CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – James Madison leads Chattanooga 20-14 at halftime on Saturday at Finley Stadium.
JMU jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but Chattanooga gained momentum late in the first quarter when it scored twice in the final minute of the opening stanza.
First Down – The Dukes’ second offensive series had Chattanooga all out of sorts. JMU used an up-tempo pace and at times was snapping the ball before the Mocs’ defenders were set. JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci had a 12-yard run on the series and a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Kyndel Dean before running back Jawon Hamilton capped the five-play, 59-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. It was the most complete drive the offense put together during the first half.
Second Down – The final five minutes of the opening quarter was about as bad of a sequence as JMU has had this season. Chattanooga was destined for its third-straight three-and-out when Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey’s roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Mocs a new set of downs. There was also a missed tackle that Chattanooga running back Elijah Ibitokun turned into a 20-yard reception on the next third-down situation as the drive that could've ended earlier finished with a Chattanooga touchdown. Then, on the ensuing kickoff, the Mocs tried a pooch kick and it was muffed by running back Austin Douglas. Chattanooga needed just two plays to even the score 14-14.
Third Down – Dukes senior cornerback Rashad Robinson is dressed, but still hasn’t played in Saturday’s game. He was ruled day-to-day earlier in the week after suffering a second-quarter injury last week against Morgan State. JMU started Taurus Carroll in Robinson’s place and Charles Tutt has also played.
Fourth Down – In his return from a three-game suspension, JMU wide receiver Riley Stapleton has four catches for 49 yards to lead the team in both categories. Stapleton didn’t start, but was used immediately once the Dukes entered the red zone for the first time in the opening quarter. Earlier this week, JMU coach Curt Cignetti said he thought Stapleton would help most when the offense got inside the opponents 20-yard line.