James Madison‘s season opener, a 38-3 victory over the Bucknell Bison, was quite the roller coaster.
The Dukes’ offense struggled out of the start behind the effort of redshirt freshman quarterback Alonza Barnett, who went 3-for-11. The Dukes’ defense extended its near decade-long streak of outstanding play up front, restricting the Bison rushing attack to 1.8 yards per carry.
Jordan McCloud, who finished the game 7-for-11 for 144 yards and two touchdowns, led JMU’s comeback in the middle of the third quarter. Even though he didn’t have a huge game, the Arizona transfer made the offense more dependable and mature.
The Dukes will face their first FBS opponent of the year in the Virginia Cavaliers, who had a mixed bag of a season opener themselves. In the first half of the game against the Tennessee Volunteers, a team ranked in the top 15, UVA held their own and capitalized on multiple mistakes made by Tennessee’s offense. The Vols responded with touchdowns at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, and they never looked back.
Wahoos quarterback Tony Muskett was injured in the fourth quarter while the team was losing by a large margin and he was sacked, landing on his non-throwing shoulder.
After he got knocked out of the game, the team switched to rookie quarterback Anthony Colandrea, who went 2-for-7 for a paltry 12 yards before getting pulled. Muskett’s availability for Week 2 is still up in the air, but at this time it looks quite doubtful that he will play.
While JMU’s defense isn’t quite up to SEC standards, it does feature a formidable front seven that should give the Wahoo offense a tough time. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers did a fantastic job of getting Tennessee off the floor early, as four of their six drives lasted fewer than seven plays and restricted the Vols to seven points in the first quarter.
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James Madison vs Virginia Game Information
- Date: 09/09/2023
- Time: 12:00 PM ET
- Location: Scott Stadium.
- How to Watch James Madison vs Virginia: ESPN
- Live Stream: fubo.tv