HARRISONBURG, Va. - The #17 James Madison football team will travel to Eastern Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Division I Football Championships, the NCAA announced today. The game will be played on Saturday, Nov. 26, with the kickoff set for noon for the nationally-televised broadcast on ESPNU.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two programs and just the second time that JMU Head Coach Mickey Matthews has coached against a team from the Ohio Valley Conference, having defeated Morehead State in Harrisonburg in the 2010 season opener. The winner will hit the road to take on No. 2 national seed North Dakota State on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Dukes earned an at-large bid after finishing 7-4 during the regular season and 5-3 in Colonial Athletic Association play. The CAA had a record five schools earn bids into the 20-team playoffs this year.
The Colonels were the OVC Co-Champions with a 7-4 record and 6-2 mark in league play. Tennessee Tech earned the auto bid out of the OVC, while EKU garnered an at-large as well.
Coached by Dean Hood, EKU averages almost 29 points a game, while giving up just over 23. The Colonels' offense is led by junior running back Matt Denham, who is averaging 131.4 yards per game on the ground, as Estern has rushed for 203.0 yards per game. Junior quarterback T.J. Pryor has completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 1,511 yards while throwing for 18 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. His top target has been junior wide receiver Tyrone Goard, who has 38 receptions for 604 yards and 11 touchdowns. Sophomore kicker Luke Pray is just 9-of-19 on field goals and 39-of-41 on point after attempts.
Defensively, a trio of tacklers tops the list for the Colonels. Sophomore linebacker Ichiro Vance has 78 tackles on the season, including 9.4 tackles for loss. Senior defensive back Patrick McClellan is right behind at 77 tackles, while junior defensive back Brooklyn Fox has 74 on the year and is second on the squad with three interceptions.