Concluding the 2011 Regular-Season On the Road at Massachusetts: The James Madison football squad wraps up the 2011 regular-season slate on the road at Massachusetts today. It is the second straight season that the Dukes will end the regular season away from home, as Madison earned a 14-10 win in last year's season finale at Maine.
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 94-60 record.
Massachusetts Head Coach Kevin Morris (Williams College, '86) is in his second year as head coach of the Minutemen with a 10-11 record and eighth season overall, sporting a 34-43 mark.
History With Massachusetts: Today's matchup between JMU and UMass is one of just two FCS that the Dukes don't hold an advantage in of this year's foes. UMass holds an 8-6-1 lead in the overall series and has been even stronger at home, with a 5-2-1 record in the previous meetings. The Minutemen took last year's game in Harrisonburg, 21-14, but the Dukes picked up the victory in the last contest in Amherst, winning here 17-14 in 2009. JMU Head Coach Mickey Matthews has seen UMass on the other side of the field eight times, as he sports just a 3-5 record against today's hosts.
Massachusetts -- Massachusetts leads 8-6-1
(Home 4-3, Away 2-5-1)
Year Location W/L Score
9/6/86 Home L 14-16
9/26/87 Away W 21-15
9/9/89 Away T 28-28
10/5/91 Home W 24- 7
10/2/93 Away L 10-33
9/20/97 Home W 13-10
10/10/98 Away L 26-28
10/20/01 Away L 20-43
10/26/02 Home L 7-14
9/27/03 Away L 26-31
10/9/04 Home W 28- 7
10/15/05 Away L 7-10
9/13/08 Home W 52-38
11/14/09 Away W 17-14
10/30/10 Home L 14-21
A Possible Look Towards the Playoffs: Here are the top 25 games this weekend along with several others that could impact JMU's chances of a bid into the NCAA Division I Football Championship, if the Dukes are able to defeat UMass.
1. Montana State vs. Montana 2:05 p.m.
2. Sam Houston State @ Texas State 4:00 p.m.
3. Georgia Southern @ Alabama 2:00 p.m.
4. Northern Iowa @ Illinois State 12:00 p.m.
5. North Dakota State @ Western Illinois 2:00 p.m.
6. Lehigh vs. Lafayette 12:30 p.m.
7. Montana @ Montana State 2:05 p.m.
8. Towson @ Rhode Island 12:30 p.m.
9. Appalachian State @ Elon 3:00 p.m.
10. Old Dominion Season Complete
11. Maine @ New Hampshire 12:00 p.m.
12. New Hampshire vs. Maine 12:00 p.m.
13. Wofford @ Chattanooga 2:00 p.m.
14. Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa 12:00 p.m.
15. Delaware @ Villanova 3:30 p.m.
16. Liberty @ Stony Brook 1:00 p.m.
17. Central Arkansas Season Complete
18. Harvard @ Yale 12:00 p.m.
19. James Madison @ UMass 1:00 p.m.
20. Norfolk State Season Complete
21. Jackson State vs. Alcorn State 2:00 p.m.
22. South Dakota @ North Dakota 2:00 p.m.
23. Tennessee Tech vs. Austin Peay 2:30 p.m.
24. Furman @ Florida 1:00 p.m.
25. Portland State vs. Weber State 4:05 p.m.
Other games of interest
Indiana State vs. Southern Illinois 2:05 p.m.
Youngstown State vs. Missouri State 1:00 p.m.
Albany vs. Sacred Heart 1:00 p.m.
Duquesne vs. Robert Morris 12:10 p.m.
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 16th in the country at 217.90 yards per game. Since the season opener at North Carolina, JMU is averaging 235.6 yards on the ground in nine FCS games.
Individually, redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott is sixth in the CAA and 35th nationally at 91.50 yards per contest while redshirt-sophomore Jordan Anderson is now seventh in the league and tied for 58th in the country at 68.20 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 33 sacks in the last eight games, including a season-high seven in the win over Richmond. That total leads the CAA and ranks seventh nationally, averaging 3.30 sacks per game. Defensive tackle Lamar Middleton is the team's leader, as he is tied for sixth in the CAA and tied for 84th nationally at 0.50 sacks per game.
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 57 points in the quarter in just 10 games, averaging 5.7 points per contest. After not scoring in the second half of the previous two games, the Dukes put up 17 in the second half of a 31-13 win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12.
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 211-153, giving up just 17.0 points per game. The Dukes are giving up just 88.7 rushing yards per FCS game and just 287.8 total yards per game. JMU has 14 takeaways and has posted 33 sacks and 65 total tackles for loss in those nine contests, going 6-3.
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 16-10 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. The most recent streak was snapped with a resounding 31-13 win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12.
The New Bridgeforth Drew 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 25,047 for the victory over Villanova, Oct. 15. Senior Day on Nov. 12 against Rhode Island had 25,096 in attendance, marking the fourth game that had at least 25,000 fans in Bridgeforth Stadium during the 2010 season. All five 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 25,002 and a five-game total of 125,010.
Last Time Out - Getting Back in the Win Column Over Rhode Island: Led by 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Dae'Quan Scott, No. 19 James Madison defeated Rhode Island 31-13 in front of a Senior Day crowd of 25,096 at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, Nov. 12.
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's 127 yards and two touchdowns came on just 13 carries, as he scored 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 rushed for 88 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown to go with 91 yards passing and a score.
JMU scored 28 unanswered points through three quarters and made that stand up, with two late scores by URI. 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 was good, giving JMU a 7-0 advantage with 8:16 to go in the first quarter. (Full recap on page 22).
Most Recent Meeting Between JMU and Massachusetts: #18 Massachusetts scored 18 unanswered points in the second half and came away with a 21-14 Colonial Athletic Association road win against #15 James Madison at Bridgeforth Stadium, Oct. 30, 2010.
Trailing 3-0, Madison found its way on to the scoreboard with an 11-play, 70-yard march. Utilizing the ground game, the Dukes moved into scoring position and capitalized with an 8-yard scoring run by redshirt-senior Jamal Sullivan. Redshirt-freshman Ben Hopewell hit the point-after attempt and JMU had a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
UMass punted on its next possession and pinned JMU back on its own three to start the drive. The Dukes pushed the ball out of its own end zone and put together another scoring drive that ate up the remainder of the half. Madison went the full 97 yards for the touchdown with Sullivan taking it in from two yards this time on the 11th play of the drive. Hopewell again hit the point after and the Dukes led 14-3 with just 17 seconds to go in the half, a lead they took into the intermission.
However, the Dukes couldn't hold on, as the Minutemen scored on three straight scoring drives to get the win. The final came as Madison moved the ball out of its own end before UMass held on JMU's fourth-and-1 at the Dukes' 48 and took over the ball there. The Minutemen then put together their third-straight scoring drive, finished off by 1-yard touchdown pass from Havens to tight end Andrew Krevis. Violette's extra point made it 21-14 UMass with 7:29 to play.
JMU outgained UMass 359-302, as the Dukes rushed for 180 yards and threw for 179 on the game. The Dukes also held a time of possession advantage, holding the ball for 32:10 as compared to the Minutemen's 27:50.
Redshirt-senior quarterback Drew Dudzik put together a career-high 277 yards of total offense, rushing 12 times for 98 yards and going 13-for-25 through the air for 179 yards. Sullivan rushed 21 times for 73 yards and two scores.
UMass was led on the ground by Jonathan Hernandez with game highs of 28 rushes for 137 yards. Havens was 15-for-19 for 163 yards and two scores, with Talley having game highs of four catches for 66 yards and one touchdown. (Full recap on page 23).
Scott Goes Over the Century Mark Again: Redshirt-sophomore Dae'Quan Scott posted his sixth 100-yard game of the season with his 127 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in the win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12. He has also posted 100-yard rushing games this year against Central Connecticut State, Liberty, William & Mary, Villanova and New Hampshire, with the career-best 138 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries in the win over Central Connecticut State, Sept. 10. His seven career 100-yard games ranks 14th on the JMU career list for 100-yard games. (Complete list of Scott's 100-yard games on page 10).
Scott is eighth in scoring in the CAA and tied for 74th nationally at 6.60 points per game. He also starts today's game just 85 rushing yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He also ranks 24th on JMU's career rushing chart with 1,122 yards.
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.
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 58-19 (.753) 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 was 4-1 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 4-1 3-1
Totals 58-19 36-17
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 11-of-14 on field goal attempts this season and has also hit on 26-of-27 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 recorded at least one catch in each of the first nine games, the only JMU player to do so, but did not have a reception in the win over Rhode Island, Nov. 12. 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 six of the 10 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 81 tackles and is tied for 14th in the CAA and tied for 82nd in FCS football at 8.10 tackles per game. He has also recorded seven games of seven 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 seven CAA games, he is averaging 42.6 yards on 39 punts with 16 inside the 20 yard line and six of 50 yards or more and just seven 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. He currently ranks third in the CAA and 29th in the nation with a 40.51 yards per punt average.
Thorpe Returns And Makes Impact: Redshirt-junior quarterback Justin Thorpe returned to action against Rhode Island, Nov. 12, and made his presence felt immediately. On the opening drive, he had three carries for 44 yards, including going the final 10 for the first score of the game. In leading the Dukes to the eventual 31-13 victory over the Rams,Thorpe had 19 carries for a personal season-high 88 yards and one touchdown while going 6-for-13 for 91 yards and one touchdown through the air. He is also 4-1 as the starting quarterback this year, leading Madison to four FCS wins.
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 326 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 25 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 64th nationally in rushing at 68.2 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.
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 44-18 conference mark to take the top spot, one game better than New Hampshire. Overall JMU is 67-28 in that span, surpassed only by New Hampshire's 70-25 mark.
CAA Records 2004-Pres. Conf. Overall
James Madison 44-18 67-28
New Hampshire 43-19 70-25
Richmond 36-26 60-34
Massachusetts 34-20 51-29
Villanova 35-28 53-37
Delaware 33-30 57-40
William & Mary 32-30 50-39
Maine 32-31 45-43
Hofstra* 18-30 31-37
Northeastern* 16-32 20-47
Towson 16-47 32-55
Rhode Island 15-47 26-60
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) JMU Last
Opponent Overall Met
Boston University* 5-1-0 1997
Connecticut* 4-1-0 199
9Delaware 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 7-3-0 2011
Richmond 13-16-0 2011
Towson 17-5-1 2010
Villanova 11-9-0 2011
William & Mary 19-15-0 2011
Totals 124-94-2 (.568)
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 94-60 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 to work 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.) 94-60 .610 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 6-4 4-3
Totals 94-60 62-44
Former Duke Haley Named FCS Ambassador: Charles Haley, a former James Madison University student-athlete and the only NFL player to win five Super Bowls, was named as the FCS Ambassador for the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship. Haley is the third ambassador of the football championship, following Wayne Chrebet (Hofstra) in 2009 and Everson Walls (Grambling State) in 2010.
"Charles Haley's successful collegiate and professional career provides a quintessential model of academic and athletic success," said Damani Leech, NCAA director for Division I football and baseball. "Each year we have looked for an individual who embodies the character of the FCS and can be used as a success story for the FCS student-athletes. We are thrilled that Charles will continue this tradition."
As ambassador, Haley will lend his support to the championship game in a number of ways, including pre-game interaction with fans, serving as an instructor at a youth clinic, performing the pre-game coin toss and participating in the postgame awards ceremony.
"I'm honored to serve as FCS Ambassador for the 2012 Division I Football Championship game," Haley said. "Greatness is not born, it's made. The FCS has been turning out great players for years and I look forward to watching these outstanding student-athletes compete at the highest level."
A 2011 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, Haley graduated from James Madison in 1988 with a bachelor's in social science. A four-year starter under head coach Challace McMillin, Haley became the first Dukes selected as a First-Team All-American in 1985, and was also the school's first NFL draftee. Haley, whose jersey number 87 was retired by the school, finished his JMU career with a school record 506 tackles, three interceptions and 17 quarterback sacks. In his 12 NFL seasons, Haley recorded 100.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions and eight fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown. He was selected to play in five Pro Bowls (1988, 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995) and was named NFL All-Pro in 1990 and 1994. This November, he will be inducted into the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.
The 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship game will be played on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.
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.
James Madison Football On TV: The Dukes will be on television six times this year, with two of them at the friendly confines of Bridgeforth Stadium. The first was the season opener at FBS North Carolina, Sept. 3 as part of the ACC Television package along with ESPN3, followed by the Sept. 17 contest at Liberty, with that televised on the Flames Television Network and ESPN3. The Dukes' CAA opener at William & Mary was the first of four conference contests involving JMU being broadcast. The first two league games at the renovated Bridgeforth Stadium were broadcast when Madison hosted Richmond on Oct. 1 and Maine on Oct. 8. The final regular season television game is slated for this week's Oct. 29 contest at CAA-newcomer Old Dominion. The Dukes are currently 3-3 on TV this year and 3-2 in FCS contests.
Pat Williams Recognized With League's Weekly Defensive Honor: Redshirt-senior linebacker Pat Williams earned Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week honors, the league announced Oct. 3. It was the first time he has won the weekly honor and the second straight week that a Madison player has gotten the honor, as redshirt-sophomore linebacker Stephon Robertson won the award Sept. 26.
Williams, a leader for the James Madison defense, garnered CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week honors after the Dukes beat Richmond, 31-7, in Harrisonburg Oct. 1, the first home win over the Spiders since 2003. The senior linebacker recorded a team-high eight total tackles for a defense which limited the Spiders, who averaged nearly 380 yards/game on offense entering the contest, to -12 yards rushing and just 118 total yards. James Madison's defense forced two turnovers and sacked Richmond quarterback Aaron Corp seven times for a loss of 47 yards in the game.
Defense Makes A Statement In Squishing the Spiders: After starting to find itself two weeks ago at #5 William & Mary, the JMU defense made a major impact in the win over #10 Richmond, Oct. 1. Madison held the Spiders, who were averaging almost 380 yards of offense and more than 30 points per game, to just 118 yards, including -12 yards of rushing. The Dukes also recorded a team season-high seven sacks, the most since Oct. 31, 2009 when JMU had eight at Delaware. In fact, other than starting UR's one scoring drive at the JMU 3 due to the blocked punt, the Spiders never made it to the red zone, with the closest being the JMU 37. Also of the 13 normal drives that Richmond had, seven were three-and-outs with two others ending on turnovers.
Anderson Runs Wild On the Spiders: Redshirt-sophomore Jordan 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 were of 45 and 49 yards were the two longest carries of the season for the Dukes and the two longest of his career. The 162 yards were also the most by a JMU player since quarterback Rodney Landers had 166 yards in the NCAA Playoffs against Wofford in 2008 and the most for a running back since Antoinne Bolton had 172 yards and two scores on 19 carries against Delaware in 2007.
And Bridgeforth Is Larger: Sept. 10, 2011 marked the first game in the renovated Bridgeforth Stadium with a new capacity of 24,877. In the Phase I renovations completed for the 2010 season, there was a new seating area on the West side of the stadium that included seating with a chairback club section, new concessions and bathrooms, ticket booths and a team store.
Following the final 2010 home game, the temporary bleachers came down in the end zone. Then construction began on Phase 2, which includes the completion of the club room, an upper deck with new press box, suites, elevators, stadium graphics, the wraparound of seats to the north end zone and a new 60'x24' videoboard and sound system above the Plecker Athletic Performance Center.
JMU Football History: The 2011 season is JMU's 40th season of football, its 38th varsity football season, its 33rd season with football scholarship players and its 32nd season competing at what is now the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level, formerly Division I-AA.
JMU began football in 1972, moved to a recognized varsity schedule in 1974, first awarded scholarships for the 1979 season and moved to Division I-AA in 1980. JMU moved from Division III to Division II in 1979 and to then-Division I-AA for the 1980 season.
JMU's top seasons in addition to winning the 2004 NCAA Division I-AA championship (13-2) have been in 2008 when the Dukes reached the FCS semifinals as the playoffs' top-seeded team and compiled a 12-2 record, 2007 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 2006 (9-3, NCAA playoffs), 1999 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 1995 (8-4, NCAA playoffs), 1994 (10-3, NCAA playoffs, second round), 1991 (9-4, NCAA playoffs, second round), 1987 (9-3, NCAA playoffs), 1982 (8-3), 1978 (8-2, No. 9, Division III), and 1975 (9-0-1, College Division).
Calling FedEx For the Dukes in 2012: James Madison will find its way to the nation's capital on Sept. 15, 2012, as the Dukes will take on West Virginia at FedEx Field, home of the NFL's Washington Redskins. This will be the first time that JMU has played in one of the NFL's top facilities. It will be the second-ever meeting between the Dukes and Mountaineers, as the Dukes fell to the Mountaineers, 45-10, in Morgantown, W.Va., on Sept. 25, 2004. JMU eventually won the next six consecutive games and posted a 13-2 mark that season en route to the I-AA National Title, while the Mountaineers finished with an 8-4 record that season.
Dukes in the Show: JMU is well represented in the NFL on the 2011 rosters entering the season. The Dukes have two former players that are on opening rosters for the 2011 season. Linebacker Akeem Jordan has spent his first four years in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles. Starting his second season in the NFL is former defensive end turned linebacker Arthur Moats (Buffalo Bills). Former tight end Mike Caussin (Buffalo Bills) is on the practice squad to open the season.
Former Duke Haley Enshrined in College Football Hall of Fame: Former James Madison football All-American Charles Haley was enshrined in the College Football Hall Of Fame, July 15-16 in South Bend, Ind. He becomes the first ever player from a CAA school and sixth person overall (five previous were coaches) to be elected to the Hall.
Haley was a four year starter at JMU from 1982-85. He was a two-time All-American and a three-time Defensive MVP at Madison. As a senior at JMU, Haley was voted a 1985 Associated Press First-Team I-AA All-American and both the Richmond Touchdown Club and Roanoke Times & World News' State Defensive Player of the Year. He leads JMU's all-time tackles list with 506, including three seasons of more than 100 tackles, and his 22 tackles at Shippensburg during the 1983 season still ranks as the eighth-highest single-game total in JMU history. He also added three interceptions and 17 quarterback sacks to his total.
In 1986, after his senior season Haley was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, as he was the No. 96 pick overall, the highest ever in school history. The first ever JMU player to be drafted into the NFL, Haley went on to become the only player in the league's history to win five Super Bowls, two with the 49ers and three with the Dallas Cowboys. He was also selected to five Pro Bowls during his career, as well as being a two-time First-Team All-Pro and 1990 NFC Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his professional career with 100.5 sacks, including a career-high 16 in 1990. He had eight fumble recoveries and scored one touchdown in the NFL. He retired in 1999 before becoming an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions.
Former JMU Standouts: In addition to the former Dukes recently active with professional football organizations, JMU's leading all-time performers include several other players who have enjoyed success in the NFL - placekicker Scott Norwood (1978-81), wide receiver Gary Clark (1980-83), defensive end Charles Haley (1982-85), linebacker Dion Foxx (1990-93), wide receiver Macey Brooks (1993-96), running back Curtis Keaton (1998-99), tight end Ed Perry (1993-96) and return specialist Delvin Joyce (1997-2000).
Norwood received All-Pro honors as a placekicker with the Buffalo Bills.
Clark was All-Pro with the Washington Redskins and a member of two Super Bowl title teams and later played with the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. He was selected in the first round of the first United States Football League draft in 1984.
Haley was the first player to be a member of five Super Bowl title teams while playing with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. He was the first Duke to be a first-team Division I-AA All-America and the first Duke chosen in the NFL draft (San Francisco, 1986, fourth round). He is JMU's career tackles leader.
Foxx played with the Miami Dolphins.
Brooks was with the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.
Keaton was with the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints after being the 1999 Atlantic 10 offensive player of the year when he ran for 1,719 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Perry was a tight end and long snapper with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs after being Miami's sixth-round 1997 draft pick and first-team All-Yankee Football Conference during each of his final three collegiate seasons.
Joyce was a return specialist for the New York Giants and New York Jets. He ended his career at JMU as the only player in Division I-AA history with 1,000 yards in each of the career statistical categories of rushing, receiving, punt returns and kickoff returns and as the all-time Division I-AA leader in punt return yards and combined kick return yards. He holds many of JMU's career kick return marks and is the program's all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 5,659.
Two other former Dukes saw extensive time during the 2007 preseason with NFL teams, including tailback Alvin Banks (2003-06) with the New York Jets and offensive lineman Corey Davis (2003-06) with the Buffalo Bills. Justin Rascati, JMU's starting quarterback from 2004-06, briefly was with the Chicago Bears.