JMU football notebook: Kloosterman happy to be back on field

North Carolina's Donnie Miles (15) and Tyler Powell (95) tackle James Madison's Jonathan Kloosterman (88) in the first half of their game in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sept. 17. AP file.

North Carolina's Donnie Miles (15) and Tyler Powell (95) tackle James Madison's Jonathan Kloosterman (88) in the first half of their game in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sept. 17. AP file.

James Madison University junior tight end Jonathan Kloosterman was happy to be back on the field this past weekend against the University of Richmond.

The Strasburg graduate had missed several games due to an injury, and said it was tough watching from the sidelines.

“It’s great to be back,” Kloosterman said after JMU’s 47-43 win over Richmond. “Watching from the sidelines is hard. I just tried to do as much encouraging as I could, but there’s nothing like being out there on the field with your teammates. You step out on the field, get that feeling, especially for a big game like this.”

JMU head coach Mike Houston said he was really happy to have Kloosterman back on the field as well.

“I thought Daniel Schiele did a great job the last couple weeks stepping in,” Houston said. “And now with Kloo back, I think we have a real good combo there at that tight end position. So I’m really excited to have him back.”

The 6-foot-3 Kloosterman has 13 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns on the season. The 6-foot-5 Schiele has four catches for 43 yards and three scores.

JMU quarterback Bryan Schor said that he has a real comfort level with the tight ends in the passing game right now.

“(Saturday) you kind of saw that we had really good matchups at certain places with Kloosterman, and last week we kind of had the same thing going with Schiele,” Schor said after Saturday’s victory. “It’s by design in certain ways, but it is a level of comfort for me right now when you have a big body like that against a smaller defensive back.”

Record breaker: JMU senior running back Khalid Abdullah broke the career rushing touchdown record on Saturday.

Abdullah now has 33 rushing touchdowns. The previous record was 32 held by Dae’Quan Scott (2009-12) and Eriq Williams (1989-92).

“I just thank God. God always comes first in my life,” Abdullah said of the record. “The record wouldn’t mean anything without these guys beside me. It’s my family right here. Outside of my first family, this is my extended family. Anything I can do to help this team win, if that’s scoring touchdowns, if that’s breaking a record then so be it. But honestly I’m just out here trying to play the next play, trying to stay healthy and do my best for the guys beside me.”

Abdullah has 1,074 rushing yards this season on 153 carries and 14 touchdowns. He has 2,943 career rushing yards, which is fourth all-time in school history.

Moving up: The Dukes moved up one spot in the STATS Football Championship Subdivision poll this week to No. 6, while holding at No. 5 in the FCS Coaches poll. Last week the FCS selection committee released its first rankings for the season and JMU was ranked No. 5. They will release the new rankings on Thursday on ESPNU at 4 p.m.

Houston said he’s not worried about the rankings at this point. The Dukes play at Villanova this week. The Wildcats are also ranked in the Top 10 in the two polls.

“I think we’re playing at a high level, no doubt,” Houston said. “I think we’re one of the top teams in the country, I don’t think there’s any debate about that. At the end of the day so is Villanova. You’ve got another Top 10 matchup this week, and one that’s on the road again for us. I think that it will be a true test for us this week, and I think it will be one that will be very telling of truly what we are.”

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

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