Freshman see plenty of action in JMU rout
HARRISONBURG — One big positive for James Madison University in its 75-14 victory over Norfolk State University was getting playing time for many players.
JMU head coach Mike Houston said that he was able to play every dressed player who wasn’t being red-shirted this season.
“It was good to get some young guys in there and get some experience under their belt,” Houston said. “We saw a lot of freshmen in there get their first college snaps. It was an exciting time for them.”
In all JMU played 64 players in the victory. There were 10 true freshmen and 14 redshirt freshmen who saw playing time in the win.
One of the freshmen to make the most of his playing time was running back Percy Agyei-Obese. The true freshman had 16 carries for 103 yards, which was second on the team.
“We saw Percy get his first college carries,” Houston said. “And I thought he did pretty well for his first time out there.”
Agyei-Obese could add to JMU’s depth at running back, where starter Cardon Johnson suffered an injury in the second quarter and didn’t return.
The Dukes used five different running backs in the win.
“We had solid production by the entire room,” Houston said of the running backs. “You see the depth of that room and everybody was productive today.”
Another area where JMU has plenty of depth is wide receiver and tight end. True freshman tight end Clayton Cheatham had his first career touchdown.
Cheatham has been playing some early in the season, but hadn’t had a catch in his previous two games. Cheatham had a 47-yard touchdown reception.
True freshmen wide receivers Ezrah Archie and Brandon Westfield each had their first career catches. It was Westfield’s second game and Archie’s first. Archie had three receptions for 18 yards, and Westfield had two catches for 25 yards.
“Now at least Clayton Chetaham has played significant snaps,” Houston said. “Braxton Westfield had his first college catch (Saturday). Ezrah Archie played in his first college game (Saturday). The more experience they have the fewer butterflies they have. And the more experience they get the fewer mistakes they make. So it only helps those guys improve the next time they’re there. Because the next time, they’re in there it could be with the game on the line and it being a critical snap.”
JMU true freshman Liam Fornadel and redshirt freshman Zaire Bethea have played in every game this season on the offensive line. The two have rotated in and out with the starters.
True freshman Harry O’Kelly has been doing the team’s punting duties each game and had one punt for 38 yards against Norfolk State.
One player who did not see playing time is true freshman quarterback Gage Moloney. The Dukes are hoping to redshirt him this season.