Dukes Open Sun Belt Play Saturday Night at Defending Champions … – James Madison University Athletics


HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison football opens Sun Belt Conference play on Saturday, Sept. 16 when it flies south to take on Troy, the defending conference champions.
Kickoff from Veterans Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT) and will be televised nationally on NFL Network. Pregame radio coverage on the Morris Insurance & Financial JMU Radio Network begins at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT)


  • Saturday marks the third all-time meeting between the teams, but the first during the regular season.
  • The series is tied 1-1, with both previous meetings occurring in the first round of the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
  • JMU won 45-26 at home on Nov. 26, 1994, while the Trojans claimed a 27-7 victory on Nov. 27, 1999, at Troy.
  • The 1994 win was JMU’s second in the postseason and its first home playoff triumph.


  • Saturday will be the 31st conference opener for the Dukes since they joined a league back in 1993.
  • JMU is 22-8 in conference openers, which includes winning its past eight between 2015 and 2022.
  • This is also JMU’s fifth straight conference opener on the road.
  • Last season, JMU rallied back from down 28-3 at App State, scoring 29 unanswered for a thrilling 32-28 win.
  • JMU conference openers by league: 1-0 in Sun Belt (1-0 road); 21-8 in CAA (11-3 home, 10-5 road)


  • JMU overcame an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit and an 80-minute weather delay to rally past Virginia, 36-35, last Saturday in Charlottesville.
  • It was JMU’s second win ever against UVA and its third versus the Atlantic Coast Conference.
  • JMU put together consecutive 80-yard scoring drives in the fourth quarter, capped off by a Jordan McCloud 10-yard touchdown pass to Kaelon Black with 55 seconds remaining.
  • Both teams gained 395 total yards, but the Dukes held UVA to just 18 rushing yards and 0.5 per rush.
  • McCloud threw for 234 yards and a touchdown while adding 32 on the ground. Taji Hudson made four catches for 46 yards and threw a four-yard TD pass to Phoenix Sproles on the opening drive.
  • Sproles reeled in a career-best seven catches for 40 yards and a score. Reggie Brown also led the team with 60 receiving yards on three grabs.
  • Ty Son Lawton led the ground game with 79 rushing yards and a pair of second-half touchdowns.
  • Special teams also scored, as Aiden Fisher blocked a punt in the end zone, which was recovered by D’Angelo Ponds to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.
  • Fisher finished with a team and career-high nine tackles. JMU’s defense registered 10 tackles for loss, led by career-high days from Jamree Kromah (3.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) and Jalen Green (2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack).


  • Aiden Fisher was voted Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for week two.
  • Fisher helped JMU double its lead to 14-0 when he blocked a first-quarter punt in the end zone.
  • He also took a lead role in the second half on defense, finishing with a team and career-high nine tackles, to go with a QB hurry.


  • Following its win at Virginia, JMU is still receiving at least a vote in both major college football polls.
  • The Dukes received one vote in the AP Top 25.
  • JMU also doubled its votes, to two, in the US LBM Coaches Poll.
  • The Dukes have received votes in both polls since the preseason.
  • JMU is the lone Sun Belt team to be receiving votes in either poll this week.

Television: NFL Network
Listen: Morris Insurance & Financial JMU Radio Network

Broadcast Talent

  • NFL Network: Jason Ross Jr. (pxp), Tyoka Jackson (analyst)
  • Radio: Dave Riggert (pxp), Drew Painter (analyst), Corey Spector (sideline)

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