Nov. 24, 2008

By Amy Farnum Novin

HOME SWEET HOME: Top-ranked James Madison University has reeled off 10 straight victories since a season-opening loss to Division I FBS Duke, and as the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, the Colonial Athletic Association champions will host their first playoff game in 14 years. JMU will host Wofford, an at-large bid from the Southern Conference, on Nov. 29 in a first-round match-up.

The Dukes are making their third consecutive NCAA playoff appearance, and fourth in five years, and will be aiming for the school’s second national title.  JMU won the 2004 NCAA championship.

James Madison last hosted an NCAA playoff game in 1994, defeating Troy State.  The only other time the Dukes hosted was a loss to Samford in 1991.  JMU captured the 2004 NCAA title without playing at home – the only team in Division I FCS history to accomplish the feat.

The Dukes posted a perfect record against a tough CAA schedule that includes four teams that received at-large berths in the playoffs.  JMU joined Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond and Villanova as the CAA matched its record of five teams in the bracket from last season.  The most teams any other conference placed in the field were two.

Cal Poly will host its’ first-ever NCAA playoff game as the Mustangs welcome Weber State on Nov. 29.  The Mustangs’ only previous appearance in the postseason was in 2005.

“To be able to get that opportunity -- a home game -- to let our fans see what that looks like is great for our program,” said head coach Rich Ellerson. “There are nothing but great teams out there. I think it’s great for our fans to get a chance to see a playoff game at home.”

The Mustangs have won five straight home games since opening their home schedule to a two-point loss to Montana.

WE’RE BACK: Texas State will be making its second appearance in the Division I FCS playoffs after claiming its first-ever outright Southland Conference title with a victory over Sam Houston State last weekend.  The Bobcats travel to Montana for a first-round game on Nov. 29.

The last time Texas State received an NCAA playoff berth in 2005 as co-champions of the SLC, the Bobcats made it to the national semifinals.

SPINNING A WEB:  Richmond senior defensive end Sherman Logan made a game-saving defensive play, lifting the Spiders to a 23-20 overtime victory against William & Mary, and a spot in the NCAA playoffs.

The native of Virginia Beach, Va., anchored a defense that held the Tribe to only 12 total yards in the first half, and concluded the game with four total tackles and a sack, but it was his performance in overtime that changed the game.

William & Mary attempted a 39-yard field goal in overtime, but Logan blocked his first career kick, giving the Spiders the opportunity to score on their next possession, and win the game.  He was named CAA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

Richmond hosts Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 29 in the first round of the NCAA playoffs.  It is the Spiders’ second straight postseason berth.

NOTABLE:  Colgate University senior running back Jordan Scott of Hyattsville, Md., rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries as the Raiders secured the Patriot League title with a 28-27 victory over Holy Cross on Nov. 22.  The Raiders advance to the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 2005, and will visit Villanova on Nov. 29.  During the game, Scott became only the fifth player in FCS history to run for over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons, and currently ranks fifth on the FCS all-time rushing list with 5,527 yards … Appalachian State – the three-time defending NCAA champion -- was awarded the No. 2 seed in this year’s field, and will host South Carolina State on Nov. 29.  The Mountaineers have won 12 consecutive playoff games, including nine straight contests on their home field of Kidd Brew Stadium.