James Madison shocks No. 13 Virginia

By Stephen Sellner

The James Madison football team pulled off a high-profile victory on Saturday as they defeated No. 13 Virginia Tech, 21-17.

JMU coach Mickey Matthews, who won the FCS National Championship in 2004 coaching the Dukes, was ecstatic over the victory.

The JMU defense came up big in the second half with clutch defensive stops in the red zone, capturing any momentum from the VT sideline. With nine minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the contest, the Dukes forced a turnover on downs after deflecting Hokies quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s pass at the goal line. Just four minutes later, the Hokies coughed up the ball at the JMU 10-yard line, forfeiting their possession and ending a possible game-winning drive.

Dukes quarterback Drew Dudzik led the JMU offense with two rushing touchdowns and another through the air.

After the final kneel down by Dudzik, the Dukes sideline stormed the field in triumph and disbelief.

James Madison marks only the second team from a lower division to defeat a nationally-ranked team. The first was Appalachian State’s shocker over Michigan in 2007.

VT players and coaches can only attempt to let their second straight loss sink in. Saturday’s loss marks the Hokies’ first home loss in 33 games against nonleague opponents.

James Madison appears to be back on track after a disappointing 6-5 mark the year before. Last season was highlighted by a four game losing streak in October, in which the Dukes lost heartbreakers to Hofstra, Richmond, Villanova and William & Mary.

Despite their shortcomings last season, the Dukes seem ready for another Football Championship Subdivision National Championship run. James Madison ranks 11th in the coaches poll through two weeks, jumping four spots from the week before.

Virginia ends losing streak

On Saturday, Virginia overpowered Richmond, 34-13, in a game which snapped the Cavaliers’ four-game losing streak in season openers.

During the offseason, former Cavaliers receiver Latrell Scott was named head coach of the Spiders. In addition, the man Scott replaced was on the opposite sideline on Saturday as Mike London, the former Spiders’ head coach, was named to the same position with the Virginia in December.

Both London and Scott brought assistant coaches from their previous locations with them to their new teams, including former Richmond defensive coordinator Jim Reid joining London with the Cavaliers.

CAA names POW

JMU quarterback Drew Dudzik earned the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week honors after leading the Dukes over national powerhouse Virginia Tech.

Dudzik rushed 12 times for 35 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also going 5-of-8 through the air for 121 yards and a touchdown.

Delaware defensive back Anthony Bratton earned the CAA Defensive Player of the Week honors for his contributions to limiting South Dakota State to a minimal three points in its 26-3 handling of the Jackrabbits.

Bratton anchored a Blue Hen defense that limited the Jackrabbit offense to only 250 yards of total offense.

The CAA Special Teams Player of the Week was B.W. Webb of William & Mary. Webb opened the scoring for the Tribe with a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown. He finished the contest with 73 punt return yards.

Delaware running back Andrew Pierce earned his second CAA Rookie of the Week recognition for his performance against South Dakota State. Pierce rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown. The Blue Hen back leads the league averaging 142 rushing yards per contest.

Also earning the CAA Rookie of the Week honor was James Madison linebacker Stephon Robertson. His game-high 13 tackles led the Duke defense to the monumental upset over Virginia Tech. Robertson forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter, which was recovered by James Madison to seal the game.

Stephen Sellner can be reached at [email protected]