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Dukes drop another one

The #6/7 James Madison football team mustered less than 100 yards of offense in the second half and visiting #15/16 New Hampshire scored 18 unanswered points in the second half to come away with a 28-14 victory at Bridgeforth Stadium. With the loss, the Dukes fall to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Colonial Athletic Association action, while the Wildcats move to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in league play.

UNH jumped on top early as redshirt-senior quarterback Drew Dudzik (Clifton, Va./Centreville) was hit by Hugo Souza at the JMU 20, forcing a fumble that Matt Evans scooped up and rambled into the end zone for the score. Mike MacArthur tacked on the extra point and the visitors had an early 7-0 lead.

The Dukes rallied on their next possession however, marching 77 yards in eight plays and 3:45 on the clock. Junior running back Scott Noble (Baltimore, Md./Franklin) had the bulk of the yards on a season-long 44-yard run to get down to the UNH 25 and eventually finished it off with a 2-yard touchdown run. Redshirt-freshman Ben Hopewell (Waynesboro, Va./Wilson Memorial) hit his point-after attempt and the game was knotted at seven with just over eight minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Wildcats had their own response on a seven-play, 42-yard drive after starting on their own 45 following Tyler Sargent’s 27-yard kickoff return. After driving to the JMU 13, the defense held ground and forced MacArthur’s 30-yard field goal attempt, which split the uprights and gave UNH the lead again, this time at 10-7 with just over nine minutes gone in the game.

After several possession changes, JMU forced a Kyle Auffray punt at the UNH 14. Redshirt-freshman Dae’Quan Scott (Staunton, Va./Robert E. Lee) took it back 53 yards to the Wildcats’ 11 to put the Dukes in business. Three plays, later Noble again took it in from two yards out and Madison had its first lead of the game at 14-10, a lead which it took into the intermission.

In the second half, the Dukes were unable to put together any sustained offense, managing just 83 yards while the visiting Wildcats had 247 offensive yards to spur their 18 second-half points. UNH got points on its first drive of the second half on a 25-yard field goal by MacArthur to cut the lead to 14-13.

JMU held throughout the remainder of the quarter, but New Hampshire got back on their side of the board with an 8-play, 64-yard drive capped by R.J. Toman’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Fox to go up 19-14. The Wildcats then added a two-point conversion on Toman’s pass to Sean Jellison to make it a 21-14 advantage with 12:29 to play. UNH then sealed the game on its next drive when Dontra Peters took it in from 14 yards out to make it the final 28-14 margin.

For the game, UNH outgained JMU 354-275, including throwing for 248 yards, 159 of that coming in the second half. The Wildcats forced three turnovers while giving up just one and sacked Dudzik four times to just two of Toman for the Dukes. After trailing the time of possession battle at halftime by more than five minutes, UNH held a 31:17-28:43 advantage in holding the ball.

Noble posted his first 100-yard rushing game of the year with 19 carries for 100 yards and two scores to lead the Dukes. Dudzik was 10-for-23 for 157 yards and two interceptions through the air, with Noble leading with two catches for 55 yards. Sophomore safety Jakarie Jackson (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) and redshirt-junior linebacker Pat Williams (Virginia Beach, Va./First Colonial) shared team-high tackle honors for JMU with 10 each.

Peters led the ground game for the Wildcats with 11 carries for 60 yards and one score, while Toman was 22-for-40 for 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception through the air. Fox was the leading receiver for UNH with six catches for 52 yards and one touchdown. Evans led all tackles with 14 total tackles, including eight solos, 1.0 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The Dukes face a daunting task next week, heading to Philadelphia to take on defending national champion Villanova, Oct. 23. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

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