Lynchburg, VA (WWBT)- Earlier in the week, James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews said that he thought Liberty's Mike Brown was the best quarterback in the state. Brown would play like it on Saturday night, but the Dukes were able to overcome that to earn the victory.
Cameron Starke's 40 yard field goal as time expired allowed JMU to escape Liberty with the 27-24 victory. Dukes running back Dae'Quan Scott started the scoring with a rushing touchdown in the first to give JMU an early 7-0 lead. Starke would pad that lead with a 32 yard field goal with 5:07 to play in the second quarter, giving the Dukes a 10-0 advantage. The Flames would trim the margin to 10-3 with a 24 yard Alex Kacere field goal. After Liberty took the opening kickoff, Brown capped off a 58 yard drive with a ten yard rushing touchdown to tie the game at ten. Scott would answer for the Dukes on the ensuing drive, capping off a ten play, 74 yard march with a ten yard touchdown rush, his second of the game, putting the Dukes back in front, 17-10. After Liberty tied the game, Scott's third TD of the game put JMU back in front by a touchdown, but the Flames would not go away. Brown hit Chris Summers for a 43 yard scoring strike to tie the game back up, setting up the big finish with Starke's game-winning kick.
Scott paced JMU with 126 rushing yards on 29 carries and the three touchdowns. Varina graduate Justin Thorpe had an efficient day at quarterback, completing 13 of his 18 pass attempts for 141 yards. He also carried the ball eleven times for 30 yards. Brown put together a solid day, backing up Matthews' praises. The senior complete 24 of his 29 pass attempts for 298 yards and two scores, while also throwing one interception. Brown also picked up the rushing TD.
James Madison returns to action next Saturday as the Dukes hit the road to William and Mary for their CAA opener. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm.