JMU’s Thrilling Comeback
In the closing moments of the game, with a 35-24 deficit and following an extended season delay, James Madison ( JMU) clinched an exhilarating 36-35 triumph against Virginia at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, VA.
In the teams’ first meeting in 40 years, the Dukes wrapped up an 80-yard drive, ending it with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jordan McCloud to Keilon Black to win the game with just 55 seconds remaining.
The Dukes (2-0) balanced their attack with 228 passing yards and 167 on the ground. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers (0-1) amassed 377 passing yards but were limited to only 18 rushing yards.
McCloud completed 234 passing yards and two touchdowns, adding 32 rushing yards. Furthermore, Tajii Hudson marked his career’s first touchdown in three months with a trick play. Ty’Shon Laten led a speedy offense with 79 yards and two touchdowns.
In the air, Phoenix Sproles tallied 40 yards and a touchdown reception, while Hudson built four grabs for 46 yards, and Reggie Brown secured three catches for 60 yards.
For Virginia, Anthony Colindres was effective, throwing for 377 yards and two touchdowns, with 119 receiving yards and a score for Malcolm Washington. Mike Hollins ran for 28 yards and a touchdown pair.
This was Virginia’s first home game since the shocking November incident that led to UVA players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and De’Shawn Perry leaving the team. It was also the 500th game at Scott Stadium, with an attendance of 56,508.
How It Happened
JMU started the scoring on their opening drive with a trick play, as Tajii Hudson took a lateral from McCloud and found Sproles in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, JMU doubled their lead to 14-0, as Eden Fisher halted Daniel Sparks’ punt with a goal-line stop, and DeAngelo Ponds left it for a Dukes touchdown on their 7:13 initial stanza.
After UVA’s score cut it to 63- yards, JMU responded with a 38-yard field goal by Camden Wise to make it 17-7 afterward.
Just one minute before halftime, Hollins crafted a path to reduce JMU’s lead to 17-14 with a 4-yard touchdown run on a breakaway.
On the first play of the second half, Colindres connected with Kobe Peis from 75 yards to give the hosts a 21-17 advantage.
Virginia halted JMU’s attempt to come back on their fourth drive and responded with a 10:29 lead extending to 28-17 after Peis caught a swing pass for a three-yard score.
After Francis Mihin’s intervention, JMU climbed back to 28-24 when Laten gained a 28-yard separation in consecutive plays, which was ended with a four-yard score, leaving 2:07 in the third.
It was believed that JMU had turned the tide with one swift motion, but after standing up to the call, Hollins broke free from the goal line to make it 35-24 UVA after a 35-yard run.
Following an 80-minute rain/lightning delay, the game resumed, and JMU unleashed a surprise onside kick, and Laten recovered it from 27 yards out for a lead block and sideline escape. Two-point conversions were not successful, leaving it at 35-30 with 8:34 left.
After another stop, JMU concluded the return with an eight-play, 80-yard drive, capping it with a pass from McCloud to Ponds on a pass play.”
JMU and Virginia wrapped up with a total of 395 yards combined.
JMU gained a significant advantage in the ground game with 167 yards compared to UVA’s mere 18 yards, which averaged only 0.5 yards per rush.
In the third-down conversions, JMU was successful in 6 out of 14 attempts, while Virginia managed to convert 4 out of 13.
JMU’s defense prepared 10 tackles for loss, led by Jamere Kromah and Jalen Greene with 3.0 and 2.0 respectively. Kromah also registered the highest career tackles for loss, including a sack.
james Carpenter contributed 1.5 tackles for loss and a crucial pass breakup on the defensive line’s last stand.
JMU’s opening drive
JMU’s opening drive included Hudson’s first career rush and, overall, a touchdown. Sproles scored his eighth career touchdown and the first one with the Dukes.
JMU has back-to-back games with blocked punts, and as a result of Fisher’s swat, the team recorded its first blocked punt since September 11, 2021.
JMU evened the all-time series at 2-2, as the Dukes handed UVA its first defeat in nearly 41 years.
Sports Info: Alabama Football rankings