James Madison overcame a pair fourth-quarter deficits to force overtime, only to fall to No. 25 Delaware 30-23 in Colonial Athletic Association football Saturday before 20,592 fans at Bridgeforth Stadium and Zane Showker Field.
Delaware (3-1, 1-0) had the first possession in the overtime period and took five plays to score when senior quarterback Trent Hurley tossed a four-yard strike just inside the front left cone to junior receiver Jerel Harrison. The Dukes (2-3, 0-2) overcame a third-and-10 from the 25, but an ultimate fourth-and-goal from the one was turned back when the Delaware defense stopped freshman running back Taylor Woods (Havelock, N.C./Havelock) inches from the goal line.
Delaware scored the first points of the second half with a 28-yard field goal for a 16-6 lead as 8:09 remained in the fourth quarter. JMU responded with a 13-play, 77-yard drive that ended when redshirt junior quarterbackVad Lee (Durham, N.C./Hillside/Georgia Tech) zipped in a three-yard pass to senior receiver DeAndre’ Smith(District Heights, Md./Wise), pulling the Dukes to within 16-13 with 5:15 to go.
Redshirt sophomore linebacker Gage Steele’s (Front Royal, Va./Warren County) first career interception, at the UD 45, came just 21 seconds into the Blue Hens’ ensuing possession, setting up a career-long 43-yard field goal by redshirt junior Connor Arnone (Williamsport, Md./Williamsport) that tied the affair with 2:55 to play.
The Blue Hens, who scored on a 75-yard screen pass on the game’s first play from scrimmage, capitalized on another short pass and long run, this time for an 86-yard score from Hurley to Harrison that put the visitors up 23-16 and left the Dukes only 1:37 with which to work. It was enough, as Lee found a seam for a two-yard TD run to knot the game at 23-all with just 20 seconds remaining in regulation.
JMU slightly outgained Delaware, 489-463, including a balanced attack of 237 yards on the ground and 252 through the air. JMU was just 8-for-21 on third down conversions, while UD was 6-for-13, but held an advantage in time of possession of 32:04 to 27:56. JMU ran a school-record 99 plays compared to 65 for Delaware.
Lee rushed 19 times for 86 yards and one score and was 25-for-44 for 252 yards and one touchdown through the air. Redshirt junior tight end Deane Cheatham (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover) tied his career high set last week with six catches, for 80 yards. Smith also tied his career high of six receptions, for 55 yards and one score.