Nov. 17, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

PURPLE POWER: James Madison University’s Rodney Landers collected his sixth career Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week award, and fourth of the season, after leading the top-ranked Dukes to a 48-24 victory over William & Mary on Nov. 15 as they claimed an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

The senior quarterback compiled 357 yards of total offense and four touchdowns against the Tribe as he sparked the balanced attack to a season-high 541 total yards.  Landers ran for 145 yards and a score, and completed 14 of 19 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.  The native of Virginia Beach, Va., has not thrown an interception in six consecutive contests.

Landers has rushed 100 or more yards in seven of the Dukes’ last eight games.  He needs just 13 yards to tie the school record of 1,273 rushing yards by a quarterback.

James Madison matched the program record for regular season victories with a 9-1 mark, and the Dukes’ 7-0 league record is the best in school history.  JMU concludes the regular season at Towson on Nov. 22.

RUNNING STRONG:  Cal Poly senior quarterback Jonathan Dally notched his second straight Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week award after grounding one of the nation’s top rushing defenses in a 51-28 victory over UC Davis last weekend.

The native of Santa Maria, Calif., ran for a career-best 173 yards and a touchdown as the Mustangs rolled up 429 rushing yards against UC Davis, which entered the game ranked fifth in the nation in rushing defense.  Dally also connected on 8 of 20 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Cal Poly has scored at least 42 points in seven straight contests, and leads the nation in scoring with 46.44 points per game.  With the victory, the Mustangs claimed their third Great West title in the five-year history of the league.

JACK OF ALL TRADES: Southern Illinois University’s Larry Warner proved to be a dangerous weapon for the Salukis in a thrilling 38-35 victory over South Dakota State in Missouri Valley Football Conference action on Nov. 15.

Warner, a native of Vicksburg, Miss., topped the team in rushing, receiving and all-purpose yards, while scoring two touchdowns against the Jackrabbits.  He ran for 76 yards and a TD, led all receivers with six grabs for 73 yards and returned a kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown as he compiled 269 all-purpose yards. 

SIU look to secure a share of the league title, and an automatic NCAA playoff berth, as the Salukis travel to Illinois State for a regular season finale on Nov. 22.

UP FOR GRABS:  The Ivy League football race will come down to the final weekend of play as both Brown and Harvard enter the season finale with 5-1 league records.

The Bears and Crimson will share the Ivy title with wins. A Brown win and a Harvard loss would give the Bears their fourth-ever Ivy title and first since 2005, and Harvard win and a Brown loss would give the Crimson its 13th Ivy championship and third in five seasons (2004 and 2007).

However, losses by both squads give a whole different look on the final standings with a possibility of four teams sharing the Ivy League title for the first time in history.  If Brown loses to Columbia, Yale defeats Harvard and Penn wins over Cornell, the League crown will be shared by Brown, Harvard, Penn and Yale with identical 5-2 League records.