The Richmond Spiders will host the James Madison Dukes this weekend. These two Virginia FCS powers have met in every season since 1983, forming one of the fiercest rivalries in the state.
HISTORY: JMU leads the all-time series 20-18, and they've won the last five meetings. Richmond's last win came when these two schools became the first FCS-pairing to host College Gameday in 2015 in Harrisonburg.
James Madison Dukes (4-1)
8) James Madison enters on the heels of a tough loss to fellow powerhouse Villanova. The Dukes took an eleven-point lead into the locker room, but they couldn't score after the break and the Wildcats would go on to pick up the win, 28-27.
Cole Johnson has played well through the first half of the season, but he had a tough time last weekend. Against Villanova, Johnson went 24-40 for 174 passing yards, and he didn't throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. The redshirt senior brings a ton of experience to the position, and he'll look to bounce back this weekend in the state capital. Johnson has thrown for 1,301 passing yards with an impressive 14:1 touchdown-interception ratio.
The Dukes are one of the best rushing teams in the FCS, and their led a nice solid in the backfield in Latrele Palmer and Percy Agyei-Obese. Palmer has been their most consistent rusher, leading the team with 303 rushing yards. Aygei-Obese led the team in rushing in 2019, and he returned last week to rush for 83 yards and two scores against Villanova.
Antwane Wells Jr. and Kris Thornton have been reliable pass catchers thus far for JMU. Wells Jr. leads the team with 397 receiving yards, and five touchdowns, while Thornton leads the team with 38 catches out of the slot.
The Richmond Spiders are in a bit of a funk. The Spiders played Villanova and Virginia Tech admirably on the road, but an injury to four-year starter Joe Mancuso led to a third straight loss last weekend to Elon, 20-7.
When Mancuso went down on the first drive against Virginia Tech, it thrusted senior quarterback Beau English into the spotlight. English was solid against Elon, going 21-42 for 193 passing yards and a touchdown, but the offense faltered on third down often. He'll have his work cut out for him this week with the Dukes.
Savon Smith and Aaron Dykes have split the workload again this season, and have yielded decent results against tough competition. Smith leads the team with 275 rushing yards, while Dykes has gained 231 rushing yards, caught 15 passes and leads UR with 5 total touchdowns. Junior wideout Isaac Brown leads the pass catchers with 16 catches for 227 receiving yards.
Predicted Winner: James Madison Dukes
This matchup always churns out good football, and with both schools itching to get back in the win column, this one should be no different. JMU has dominated this series, and it should continue this weekend. Richmond's offense has been stagnant since Mancuso's injury, and they may not be able to overcome that here.