No. 1 James Madison leads No. 11 Richmond 13-3 at halftime at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg.
The winner of Saturday’s game will capture the Colonial Athletic Association South Division title.
First Down – JMU started efficiently on offense, defense and special teams on Saturday to build a 10-0 lead in the first eight minutes. Quarterback Cole Johnson completed four of his first five throws for 64 yards on the opening series. His 46-yard strike to slot receiver Kris Thornton was key in setting up running back Percy Agyei-Obese’s 1-yard touchdown run. The defense followed by forcing a three-and-out in which Richmond lost six yards before punting. Dukes punt returner Jack Sroba’s 25-yard return put JMU right back into Richmond territory. The Dukes settled for a field goal, but gained an early edge.
Second Down – The Dukes didn’t score again until the final play of the first half when Ethan Ratke booted a 37-yard field goal. It was his second field goal of the afternoon. With his first, he set the CAA’s all-time record for field goals. He now has 66 in his career. Between Ratke, Sroba and punter Harry O’Kelly, the Dukes’ specialists played a big role in keeping the team ahead. Sroba’s 25-yard return was the longest of his career. O’Kelly landed both of his punts inside the Richmond 20.
Third Down – Mike Greene, the senior defensive lineman for the Dukes, continues to be difficult to block. His first quarter sack of Richmond quarterback Joe Mancuso gave him a sack or tackle for loss in every game this spring. JMU has moved him from defensive end to defensive tackle and back throughout the game.
Fourth Down – It’s nice for a football game to feel like a football game again. Even with a limited-capacity crowd in attendance as well as the marching band, the difference in atmosphere between games in February at Bridgeforth Stadium and today is drastic. Players seem to have better energy, too, and the crowd certainly plays a part in that.