JMU football notebook: Dukes motivated by New Hampshire game

HARRISONBURG – Even though James Madison University’s 3-point win over New Hampshire on Oct. 15 was weeks ago, it was still on the players’ minds this past weekend.

JMU dominated Rhode Island, 84-7, Saturday and the New Hampshire game served as a reminder what could happen if the Dukes didn’t play a complete game. The Dukes had a 42-18 lead in the fourth quarter against New Hampshire before the Colonels made a big rally.

“I think the kids, really New Hampshire that fourth quarter, has really kind of stayed with them. Like a real bad feeling for a couple weeks now,” JMU head coach Mike Houston said Saturday. “It really ticked them off, just the way we finished that ball game. So I think that was a lot of motivation there to where they really keyed in and listened. And certainly they were hearing a message every time they came off the field. They were hearing the same message: ‘Next play. Don’t worry about the scoreboard, just worry about the next play. Keep your foot on the gas.’ And so I thought they did a good job with that.”

The Dukes held Rhode Island to 54 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter.

JMU forced six turnovers, including five interceptions.

“They’ve got a lot of pride and they’re a good group, Houston said of the secondary. “We’ve got leadership with Raven (Greene), and I was really excited to see them come out and be so aggressive today.”

A day to remember: JMU senior tight end Daniel Schiele had never scored a touchdown in his college career. In the win over Rhode Island he scored three.

Schiele, who came to JMU as a quarterback, had three touchdown receptions in the second and third quarters.

“It was pretty crazy today,” Schiele said. “The first one I was pretty happy with. I was OK with that, and then the second two came. So it just made me more happy, but hats off to (JMU quarterback) Bryan (Schor) and the rest of the offense. We definitely executed the game plan.”

Schiele has had more playing time in the last few games due to an injury to Strasburg graduate and JMU junior Jonathan Kloosterman. He’s made the most of it.

His three touchdown catches was a school record for a tight end.

“Starting you always want to make plays,” Schiele said. “And when the plays present themselves, you got to capitalize on those opportunities.”

Houston said he was happy to see Schiele have such a great day.

“He has improved so much since the spring,” Houston said. “With Kloo being banged up a little bit the last few weeks, he’s had a chance to be the main guy. And I think he’s responded really well.”

CAA showdown: The Dukes will have one of their toughest tests of the season this week as they take on the University of Richmond.

JMU is ranked No. 7 in the STATS Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 poll, with Richmond ranked No. 6.

“I expect to see one of the top teams in the country playing another team that I think is one of the top teams in the country,” Houston said. “It should be a great matchup.”

The Dukes lost, 59-49, last year to the Spiders. JMU entered that game undefeated, and hosted ESPN’s ‘College Gameday’ that morning.

Schor said that it was a tough loss and it’s a big rivalry, but the Dukes will keep the same approach they always do.

“We’re going to attack it just like any other game, I think,” Schor said. “We’re going to prepare just like any other game, and we’re going to try to go out there and execute just like any other game.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com.