Nov. 22, 2008

TOWSON, Md. - The James Madison football team completed the winningest regular season in its history Saturday with a 58-27 Colonial Athletic Association victory at Towson.


The win raised the Dukes' overall record to 10-1 and their CAA mark to 8-0, was their 10th straight win and gave them the CAA championship.  The out-right league title is the first for JMU in Division I play.


JMU will play next weekend in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.  Pairings and playing sites for the 16-team FCS playoff field will be announced Sunday (Nov. 23) during a 7 p.m. program on ESPNU.


JMU's team will attend a public selection program viewing event scheduled for JMU's Festival Conference and Student Center.


The Dukes had won nine regular-season games five times before this season - in 1975 (9-0-1), 1987 (9-2), 1994 (9-2), 2004 (9-2) and 2006 (9-2).  They tied for league titles at the Division I level in 1999 and 2004.


Saturday at Towson, JMU led 37-13 at halftime and 51-13 after three quarters, compiled 528 yards of total offense, had two players with three touchdowns, and had two 100-yard rushers.


Senior quarterback Rodney Landers (Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood) ran for 117 yards and three touchdowns and completed nine of 12 passes for 86 yards and a score to lead JMU.  Senior tailback Eugene Holloman (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) ran for 131 yards and sophomore tailback Griff Yancey (Glen Allen, Va./Hermitage) ran for three scores.


Landers during the game reached the 3,000-yard career rushing yards mark (3,084) and moved to within 10 yards of 3,000 career passing yards.  Only four players in FCS history and reached 3,000 yards in both career rushing and passing.


Landers ran 29 yards for a touchdown on JMU's first series, scored from one yard early during the second quarter to give JMU a 20-7 advantage and had a four-yard touchdown run with 0:50 left in the first half for JMU's 37-13 lead.  He also connected with junior tight end Mike Caussin (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) on a five-yard scoring pass during the second period.


Holloman had his second straight 100-yard game, following a 130-yard performance a week ago against William & Mary.


Yancey, who ran eight times for 60 yards, had scoring carries of four yards during the second quarter and 13 and two yards during the third period.


JMU compiled 440 yards rushing and 88 passing overall and had a 463-207 edge in yards of total offense by the end of the third period.


The Dukes scored on their first series, moving 87 yards in four plays to set the tone for their offense for the afternoon, but Towson responded with a four-play, 67-yard scoring drive to lead 7-6 after its first series.


Landers got JMU's first points on his 29-yard scoring run after he hit Caussin on a 36-yard pass and Holloman ran 30 yards earlier during the series.


JMU took a 20-7 by the opening minute of the second quarter on Landers' scoring toss to Caussin and the quarterback's one-yard touchdown run, but Towson got to within 20-13 with 11:07 left in the half on an eight-yard scoring run by quarterback Sean Schaefer.


The Dukes then closed the first half with a 17-0 scoring burst, getting a 43-yard field goal from senior placekicker Dave Stannard (Midlothian, Va./Clover Hill) after a 36-yard Yancey kickoff return, a 29-yard touchdown drive after Towson failed to get a first down on a fourth-and-one play, and a 53-yard touchdown drive after a short Tiger punt.


JMU lost a fumble at the Towson 10 during its initial series of the final half but had touchdowns drives of 66 and 56 yards later during the third quarter.


Schaefer, who threw for 315 yards while completing 27 of 48 passes, threw two touchdown passes during the fourth quarter before JMU redshirt freshman tailback Jon Rose (Amherst, Va./Amherst) scored from 10 yards for the game's final points.


JMU will be appearing in the FCS playoffs for the third straight season, for the fourth time in five years, for the fifth time in 10 seasons under Coach Mickey Matthews, and for the ninth time overall.