ball again down the field. This time, the Wildcats scored on a 9-yard touchdown run by Peters, his second of the game. The extra point made it 25-10 with 11:22 to go in the first half.
The final score of the game came late in the fourth, as MacArthur his a 21-yard field goal for the final margin.
Scott finished the game with 13 carries for 111 yards, his fifth 100-yard game of the season, while Edwards was 18-for-31 for 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while playing on an injured ankle for a majority of the game. Senior wide receiver Kerby Long (Arlington, Va./Yorktown (Fork Union)) led the receivers with five catches for 50 yards. Redshirt-freshman safety Dean Marlowe (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) led the Dukes with 12 tackles, eight of them solos, with one tackle for loss while junior safety Jakarie Jackson (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) tallied nine tackles with seven solos.
Peters led the ground game for the Wildcats with 16 carries for 87 yards and two scores, while Decker was 21-for-31 for 186 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Madison returns home for the final regular-season home game of the year next Saturday, Nov. 12, as the Dukes host Rhode Island for Senior Day. Kickoff at Bridgeforth Stadium is set for 3 p.m.