#10 Elon Upsets #2 JMU Football 27-24; Dukes Lose First CAA Game Since 2015
The James Madison football team lost a conference game for the first time since 2015, as the second-ranked Dukes were upset 27-24 against #10 Elon on Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium.
JMU Athletics Media Release
HARRISONBURG, Va. – A Davis Cheek 15-yard touchdown pass to Avery Jones with 1:17 to play sent 10th-ranked Elon past No. 2 James Madison 27-24 in Colonial Athletic Association football action on Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.
The Dukes fell to 4-2 on the year and 2-1 in CAA play, while the Phoenix improved to 4-1 and 2-0. The loss snapped JMU's 20-game conference win streak and 19-game home win streak. It was also Elon's first win in the seven-game series history.
The game was seen in front of 25,484 spectators, which was the fourth-largest crowd in Bridgeforth history.
A WILD FOURTH QUARTER
Elon trailed 12-10 before a Skyler Davis 33-yard field goal gave them the lead early in the fourth, and a Malcolm Summers 59-yard touchdown rush put the Phoenix ahead 20-12 with 11:26 to play.
Quarterback Ben DiNucci completed a 47-yard pass to receiver Riley Stapleton, setting up a Trai Sharp six-yard touchdown run with 9:39 to go. JMU trailed 20-18 after a failed two-point conversion.
After a defensive stop, DiNucci went to the air again, connecting with receiver Kyndel Dean for a 39-yard gain. Two plays later, DiNucci found Stapleton in the end zone for a 10-yard score, giving the Dukes the lead back at 24-20 with 7:22 to go.
JMU stopped Elon, but a fumble gave the visitors the ball back on its own 26 with 4:16 to play. Elon proceeded to go on a 10-play, 74-yard drive, which was capped off by Cheek's touchdown toss to Jones.
On the ensuing drive, DiNucci was intercepted by Connor Christiansen to seal the game.
QUICK STATS SUMMARY
DiNucci finished 24-of-41 for a career-high 316 yards and a touchdown. His completion total and attempts were also single-game highs.
Stapleton led all players with seven receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Kyndel Dean set new career highs for the second straight week, with six catches for 96 yards, including a career-long 39 yarder.
Kicker Ethan Ratke set the program record for field goals in a game, with four. It was the third time in his career he had made three or more.
Defensively, linebacker Dimitri Holloway paced the unit with a season-best 12 tackles, marking the fourth time this season he's had nine or more.
Safety D'Angelo Amos had nine stops and a tackle for loss, to go with a 27-yard punt return, and linebacker KeShaun Moore made six tackles while recording his first career sack.
For Elon, Cheek threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, and Summers led the game with 186 rushing yards and a score. Corey Joyner led the game with 109 receiving yards, including a long of 51.
Zack Monson led the Phoenix defense with 12 tackles, including 2.0 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Matt Baker and Warren Messer each had 4.0 tackles for loss, combining for 3.0 sacks.
RATKE SETS KICKING MARK, MOVES INTO ALL-TIME TOP 10
Ethan Ratke converted 4-of-4 field goal attempts against Elon, setting the JMU single-game mark for made field goals.
Ratke hit from 35, 32, 39 and 35 to become the JMU single-game record holder.
He now ranks sixth all-time at JMU with 25 career field goals.
JMU as a team had made four field goals just once previously, as Ratke and Tyler Gray each had two field goals in JMU's win at William & Mary on Oct. 14, 2017.
END ZONE TOUGH TO FIND THROUGH THREE QUARTERS
After three quarters, JMU and Elon had combined for five field goals and just one touchdown. The Dukes led 12-10, before the teams produced a 29-point fourth quarter.
At the break, JMU led 9-7, and it was the first time the Dukes were held out of the end zone in a first half since last season's national championship game.
It was also the first time since Sept. 14, 2013 against St. Francis (Pa.) that the Dukes failed to score a first-half touchdown.
JMU hits the road to face 19th-ranked Villanova (3-3, 0-3 CAA) next Saturday, Oct. 13. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Villanova Stadium and the game will be televised on FOX College Sports and digitally through FOX Sports Go and CAA.TV.