FCS Playoffs: James Madison Outslugs Delaware 20-6 In All-CAA Clash

James Madison 20, Delaware 6

Video Highlights Courtesy NCAA.com

HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison used a suffocating defense and just enough offense to defeat Delaware 20-6. QB Ben DiNucci had an efficient day for the Dukes, going 23 of 31 for 223 yards passing and a touchdown.

The early part of the game was a field position battle with the teams exchanging punts. The difference was that the Dukes were able to get a couple first downs to start to flip the field position, eventually opening the scoring with a 23 yard field goal from Ethan Ratke.

The teams then exchanged punts again with the Dukes winning the field position battle. With the Blue Hen offense pinned inside their own 10, Pat Kehoe was sacked in the end zone by John Daka for a safety to give the Dukes a 5-0 lead. Daka had 2 sacks on the day and the Dukes had 5 as a team.

James Madison took the kickoff following the safety and drove inside the one but was stopped on fourth and goal when Ben Dinucci tried to sneak the ball in but was stacked up by the Blue Hen defense.

Delaware was unable to get out of the shadow of their own end zone and were forced into another three and out. DeAngelo Amos returned the punt to the Delaware 18 to give the JMU offense a short field.

Three plays later, Marcus Marshall powered into the end zone to give the Dukes a 12-0 lead.

Delaware used a couple of passes to Vinny Papale to get into field goal dance in less than two minutes on its next possession. When the drive stalled at the 30 yard line , Jake Roth hit a 48 yard field goal to put the Blue Hens on the board. Delaware cut the lead to 12-6 on their first drive of the second half to put some pressure on the Dukes.

James Madison answered the challenge with their best drive of the game. Mike Houston made a small halftime adjustment to have the offense work the passing game a little more than they had in the first half. The tweak paid off and the Dukes put together a 13 play 75 yard drive that culminated in an 8 yard touchdown pass from DiNucci to wide receiver Jake Brown on a corner route. DiNucci then connected with Dylan Stapleton for the two point conversion to provide the final margin.

Delaware tried to mount a comeback but Kehoe threw two late interceptions to kill drives in JMU territory.

Delaware amassed only 185 total yards of offense while the Dukes had 316 yards. JMU won the field position battle and ultimately the game.

The Dukes travel to Hamilton, New York next weekend to take on 8 seed Colgate.