No. 2 JMU dominates William & Mary to open CAA play

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- No. 2 James Madison used an excellent defensive performance and a three-touchdown third quarter to blow past William & Mary, 51-0, in Colonial Athletic Association football on Saturday evening at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.

The Dukes (3-1, 1-0 CAA) won their 19th straight home game, which leads all of the FCS, and also claimed their 19th consecutive conference victory, extending the CAA record. The Tribe (1-2, 0-1 CAA) dropped their second straight outing, as JMU turned in the biggest win in the 41-game series.

JMU turned in its second shutout in three weeks, and the first in the series versus William & Mary. It was tied for the second-highest shutout win in school history, falling just short of its 56-0 romp of Hofstra in 2008.

The Dukes forced four turnovers in the game, with a pair of interceptions for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries. Redshirt senior cornerback Jimmy Moreland had a 56-yard pick-six for his 16th career interception and fifth defensive touchdown, and junior linebacker Bryce Maginley had 24-yard pick-six late in the game for his first career interception.

Redshirt sophomore safety D’Angelo Amos tallied both fumble recoveries for a new career high.

JMU allowed the visitors to reach the first-down marker just once on third down, holding the Tribe to a 1-for-15 conversion rate.
The Dukes out-gained W&M 444-132, including a 247-55 advantage in the run game.

For the first time in school history, siblings scored a touchdown in the same game for the Dukes, as redshirt junior receiver Riley Stapleton and junior tight end Dylan Stapleton each found the end zone. R. Stapleton had a game-high eight catches for 78 yards, while D. Stapleton made three grabs for 20 yards. D. Stapleton struck first, opening the scoring on a 5-yard reception late in the first quarter, and R. Stapleton opened the second half with an 11-yard TD to make it 24-0 at that point.

Redshirt junior quarterback Ben DiNucci was 17-of-23 for 160 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.

Graduate student running back Cardon Johnson led the ground game with 83 yards, while senior Marcus Marshall gained 65 yards with a touchdown. Senior Trai Sharp also added 42 rushing yards and a score.
Redshirt junior linebacker Dimitri Holloway led the team with nine tackles (1.0 for a loss) and a forced fumble, and Moreland made five stops (1.0 for a loss) and his interception for a score. Junior defensive linemen Ron’Dell Carter and Matt Terrell each had 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack in the win.

In the kicking game, redshirt sophomore Ethan Ratke matched the program record with three made field goals, marking the 17th time in school history the Dukes had a player with three makes in a game.

Through four games, Jimmy Moreland has made a team-best three interceptions, returning two of them for a touchdown.
He now has a JMU-record 16 picks and moved closer to another school record in Saturday’s win.

With his 56-yard return, he now ranks third all-time at JMU with 218 interception return yards, needing just 41 more to surpass Raven Greene (258), who was also the former career interceptions leader, with 14.

With 25,130 fans in attendance, this was the eighth largest attendance in Bridgeforth Stadium history.

For the second time since 2015, JMU scored over 50 points in a shutout. Today’s score matched JMU’s win back on Oct. 17, 2015, when the Dukes beat Elon 51-0 on the road.

This was JMU’s biggest win over the Tribe, besting the 46-14 win last season, and was the biggest margin of victory by either team in the series, besting W&M’s 33-0 win back in 1979.

W&M did not convert a third down until late in the second half, going 0-for-12 to start.

Of JMU’s seven offensive scoring drives, it had great field position, needing to go over 50 yards on just two of them. JMU’s average starting field position was on the positive side of the field, at the William & Mary 49.

On the flip side, the Tribe had a starting field position average of its own 21.

JMU hits the road to the capital city next Saturday, Sept. 29 when it faces in-state rival Richmond. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Robins Stadium and will be televised on NBC Sports Washington Plus.