Matthews, who is the first coach to win the award twice, led JMU to a 10-1 regular-season record, to the Colonial Athletic Association championship and to the No. 1 seed for the FCS playoffs. The Dukes completed the season with a 12-2 overall record and reached the semifinals of the NCAA FSC playoffs.
Matthews also won the Robinson Award in 1999, his first season at JMU and as a head coach.
This season’s award was presented in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the eve of Friday’s FCS national championship game by The Sports Network, which coordinates a weekly top-25 FCS poll, names FCS All-America teams and presents awards annually to the leading coach and offensive and defensive players in the FCS.
JMU senior quarterback Rodney Landers (
Also Thursday, JMU’s junior cornerback Scotty McGee (
Lemn has been named a first-team All-America by the Walter Camp Foundation and Associated Press and Haywood by the Walter Camp Foundation. Landers and Haywood have been named second-team Associated Press All-Americas.
JMU during the 2008 season tied its team record of 12 consecutive victories, set a team mark with 10 regular-season wins and completed CAA play with an 8-0 record. The Dukes were the FCS’s No. 1-ranked team from late September until the end of the regular season, and they defeated four playoff teams during the regular season, including three on the road.
Matthews was named the CAA coach of the year after leading JMU to its third consecutive playoff appearance, its fourth in five seasons and its fifth during his 10-season tenure with the Dukes. Matthews has a 76-46 JMU record.
Matthews received 26 of 102 first-place votes for the coach of the year award and 229 voting points overall (5-4-3-2-1 basis). He easily out-distanced runner-up Rich Ellerson of Cal Poly, who had 16 first-place votes and 174 overall points.
In the player of the year voting, Edwards received 53 first-place votes and 398 overall points. Landers had 17 first-place votes and 290 overall points and Donaldson 14 first-place votes and 209 points.
McGee during the 2008 season averaged 29.1 yards on 22 kickoff returns and 12.9 yards on 23 punt returns. He returned three punts and one kickoff for touchdowns. McGee’s 99-yard return for a touchdown of the second-half kickoff sparked JMU from a 21-0 halftime deficit in its 35-32 victory over Appalachian State, and his 69-yard punt return for a score with one second remaining gave the Dukes a 38-31 win at Richmond. He was first-team All-CAA as a punt returner and second team as a kickoff returner.
Haywood led JMU’s 2008 team in tackles with 101 and was first-team All-CAA. He had 52 unassisted tackles and 49 assists and led JMU with five interceptions.
Lemn was the leading player on a JMU offensive line that helped the Dukes average 38.1 points and 401.4 yards per game, including 282.8 yards per game rushing. He was first-team All-CAA for the second straight season.
Landers in 2008 set JMU season records for total offense (3,304; 1,770 rushing yards, 1,534 passing yards), rushing yards and touchdown passes (21). He completed 63.3 percent of his passes (112-177) and was intercepted only four times.
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