Concluding the 2011 Regular-Season Home Slate Versus Rhode Island: The James Madison football squad wraps up the 2011 regular-season home schedule by hosting Rhode Island today. The Dukes will be celebrating Senior Day in a pregame ceremony.
Seniors Being Honored Today: In a pre-game ceremony today, JMU will honor its 10 football seniors that will be playing their final regular-season game at Bridgeforth Stadium. The includes cornerback Mike Allen, offensive center Roane Babington, defensive end D.J. Bryant, cornerback Taveion Cuffee, defensive tackle Nick Emmons, wide receiver Kerby Long, defensive tackle Lamar Middleton, linebacker Vidal Nelson, safety Jon Rose and linebacker Pat Williams.
The Coaches: James Madison Head Coach Mickey Matthews (West Texas State, '76) is in his 13th season at JMU and as a head coach overall with an 93-60 record.
Rhode Island Head Coach Joe Trainer (Dickinson, '90) is in his third year as head coach of the Rams with a 9-22 record and sixth season overall, sporting a 22-42 mark.
History With Rhode Island: In one of the shortest series for Madison, today's game marks just the 10th-ever meeting between the Dukes and Rams. JMU leads 6-3 in the overall series, including a stellar 4-1 record at Bridgeforth Stadium. However, this is the first time since the 2007 season that the two teams have
faced off, with that being a 44-27 road win by the Dukes. JMU has won the last four meetings, dating back to the 2002 season. Of those four straight wins, two of them have been at Bridgeforth, the most recent in 2006 as Madison won 35-23. Head Coach Mickey Matthews has seen Rhode Island on the other side of the field five times, as he sports a 4-2 mark against URI.
JMU leads 6-3
(Home 4-1, Away 2-2)
Year Location W/L Score
9/5/87 Home W 38-0
11/15/97 Home W (3ot) 39-37
10/31/98 Away L 21-28
10/14/00 Away L 6-7
9/22/01 Home L 16-12
11/2/02 Away W 15-11
11/1/03 Home W 39-27
10/7/06 Home W 35-23
10/13/07 Away W 44-27
Bridgeforth Continues To Draw Fans: There is no question that attendance records will continue to be broken at JMU's renovated and expanded Bridgeforth Stadium. After today's game, more than 120,000 fans will have witnessed JMU home football this season, the most ever in a regular season for the Dukes. Sept.
10's crowd for the home opener against Central Connecticut State was the largest in Bridgeforth Stadium history with an attendance of 25,102. Then for the sold-out Homecoming game, the attendance was
25,742, setting a second record this year. There were 24,023 people that attended the Oct. 8 game against Maine, followed by the most recent crowd of 25,047 for the victory over Villanova, Oct. 15. All four totals surpassed the previous high of 17,163 when JMU posted a dramatic 35-32 come-from-behind win over Appalachian State on Sept. 20, 2008. Currently JMU ranks third in average attendance per game in the FCS with a mark of 24,979 and a four-game total of 99,914.
The Remaining Schedule: The Dukes will head out to Massachusetts for the regular season finale on Nov. 19.
Close Battles: JMU was in battles throughout the 2010 season. Of the 11 games last season, nine of them were decided by seven points or less, with the Dukes posting a 5-4 mark in those games, including just a 3-4 record in CAA games. One of those tight games was the 10-3 victory over Liberty in Bridgeforth Stadium.
This year, the Dukes have already been involved in five games decided by seven points or less, with JMU earning victories in three.
Grinding It Out on the Ground: JMU's ground attack continues to be a struggle for opponents to handle. Heading into this weekend's action, the Dukes are second in the Colonial Athletic Association and rank 13th in the country at 215.33 yards per game. Since the season opener at North Carolina, JMU is averaging 240.3 yards on the ground in eight FCS games.
Individually, redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott is sixth in the CAA and 38th nationally at 87.56 yards per contest while redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson is now seventh in the league and 55th in the country at 73.00 yards a game.
Getting the Pressure Going: Part of the JMU defensive effort has also resulted in getting to the quarterback. After having no sacks in the first two games, JMU has posted 30 sacks in the last seven games, including a season-high seven in the win over Richmond. That total leads the CAA and ranks ninth nationally, averaging 3.33 sacks per game. Defensive end D.J. Bryant is the team's leader, as he is tied for
sixth in the CAA and tied for 85th nationally at 0.50 sacks per game.
Last Time Out - Dropping One at New Hampshire: 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.
Despite getting five straight drives of the second half in UNH territory, the Dukes were unable to come away with any points on any of the five, 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 to junior tight end Brian
Barlow 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.
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 led the receivers with five catches for 50 yards. Redshirt-freshman safety Dean Marlowe led the Dukes with 12 tackles, eight of them solos, with one tackle for loss while junior safety Jakarie Jackson tallied nine tackles with seven solos. (Full recap on page 22).
Most Recent Meeting Between JMU and Rhode Island: Quarterback Rodney Landers threw for three touchdowns, and James Madison survived a second-half rally by Rhode Island for a 44-27 Colonial Athletic Association football victory, Oct. 13, 2007. The victory was JMU's sixth straight.
JMU led 23-6, but Rhode Island got a touchdown on faked field goal try on the final play of the first half and pulled to within 30-27 early during the final period before the Dukes secured the victory.
Landers hit wide receiver Marcus Turner on a 31-yard scoring pass to cap a 61-yard drive on the series after Rhode Island got to within three points, and the Rams got only one first down on their three remaining possessions.
Turner's touchdown gave the Dukes a 37-27 lead with 11:39 left in the game, and tailback Griff Yancey gave JMU its final margin with a one-yard scoring run with 8:36 remaining after Rhode Island failed to get a first down on a faked punt try from its 35-yard line.
Landers hit on eight of 12 passes for 168 yards and ran 26 times for 160 yards. In addition to Turner, he connected with wide receiver Rockeed McCarter on a 56-yard scoring pass on the game's second play and with tight end Mike Caussin on a nine-yard touchdown pass for a 30-13 JMU lead with 5:46 left in the third quarter.
Landers directed a JMU offense that compiled a season-high 598 total yards (430 rushing, 168 passing). The Dukes allowed Rhode Island 427 yards (256 rushing, 171 passing) and lost three fumbles.
Jason Pritchard's 50-yard field goal, the first of his career, matched the fifth-longest field goal in JMU history and was the Dukes' first 50-yarder since Burke George hit from a 52 yards at Hofstra in 2002. The 50-yarder matched the longest field goal a JMU player has had on a natural playing surface. (Full recap on page 23).
Scott Goes Over the Century Mark Again: Redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott posted his fifth 100-yard game of the season with his 111 yards on 13 carries at New Hampshire, Nov. 5. He has also posted 100-yard rushing games this year against Central Connecticut State, Liberty, William & Mary and Villanova, with the
career-best 138 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries in the win over Central Connecticut State, Sept. 10.
Scott is tied for eighth in scoring in the CAA and tied for 74th nationally at 6.00 points per game. He also starts today's game just 212 rushing yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Fourth Quarter Improvement This Season: Last year, JMU struggled to find the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, tallying just 19 points in 11 games, an average of 1.7 points a game. This season, the Dukes have scored 54 points in the quarter in just 9 games, averaging 6.0 points per contest. However in the last two games, the Dukes have not found the scoreboard in the second half of either contest.
Against FCS, Defense Showing It Has What It Takes: The JMU defense has continued to show its ability to make an impact on a game, especially against FCS opponents. On the scoreboard, Madison has outscored its FCS opponents 180-140, giving up just 17.5 points per game. The Dukes are giving up just 99.6 rushing yards per game, just 292.4 total yards per game. JMU has 11 takeaways and has posted 30 sacks and 57 total tackles for loss in those six contests, going 5-3.
JMU Against Ranked Teams: In its FCS history, Madison has a 53-67-1 record against ranked opponents. Since taking over in 1999, Head Coach Mickey Matthews has coached in a majority of those games, posting a 35-31 record against ranked teams. JMU had three straight wins over top-25 teams on consecutive weekends for the first time since the 2004 season, when the Dukes won four straight road games to win the National Championship. Otherwise, this is the first time in school history during the regular season that JMU had posted three straight wins in consecutive weeks over ranked opponents. Madison just fell short against the last three ranked foes, the first on Oct. 8 when it dropped a heartbreaking 25-24 loss to #19 Maine, followed by Oct. 29 defeat at #15 Old Dominion, 23-20 and a 28-10 loss at #9 New Hampshire, Nov. 5.
Coming Back Following a Loss: The Dukes have been solid following a loss over the last seven years. Since the start of the 2004 season, JMU is 15-10 in games following a loss, other than in season-ending losses, including this season's earlier wins over Central Connecticut State following the loss at North Carolina
and the victory over Villanova after the overtime loss to Maine, prior to the back-to-back losses to #15 Old Dominion and #9 New Hampshire.
Home Is Where the Heart (And the Victories) Are: The Dukes are tough to beat at Bridgeforth Stadium under Head Coach Mickey Matthews. In his 12-plus years at the helm, JMU has a 57-19 (.750) record in Harrisonburg. What makes that more impressive is that eight of the losses occurred during a two-year span (2001-02) when the Dukes had a combined overall record of 7-16 (JMU was 2-9 in 2001 and 5-7 in 2002). This year, JMU is 3-1 at home, securing its ninth-straight .500 or better season at home.
Matthews' JMU Home Mark
Year Overall Conf.
1999 5-0 4-0
2000 6-0 4-0
2001 1-4 0-4
2002 3-4 2-3
2003 5-1 3-1
2004 5-1 3-1
2005 5-1 3-1
2006 5-0 4-0
2007 5-1 3-1
2008 8-1 4-0
2009 3-2 2-2
2010 3-3 1-3
2011 3-1 2-1
Totals 57-19 35-17
Scott Goes Over the Century Mark Again: Redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott posted his third-straight and fourth career 100-yard rushing game with 26 rushes for 112 yards and one touchdown in the thrilling win over #5 William & Mary, Sept. 24. In the game before, he had a career-high 29 carries for 126 yards and a career-best tying three touchdowns in the last-second victory at #20 Liberty, Sept. 17. In the prior game, he had 20 carries for a career-high 138 yards and one touchdown in the win over Central Connecticut State, Sept. 10. However, the streak ended against Richmond, Oct. 1, as Scott left with a shoulder injury after a fourth-down conversion carry, departing with just 23 yards on eight carries. He got back on the 100-yard mark, carrying the ball 15 times for 109 yards in the win over Villanova, Oct. 15. Most recently, he had 13 carries for 111 yards at New Hampshire, Nov. 5. Scott picked up his first 100-yard game in a 2010 upset
win of then-No. 1 William & Mary in Harrisonburg. The then-redshirt-freshman replaced senior Drew Dudzik at quarterback and garnered 125 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, earning CAA Rookie of the Week honors. The Staunton, Va. native also has played receiver in nine contests last year, having made 16 catches for 206 yards and one touchdown.
Scott currently leads JMU and ranks sixth in the CAA and 38th nationally at 87.6 yards per game, while being tied for eighth in scoring in the league and tied for 74th nationally at 6.00 points per game.
Starke Splitting the Uprights: Redshirt-sophomore kicker Cameron Starke has shown he knows how to put the ball between the goal posts so far this season. After missing his first field goal attempt at JMU in the game at North Carolina, Starke connected on nine consecutive field goals, including the 40-yard game-winner at #20 Liberty, Sept. 17, and both field goals in a road victory at #5 William & Mary, Sept. 24, prior to missing at Old Dominion from 51 yards out. He hit a career long of 44 yards in the victory over Richmond, Oct. 1. Starke is now 10-of-13 on field goal attempts has also hit on 22-of-23 point after tries.
Barlow A Key Target: Junior tight end Brian Barlow is proving to be one of the key targets of the JMU offense this year. Barlow currently leads Madison with 27 receptions, while his 264 receiving yards are second on the team. He had a career-high five receptions in the season opener at North Carolina, Sept. 3, and has recorded at least one catch in each of the nine games, the only JMU player to do so. Barlow had his first touchdown catch of the season at New Hampshire, Nov. 5, a 14-yard pass from Jace Edwards.
Robertson In On the Tackle: That is a phrase that has become very familiar to the Dukes when it comes to redshirt-sophomore linebacker Stephon Robertson. Last year, he was the second leading tackler for JMU with 90 total tackles (9.0 per game), including a career-best 13 tackles each at Virginia Tech, against Liberty and at Towson, earning him CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
This season, he picked back up where he left off, posting a team-best eight tackles at North Carolina, Sept. 3, leading the team with a career-high 14 tackles in the home opening win over Central Connecticut State, Sept. 10, and also having a team-high nine tackles in the victory at Liberty, Sept. 17. He also earned the CAA Defensive Player of the Week after recording six tackles and a key forced fumble that led to the game-winning touchdown at William & Mary, Sept. 24. He has led the Dukes in tackles in five of the seven games, including a game-high 12 tackles, six of them solo, along with 1.0 tackle for loss against Maine, Oct. 8, and eight tackles, with 1.0 sack and a pass breakup in the win over Villanova, Oct. 15.
He currently leads the Dukes with 78 tackles and is 10th in the CAA and tied for 59th in FCS football at 8.88 tackles per game. He has also recorded six games of eight tackles or more on the season.
Skahn Finding the Mark: After a slow start to the season, junior punter David Skahn is hitting it well. In the last five games, he is averaging 44.3 yards on 26 punts with 11 inside the 20 yard line and five of 50 yards or more and just six punts that were returned. He hit a career-long 56-yard punt in the win over Richmond, Oct. 5, an effort that included two punts of more than 50 yards and four of the seven finishing inside the Richmond 10. Against Villanova, he averaged 42.8 yards on four punts, with two inside the 20 and two fair catches.
Long Getting Involved: In the win at #20 Liberty, redshirt-senior wide receiver Kerby Long was a key part of the action. Long had a career-best six catches for 61 yards in the contest, with none more important than his final grab. On the final drive on a 3rd-and-4 from the Dukes' 31, Thorpe connected with Long for a 32-yard reception, getting the ball to the LU 37 and setting up the eventual game-winning field goal. Long had a key catch in the victory at #5 William & Mary Sept. 24, grabbing a 52-yard touchdown catch for the first score of the game. His career-long catch came in the win against Villanova, Oct. 15, as he outjumped a Wildcat defender for the ball, broke two tackles and went 80 yards for a touchdown catch that sealed the win.
He currently leads Madison with 312 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 22 catches.
Anderson Continues To Assert Himself in the Running Game: Redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson has put together two of the more impressive consecutive weeks of rushing the football. Against Maine, Anderson posted the seventh-best rushing game in school history and 10th 200-yard game in JMU annals when he rushed for a career-high 212 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. The last time the Dukes had a single player rush over 200 yards was Rodney Landers with 206 yards against Massachusetts on September 13, 2008. Anderson's 212 yards is also the most since Curtis Keaton's 237 against Connecticut in 1999.
Prior to the Maine game, Anderson took advantage of his opportunity in the win over #10 Richmond Oct. 1. Helping fill the role of the injured Dae'Quan Scott, Anderson had 13 carries for career-highs of 162 yards and two touchdowns. His first two collegiate touchdown runs of 45 and 49 yards were the two longest previous carries of the season for the Dukes and are now the second and third longest of his career.
Anderson currently ranks seventh in the CAA and 55th nationally in rushing at 73.0 yards per game.
Oh Captain, My Captains: The Dukes voted and elected six captains for the 2011 season, with four seniors and two juniors. From the offensive side of the ball, senior Roane Babington and juniors Justin Thorpe and Brian Barlow were voted as captains, while the defensive captains are seniors Vidal Nelson, D.J. Bryant and Pat Williams. All but Nelson are first-year captains, as Nelson was the only junior captain on the 2010 squad.
Matthews The Winningest: Mickey Matthews (1999-Pres.) became JMU's winningest football coach Sept. 27, 2008 in a 24-10 victory at Maine. The win gave the then-10th-year Dukes coach a 68-45 JMU record, which is now at 93-60 overall, which currently ranks 12th among all active coaches in terms of winning percentage and 25th in victories.
Challace McMillin (1972-84), JMU's first football coach, had a 67-56-1 record during 13 JMU seasons and held the program's previous coaching victories record. McMillin has retired as a JMU kinesiology teaching staff member, but he continues towork with JMU athletic teams in a sports psychology role. He was with the team at Maine for a special team presentation to Matthews in recognition of the coach's accomplishment.
JMU'S COACHING RECORDS
Coach (Years) W-L Pct. NCAA
Mickey Matthews (1999-Pres.) 93-60 .608 5
Challace McMillin (1972-84) 67-56-1 .544 0
Joe Purzycki (1985-90) 34-30-2 .530 1
Rip Scherer (1991-94) 29-19 .604 2
Alex Wood (1995-98) 23-22 .511 1
* Challace McMillin's listed coaching record at JMU does not include the program's
inaugural football season of 1972 when the team's schedule did not include the minimum
number of games to constitute an NCAA-recognized varsity football season. JMU's
1972 team played five games against a mixture of college varsity and junior varsity
and prep-school teams.
JMU UNDER MATTHEWS
Year Overall Conf.
1999 8-4 7-1 NCAA
2000 6-5 4-4
2001 2-9 0-9
2002 5-7 3-6
2003 6-6 4-5
2004 13-2 7-1 NCAA Title
2005 7-4 5-3
2006 9-3 7-1 NCAA
2007 8-4 6-2 NCAA
2008 12-2 8-0 NCAA
2009 6-5 4-4
2010 6-5 3-5
2011 5-4 3-3
Totals 93-60 61-44
All-Time Versus the CAA: For the last seven-plus seasons, there has not been a better team in league action in the Colonial Athletic Association than James Madison. During that time span, the Dukes have put together a 43-18 conference mark, the same record as New Hampshire at the top. Overall JMU is 66-28 in that span, surpassed only by New Hampshire's 70-24 mark.
CAA Records 2004-Pres. Conf. Overall
James Madison 43-18 66-28
New Hampshire 43-18 70-24
Richmond 36-25 60-33
Massachusetts 34-19 51-28
Villanova 35-28 53-37
William & Mary 32-29 50-38
Delaware 32-30 56-40
Maine 31-31 44-43
Hofstra* 18-30 31-37
Northeastern* 16-32 20-47
Rhode Island 15-46 26-59
Towson 15-47 31-55
NOTE: During this time period until the 2010 season, CAA teams each season played each of five other teams in their division and three of the six teams in the other division for an eight-game league slate. With the dropping of football by two CAA schools prior to 2010 (Hofstra and Northeastern*), the league eliminated the divisions and are one unified standings.
JMU vs. CAA Teams (* Former league teams)
Opponent Overall Met
Boston University* 5-1-0 1997
Connecticut* 4-1-0 1999
Delaware 8-12-0 2010
Hofstra* 6-3-0 2009
Maine 10-5-0 2011
Massachusetts 6-8-1 2010
New Hampshire 7-7-0 2011
Northeastern* 12-8-0 2007
Old Dominion 0-1-0 2011
Rhode Island 6-3-0 2007
Richmond 13-16-0 2011
Towson 17-5-1 2010
Villanova 11-9-0 2011
William & Mary 19-15-0 2011
Can It BE Any Tougher?: JMU sported one of the toughest schedules in FCS football, with the eighth-ranked schedule in FCS Football, according to the 2010 NCAA final statistics, with five of the top eight spots occupied by Colonial Athletic Association squads.
This year, the Dukes were one of six Colonial Athletic Association squads picked among the top 25 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason Poll and 10 total squads receiving votes. Defending CAA champion William & Mary was picked third, followed by Delaware in fifth. New Hampshire earned the 10th spot in the poll with Villanova at 14th and JMU at 15th. Richmond comes in at 16th, with Massachusetts
rounding out the top 25 teams at 25. Among those also receiving votes in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll are Rhode Island, Maine and Old Dominion. CAA Football has had a national finalist in each of the past five seasons and seven of the last eight, including national champions Delaware (2003), James Madison (2004), Richmond (2008) and Villanova (2009) with national finalist Delaware last year.
In addition to five games scheduled against CAA opponents in the preseason top 25 teams nationally and three other CAA foes receiving votes, the Dukes also play Preseason-Big South Conference favorite and four-time defending league champion Liberty in Lynchburg, Sept. 17. The Dukes also play Central Connecticut State in the home opener Sept. 10, as the Blue Devils are the preseason Northeast Conference favorite and were among the teams receiving votes in both the Sports Network and FCS Coaches Poll. The season opener pits the Dukes against FBS North Carolina, who is receiving votes in the USA Today Preseason Poll. That gives the Dukes all 11 of its games against opponents ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes nationally in their respective preseason polls.
According to the NCAA records over the last seven years, JMU has had a schedule ranking as one of the top 10 toughest schedules nationally four times, including the top schedule in 2008 and the eighth-toughest slate last year.