#17 JMU wins seventh straight, dumps Elon, 59-27
In its regular season finale, James Madison scored on nine of its first 13 drives of the game to roll to a 59-21 victory over Elon on Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Vad Lee (Durham, N.C./Hillside (Georgia Tech)) broke the JMU single-game completion percentage standard by going 23-for-25 (92 percent). He finished with 257 yards and three touchdowns. Lee added a touchdown using his legs too, running it in from six yards out just before halftime.
Redshirt senior running back Jauan Latney(Fredericksburg, Va./Massaponax) was leaned on heavily to pace the Dukes’ rushing attack in the first half, finishing with 100 yards on a career-high 24 carries (4.2 yards/attempt) and two touchdowns. Sophomore tailback Khalid Abdullah (Newport News, Va./Heritage) contributed 92 yards on 11 carries (8.4 yards/attempt) with two scores as the Dukes ran the ball 51 times.
Redshirt-senior DeAndre Smith (District Heights, Md./Wise) led the Dukes’ receiving corps with 56 yards on four catches and a touchdown. Redshirt-junior Andre Coble (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook (Fork Union)) tallied 54 yards on four catches while sophomore Brandon Ravenel (Stafford, Va./North Stafford) hauled in one score with 35 yards on four catches. Ten different JMU players recorded at least one catch as Lee spread the ball around.
JMU (9-3, 6-2 CAA), which won its seventh game in a row for the nation’s fifth-longest winning streak in FCS, took control early and never relinquished its lead over Elon (1-11, 0-8 CAA) following a 3-yard touchdown run by Abdullah to punctuate an 11-play, 82-yard drive just over three minutes into the game.
Finding a balance on offense was key for the Dukes, rushing for 227 yards and passing for 26. On third down, the Dukes converted five of 12 while the Phoenix only managed to convert four of 19 third-down plays. Most impressively, the Dukes went 9-for-9 in red-zone scoring chances, accumulating eight touchdowns and a 34-yard field goal from redshirt-junior Ryan Maglio (Midlothian, Va./Cosby).
The Elon offense was limited to 200 yards compared to 500 from JMU. Quinn finished 11-for-25 for 100 yards with minus-27 yards rushing thanks to five JMU sacks. Tracey Coppedge gained 67 yards on the ground to lead the Phoenix in that category. Their most explosive play of the game came on a 30-yard halfback pass from Justin Osbourne which was reeled in by a wide-open Quinn for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Quinn finished with one touchdown apiece rushing, receiving and passing.
Looking to follow up his performance against Richmond in last weekend’s contest, redshirt-sophomoreTaylor Reynolds (Newark, Del./Newark) intercepted Elon quarterback Mike Quinn in the end zone with 6:33 left in the first quarter resulting in a touchback. The interception was Reynolds’ third interception in his last two games and third this season. Senior safety Dean Marlowe (Queens, N.Y./Holy Cross) added two interceptions of his own, his first two of the 2014 campaign.
Twenty-five different players tallied one or more tackles on defense for JMU, led by redshirt-sophomore Rhakeem Stallings‘ (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) eight. Redshirt-senior Brandon Lee(Sterling, Va./Park View) and redshirt-freshman Andrew Ankrah (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) tallied two sacks a piece with senior Sage Harold (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) adding one of his own.
The special teams unit played its part in the victory as well, giving the offense good field position all game. After a 3-and-out by Elon with 4:08 remaining in the first quarter, freshman Jimmy Moreland(Royal Palm Beach, Fla./Royal Palm Beach) blocked the punt for his third blocked punt of the season and the team’s seventh.
With the win, James Madison reached the nine-win mark for the sixth time in the program’s Division I history. The Dukes will now await the NCAA FCS Selection Show, scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU. Information on tickets for a JMU postseason play is available at JMUSports.com