HARRISONBURG - As Jakarie Jackson left the post-game press conference Saturday night, the James Madison safety politely said “Ya’ll have a good one” to all assembled in the Bridgeforth Stadium press box.
He already did.
Jackson batted down a pass on an attempted two-point conversion in double time to help No. 4 JMU rally from a two-touchdown deficit and survive with a 27-26 win over William & Mary and move into sole possession of first place in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“I got the play from my defensive coach, executed the assignment and came out with the W,” said Jackson, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak in overtime games.
After trading field goals in the first overtime after regulation ended with the game tied 17-17, JMU (5-1 overall, 3-0 in the CAA) scored on a 3-yard run by tailback Dae’Quan Scott go ahead 27-20 to start the second overtime.
The Tribe (2-5, 1-3) answered, scoring on a 7-yard pass from Raphael Ortiz to wide receiver Tre McBride — a play originally negated by an illegal touching penalty. But the referee ruled that it was not McBride who went out of bounds and came back in.
On the next play, Ortiz rolled out and looked for McBride — who had seven catches for 79 yards and touchdowns — in the end zone on the two-point conversion, but Jackson, in a crowd of JMU defenders, knocked it away, giving the Dukes the win in front of 22,271 fans, many of which had abandoned game at that point.
“We practice that every week,” said Ortiz, who went 14-of-23 for 177 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. “They were in zone coverage. It was tough to fit in certain windows. [I tried] moving around in the pocket a little just so that maybe one of the defensive guys would shift and leave one of our three options open. … I just put it up for someone to make a play on it.”
William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock said he went for the win in lieu of forcing a third overtime with an extra point because he thought his defense was tired.
“We’d gone back and forth in the overtime and our defense had been out there so much, and if we kicked the extra point, we were going to have to go back out there again and play defense,” the 33rd-year coach said. “I just felt like it was kind of a gut feeling. I thought we had it; we just didn’t get it.”
Said JMU coach Mickey Matthews: “I certainly don’t blame Jimmye for going for it. I like a guy that plays to win, and he was playing to win.”
The Tribe should have won it regulation.
With 1 second on the clock, David Kuhn missed a 31-yard field goal wide left. It was his second miss of the afternoon, and coming into the game, Kuhn had made five of eight field goals this season. Saturday, the junior went 2-for-4, hitting from 39 and 38 yards, and missing from 43 and 31. Overall, W&M was 2-for-5 on field goals.