James Madison played a part in the AnyGivenSaturday.com Game of the Week for the second week in a row. This was quite a different battle than last week’s shootout against Richmond.
The Dukes opened the game with a six-minute and forty second touchdown drive. JMU still held that 7-0 lead when quarterback Bryan Schor left the game, but Villanova would pull things even just a few minutes later on a 56 yard Zach Bednarczyk touchdown run. From there it was a defensive battle.
James Madison managed to grab a field goal in the 3rd and 4th quarters to build a 13-7 lead, but the game was too close for comfort for the Dukes. Luckily their defense forced 4 turnovers and held Villanova to 239 yards on the day. Following the second JMU field goal the Wildcats had the ball with 4:43 on the clock and a chance to take the lead. On the second play from scrimmage Bednarczyk threw an interception to Martez Stone which gave the Dukes the ball on the Villanova 7 yard line. 5 plays later James Madison took a 20-7 lead on Khalid Abdullah’s second touchdown run of the day. Another Villanova interception officially sealed the deal and James Madison can now celebrate a CAA championship.
For the Dukes, Schor had a great day before leaving the game. In 1 quarter of play he went 10 for 11 through the air for 108 yards. He added 20 yards on 4 rushing attempts. Backup quarterback Cole Johnson had a rough day. He completed 5 passes on 12 attempts for 43 yards and threw 2 interceptions. With Schor going out early, Abdullah had to bear the load with 33 rushing attempts for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Dukes defense came up with 4 interceptions on the day by 4 different players.
For the Wildcats, Bednarczyk was 12 of 30 for 71 yards and 4 interceptions (ouch!). He did run the ball 4 times for 62 yards and 1 touchdown. Aaron Forbes helped in the ground game with 65 yards rushing on 17 attempts.
James Madison is CAA champions and should be able to win easily against Elon next weekend. The biggest issue? Schor appears to be headed for surgery with what is being reported as a broken collar-bone on the non-throwing side. Optimistic view seem to think he could potentially return in 3 weeks, but I think 6-8 is more realistic. We will have to wait and see as the week progresses, but I think JMU needs him ASAP. They will get a bye and might be able to win the 2nd round without him, but a quarterfinal game without Schor could be an uphill battle.
Villanova looked pretty rough yesterday. They need to beat Delaware to feel confident heading into playoff selection Sunday. Delaware has won two of their last 3 games and anything can happen in a rivalry game.