At halftime, James Madison leads North Dakota 20-14 in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg.
The Dukes, though, probably feel like they should be up by more.
First Down – The Dukes could’ve taken a 24-7 lead in the second quarter when senior cornerback Wesley McCormick looked like he was going to turn an interception into a pick-six touchdown. But after a few strides, McCormick appeared to pull his groin and fell to the ground. The JMU offense couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and went three-and-out. North Dakota used two trick plays on the consequent series to setup a 10-yard touchdown run from running back Otis Weah to bring the score to 17-14 with 1:40 to go in the second quarter.
Second Down – The Dukes’ offense had, perhaps, their best drive of the spring in the opening quarter when they went 80 yards on 13 plays in 7:12 to grow their lead from 3-0 to 10-0. The drive was capped with senior running back Percy Agyei-Obese’s 3-yard touchdown run. At times during that particular march down the field, JMU showed off its two-back set and North Dakota struggled to stop it. Sophomore running back Solomon Vanhorse ripped off an 18-yard run to get into Fighting Hawks’ territory. More importantly, JMU displayed its offensive line, which bullied North Dakota’s smaller defensive front. UND, which likes to blitz, couldn’t blitz as often when the Dukes were in advantageous situations over and over again.
Third Down – Vanhorse is having his most impactful performance since February. He’s carried the ball once for 18 yards and has a catch for 15 yards. His 15-yard catch on a screen pass came before quarterback Cole Johnson connected with wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. for a 38-yard gain which set up Agyei-Obese’s second rushing touchdown. The second score from Agyei-Obese pushed JMU’s advantage to 17-7.
Fourth Down – Weah could only be bottled up for so long. His 45-yard run to open the second quarter came after he was held to seven yards on four carries in the first quarter. Weah’s big gain put the Fighting Hawks in the red zone and setup their first touchdown, which was a five-yard run from backup/wildcat quarterback Quincy Vaughn.