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JMU rallies, tops William and Mary, 31-24: Dukes in playoff hunt?

jmu logoJames Madison rallied from a 24-13 fourth-quarter deficit, getting the go-ahead score with 47 seconds to go on a pass from Vad Lee to DeAndre Smith, to top William and Mary, 31-24, on Homecoming at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Va., on Saturday.

The Dukes (6-3, 3-2 CAA) trailed 24-13 one play into the fourth quarter on a blocked punt that the Kendell Anderson of the Tribe (6-4, 2-3 CAA) returned for a touchdown.

A Ryan Maglio 35-yard field goal with 12:21 to go cut the deficit to 24-16, and a touchdown pass from Lee to Daniel Brown made it 24-23 when coach Everett Withers decided to go for the extra point to cut the margin to one, and not a potential game-tying two-point conversion.

The JMU defense rewarded that decision, getting the ball back with 4:39 to go, and Lee took over from there, driving the Dukes 78 yards on 12 plays before hitting Smith with the go-ahead score.

Lee, the Georgia Tech transfer, had another big day under center for JMU, going 26-for-40 passing for 324 yards and three touchdowns, fueling a day for the Dukes’ offense that saw them gain 445 yards.

William and Mary managed just 274 yards of total offense on the day against an improving JMU defense.

The Dukes, with the win, insert themselves into the discussion for a 2014 FCS playoff berth with games left at Stony Brook, at Richmond and the regular-season finale Nov. 22 with Elon.