By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
James Madison University football coach Mickey Matthews said in his latest weekly press conference that he had an enjoyable weekend. Matthews said he spent Saturday with family and didn't watch much college football.
Most importantly for Matthews, his team had the week off, and a chance to heal some of their injuries.
"We needed it very badly," Matthews said. "We really needed a week off. We were really beat up. It was a real positive for us."
Despite the week off, Matthews said they still have some players out right now. Starting tailback Dae'Quan Scott, who has missed the last two games, has been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, and Matthews said he doesn't expect him to play Saturday against Towson.
Linebacker Titus Till and cornerback and Handley graduate Jeremiah Wilson are also still out with injuries.
GROUNDED: Having Scott out has hurt the Dukes' rushing attack. JMU had only 151 yards rushing against Rhode Island on Sept. 22.
Matthews said the team really misses Scott, but they have got to run the ball better this week against Towson.
"We ran the ball very poorly at Rhode Island," Matthews said. "We didn't block real well, we didn't run very well."
One bright spot for the Dukes was the play of redshirt senior Hykeem Brodie. He ran for 58 yards on nine carries and had one touchdown against Rhode Island.
"Hykeem Brodie has been a breath of fresh air for us," Matthews said.
Jordan Anderson, who has started the last two games at tailback, has been nursing a turf toe injury. However, Matthews said Anderson's doing better and should be ready to go against Towson.
ONE MORE YEAR: JMU quarterback Justin Thorpe has been granted a sixth of eligibility by the NCAA, an announcement that was made Monday.
Thorpe will now be a redshirt junior. He had a season-ending injury as a true freshman in 2008, and then suffered another season-ending injury in the first half of the 2010 season opener against Morehead State.
In cases where there has been two season-ending injuries early in the year, application can be made for a sixth year.
Thorpe is 14-6 in his career as a starting quarterback. In the win over Rhode Island, Thorpe had career highs of 26 completions, 40 attempts and 340 passing yards.
STRONG RIVALRY: Matthews said there's always been a strong rivalry between JMU and Towson, even when the Tigers have struggled.
Last year Towson's program really took off under Rob Ambrose, who is currently in his fourth year as head coach. The Tigers won the CAA and have emerged as a program to be reckoned with. JMU and Towson did not play last year.
"It's always been tight," Matthews said. "The games were always good. We bump into each other in recruiting a lot because of the proximity of the two schools. It's all healthy, it's all good."
Last week, Towson lost 38-22 to LSU. Towson put up a really tough fight with the No. 4 ranked team in the FBS, and even held an early lead.
Matthews said Ambrose, who spent 10 years as an assistant at UConn, has really helped them turn the corner. The Tigers are currently ranked 12th in both FCS polls.
"They've done a nice job," Matthews said. "We're very aware of them up there. They recruit the right players."