HARRISONBURG, Va., Sept. 8, 2012 -- The James Madison football team, led by redshirt junior running back Dae'Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E.Lee) and redshirt-senior quarterback Justin Thorpe (Richmond, Va./Varina), turned in a dominant first-half performance as the Dukes grabbed a commanding 28-0 lead over visiting Alcorn State going into halftime before coasting to a 42-3 win on Saturday night at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.
JMU started the season 2-0 for just the second time since 2005. ASU fell to 1-1. The Dukes offense scored at least 40 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2008.
On the ground James Madison's running attack lead by Scott and Thorpe totaled 226 yards. They became the first JMU teammates to tally over 100 yards rushing for the first time since 2010 against William and Mary. They each reached the mark in the first half.
Scott punched in a 1-yard run for the first score of the night and followed that with a 67-yard scamper with 5:56 to play in the first quarter. He finished with 107 yards on the night, averaging 13.4 yards per carry, and had 39 yards receiving. Scott added a 10-yard touchdown reception with 3:06 left in the second quarter to finish with 146 total yards and three scores in just 27 minutes of game time.
Thorpe finished with 101 yards rushing and 14 of 18 passing for 140 yards, Thorpe found an open hole that led to a 32-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. In addition to the 10-yard strike to Scott, he threw a short pass to redshirt-junior tailback Jordan Anderson (Chantilly, Va./Westfield), who ran through multiple defenders before scoring from 31 yards out. He left the game with 3:06 remaining in the third quarter as freshman Michael Birdsong (Matoaca, Va./Matoaca) took over.
Fueled by Scott and Thorpe, the Dukes offense racked up 295 yards of total offense in the first half while the defense limited the Braves to 104 yards at the break. JMU had 207 rushing yards at the half, all from Scott and Thorpe. The Dukes finished with 416 total yards compared to 250 for the Braves.
Redshirt-junior linebacker Stephon Robertson (Alexandria, Va./Edison) and redshirt-sophomore safety Dean Marlowe (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) posted 11 and eight tackles, respectively. Redshirt-senior cornerback Ryan Smith (Ashland, Va./Patrick Henry) added seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
Redshirt-senior David Skahn (Centreville, Va./Westfield) averaged 44.6 yards per punt, including a career long of 65 yards, while redshirt-junior placekicker Cameron Starke (Halifax, Va./Halifax County) converted all six point-after attempts.
Birdsong who saw ample playing time against Saint Francis, found redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Ryan Dixon (Union Bridge, Md./Linganore) for a 39-yard scoring play. It was Dixon's first career touchdown reception.
Alcorn State quarterback Darius Smith went 22-for-39 passing for 148 yards and one interception. He was also the leading rusher for the Braves with 48 yards on the ground.
Tavoris Doss was the leading receiver with eight catches for 68 yards. The only points for the Braves came on a 39-yard field goal by Ernesto Santillan in the third quarter. He also had a 31-yard attempt blocked in the first quarter.
Next Saturday, JMU will travel to Landover, Md. to face West Virginia, ranked eighth in the FBS national polls. The Virginia 529 Classic will be held at 4:30 p.m. at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins.