JMU stuns Virginia Tech 21-16

By Ben Linton

When I first began applying colleges at the beginning of my senior year in high school, all I could think about was what it would be like to be a student at the University of Maryland. I had been a Maryland resident for about eight years and had been a Terps fan all my life. I remember the 2001 ACC Championship in football and the 2002 National Title in basketball.

James Madison University was always an afterthought, “plan B” have you. I could see myself going there, but I knew my heart was with the Terps. When the two teams played last season in football, of course I was rooting for the Maryland, won barely won the game 38-35 in overtime. So when I didn’t get into Maryland, I decided JMU would be the place for me. There’s no doubt I would still be a Terps fan and even after college will continue to cheer them on, but last Saturday, James Madison squeezed their way into my heart after the upset Virginia Tech 21-16.

After Virginia Tech lost to Boise State to begin the season, many people including myself thought they would roll over the Dukes in frustration. By no means were the Hokies dominating, but things looked good at 16-7 in the middle of the third quarter. James Madison had only scored on a 77 yard passing play which took up most of their offensive yards for the game. They hadn’t even reached VT territory until the 3rd quarter, when Quarterback Drew Dudzik led the Dukes on a 15 play 66 yard drive, resulting in a 7 yard run by Dudzik. With the score 16-14, it became a one possession game and the Hokies knew they were in for a close one.

Things really got serious when Tyrod Taylor was intercepted by Johnathan Williams the following drive, giving the Dukes good field position and plenty of time for a score. At this point the Hokies were just trying to hang on for dear life-They forgot about dominating and were just trying to get out of this game with a W. But once again Dudzik and the Dukes would strike again, on a 12 yard run that gave the Dukes the lead 21-16. Now the Hokies were in panic mode trailing in the fourth quarter with 13 minutes to play.

Tech had two chances to take the lead in their final two drives but came up short. The first chance they had was when the drove down to the JMU 17 yard line, but on 4th and 2 the Taylor threw an incomplete pass in the end zone that was broken up by a JMU player, resulting in a turnover on downs. After a Dukes punt Tech got the ball back, but gave it up again inside the red zone when Darren Evans fumbled.

The final nail was put in the coffin when the Hokies tried to block a JMU punt with 11 seconds remaining but roughed the kicker, allowing the Dukes to get an automatic first down and then kill the rest of the clock.

This was an absolutely remarkable win by James Madison, and will probably go down as the biggest win in school history as well as the biggest upset of the 2010 season. It was James Madison’s first win over a FBS opponent since defeating Navy in 1990. The Hokies lost their first game against a FCS opponent since losing to Richmond in 1985.

Now the question will be asked as to whether or not this game was a bigger upset than when Appalachian State defeated Michigan 34-32 in 2007. Appalachian State came into the game against #5 Michigan as back to back FCS champions, while JMU was #15 in FCS and Tech was #13. Appalachian State accumulated more yards than JMU and won in a more dramatic fashion, blocking a field goal as time expired. I think since App State was the first team to really upset a FBS powerhouse like a Michigan in the Big House, so that still is the greatest college football upset of all-time in my mind. But I’m sure JMU would settle for second on that list. Think about the magnitude and the difficulty of the upset they just completed. Not many teams go into Lane Stadium and beat the Hokies, especially on their home opener after losing a heartbreaker. Name 10 FBS teams that could accomplish that. Didn’t think so, Go Dukes!

3 Responses to “JMU stuns Virginia Tech 21-16”

  1. September 27, 2010 at 01:44

    Fantastic blog! I actually love how it is easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I can be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which should do the trick! Have a nice day!

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