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No. 2 JMU suffered its first CAA loss of the year, losing to Richmond 35-29 on Saturday.
The Dukes rallied late in the game, but fell short in the closing seconds.The loss dropped the Dukes to 5-2 on the season and 3-1 in the CAA, while the Spiders improved to 5-3 and 3-2 in the league.
Trailing 35-16 with just under seven minutes to play, JMU started a comeback behind freshman quarterback Michael Birdsong. He got the Dukes into the end zone quickly, as he scrambled for 36 yards on the first play then hit sophomore DeAndre' Smith for a 39-yard touchdown to trim it to 35-22. JMU went for two, but could not convert with 6:04 to go in the game.
After stopping Richmond, JMU got the ball back with 2:53 to go in the contest. The Dukes marched 15 plays and 78 yards in 2:18, with Birdsong going the final eight yards for the score, and redshirt-junior kicker Cameron Starke hit the PAT to make it 35-29 with 35 seconds to play.
Redshirt-senior punter David Skahn lined up for the onside kick, got the ball to take the hops to avoid a fair-catch call, and Smith came down with the ball and give the Dukes one last chance at their own 48-yard line. JMU was able to get it to the Richmond 31 and had two shots from there, but could not find the end zone to complete the comeback.
JMU had 526 total offensive yards in the game to Richmond's 441 total yards. Madison, however, collected 11 penalties for 98 yards, including three key penalties to keep drives alive, and turned the ball over twice to the Spiders. Richmond was penalized for 60 yards, did not turn the ball over in the match-up and put points on the board each of the five times the offense entered the red zone.
Drexel sophomore Megan Hammaker scored with seven seconds remaining to give the visiting Dragons a 2-1 win at James Madison in Colonial Athletic Association women's soccer Sunday afternoon at University Park.
The Dragons improved their overall record to 12-3-2 and upped their league mark to 6-2-1. JMU, playing in its final regular-season game, dropped to 7-11-0 overall and 5-5-0 in CAA competition.
Hammaker controlled a ball sent into the box by senior Biz Matta and knocked a shot from 22 yards out into the upper right corner of the goal.
Drexel never trailed in the match, but JMU controlled much of the first-half play, when the Dukes held the Dragons without a shot.
For the second game in a row JMU senior defender Amalya Clayton got the Dukes even with their opponent. Sophomore goalkeeper Eve Badana attempted to corral a long throw-in by junior Becky Sparks, but the ball went through her hands to Clayton, who headed the ball into the net from close range. The tying score came with 8:23 left to play.
Drexel assured itself of its first-ever berth in the six-team CAA Tournament while JMU will finish seventh in the league standings. The top six teams in the final standings qualify for the CAA Tournament.
Old Dominion scored once in each half on penalty corners and held the James Madison field hockey team scoreless, to earn a 2-0 win at the JMU Field Hockey Complex on Sunday afternoon.
ODU, ranked ninth in this week's Penn Monto/NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll, remained unbeaten in Colonial Athletic Association play, improving to 6-0 in the league and 12-4 overall. JMU dropped to 9-7 on the season and 3-3 in CAA play.
The Monarchs outshot the Dukes 18-4 in the game and held a 7-4 advantage in penalty corners attempted. JMU made 12 saves to two for ODU.
The Dukes conclude their regular season next weekend as they travel Newark, Del. for a meeting with Delaware on Friday.