HARRISONBURG, Va., Nov. 12, 2011-Led by 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Dae'Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee), No. 19 James Madison defeated Rhode Island 31-13 in front of a crowd of 25,096 at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, Nov. 12. With the victory on Senior Day, the Dukes moved to 6-4 on the season and 4-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association and the Rams fell to 3-7 and 2-5 in the league.
JMU posted 241 of its 332 total yards on the ground, averaging nearly six yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Dukes' defense recorded four takeaways and surrendered just 140 yards through the first three quarters before the Rams tacked on a pair of scoring drives late in the game.
Scott rushed for 127 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries, scoring on rushes of 66 and 21 yards in the third quarter to help the Dukes build a 28-0 lead. In his first action since Sept. 24, redshirt-junior quarterback Justin Thorpe (Richmond, Va./Varina) rushed for 88 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown to go with 91 yards passing and a score.
On JMU's first possession, Thorpe capped a quick five-play, 64-yard drive with a 10-yard rush up the middle for the first touchdown of the game. Thorpe rushed for 44 yards on three carries on the drive. The extra point attempt by redshirt-sophomore kicker Cameron Starke (Halifax, Va./Halifax County) was good, giving JMU a 7-0 advantage with 8:16 to go in the first quarter.
In the next quarter, Thorpe threw a 24-yard touchdown to the right corner of the end zone to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Renard Robinson (Baltimore, Md./Mt. St. Joseph's) with 9:13 to go in the second quarter. It was Robinson's first touchdown of the season.
Rhode Island drove deep into JMU territory late in the second quarter. However, redshirt-freshman Dean Marlowe's (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) interception at the JMU 27 stopped the threat, preserving Madison's 14-0 halftime advantage.
Early in the second half, the Dukes got on the scoreboard again. Scott burst through the line and scampered down the left sideline for a 66-yard touchdown, increasing the Dukes' lead to 21-0.
Redshirt-sophomore Stephon Robertson's (Alexandria, Va./Edison) intercepted a Steve Probst pass on the URI 21-yard line, and Scott followed one play later with a 21-yard burst to up Madison's lead 28-0 with under two minutes to play in the third.
Rhode Island got its first points of the game with 12:51 to go in the contest on an 11-yard touchdown rush by sophomore quarterback Robert Bentsen. A blocked extra point by JMU redshirt-senior Lamar Middleton (Newark, N.J./Shabazz) left the score at 28-6.
After a Thorpe fumble, URI took possession at the JMU 40 yard line with 11:06 to go in the fourth. However, redshirt-senior Vidal Nelson (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) forced a fumble, which was then recovered by Robertson on the JMU 10 to end the threat.
After JMU was stopped three-and-out and following a sack of URI, redshirt-senior Pat Williams (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) intercepted Bentsen's pass at the JMU 30 to end another drive. The Dukes converted the turnover into points. Thorpe connected with Robinson for a 52-yard pass to the Rams' 10 to set up a 25-yard Starke field goal for a 31-6 lead with 4:10 remaining.
The Rams scored their final touchdown of the evening with eight seconds on the clock as Bentsen maneuvered his way into the end zone from one yard out. The extra point by Louis Feinstein followed, accounting for the 31-13 final score.
JMU will close the regular season at Massachusetts next Saturday, November 19 at 1 p.m. with the Dukes needing a win to remain in the picture for FCS playoff consideration.
Notes: Scott led the Dukes with 127 rushing yards, his sixth 100-yard rushing game of the year...Robinson had a career-high 76 receiving yards...Marlowe recorded a team-high eight tackles along with grabbing his team-high third interception of the season... Punter David Skahn averaged 40.6 yards on seven punts, with three of them inside the 20... Three interceptions for the Dukes was a season high... JMU averaged just over 25,000 fans a contest in the five home games in the renovated and expanded Bridgeforth Stadium this season.