HARRISONBURG — Four James Madison University football players were named to the Associated Press Football Championship Subdivision All-American team on Tuesday.
JMU redshirt senior offensive lineman Aaron Stinnie, redshirt senior defensive lineman Andrew Ankrah and redshirt senior safety Jordan Brown were all named to the first team. JMU junior corenerback Rashad Robinson was selected to the second team.
“All four are very deserving,” JMU head football coach Mike Houston said Tuesday in his weekly press conference. “They’re all four great players and they’re all four outstanding young men. And they’re great representatives of our football program and James Madison University. They will be successes in life after they quit playing football. Hopefully they got a little more football left in ’em.”
Stinnie is a three-year starter at left tackle. He helped lead the Dukes to 2,564 rushing yards this season.
Ankrah leads the Dukes with 7.5 sacks this year and had 51 total tackles.
Brown and Robinson are tied for the lead in FCS with seven interceptions each.
Brown also has 2.5 sacks and 66 tackles. Robinson has 37 tackles to help lead JMUs defense, which is the top-ranked defense in FCS.
RUNNING GAME SHINES: JMU’s running game hasn’t been where the Dukes have wanted it to be at times this season. However, JMU’s run game may be peaking at just the right time.
JMU ran for 190 yards on 44 carries against Weber State last week. JMU running back Marcus Marshall led the way with 128 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
Houston said he was very happy with the performance of his offensive line, which was battling injuries throughout the game.
“I think that our offensive line was challenged (last) week,” Houston said. “And they worked very hard (last) week to prove that they were who we think they are. And I’m just really proud of that whole group, that offensive line and those running backs and (JMU offensive line) coach (Bryan) Stinespring and (JMU offensive coordinator) coach (Donnie) Kirkpatrick.”
The Dukes entered the game averaging 197.8 rushing yards per game. However, JMU had been held to less than 115 rushing yards in two of its last three games before last weekend’s win over Weber State.
Houston said at this point in the season the run game becomes even more important.
“We needed that (against Weber State) and we knew we were going to need it,” Houston said. “If you’re going to win big ball games late in the year you got to be able to run the football. So I’m really proud of that group.”
ONE LAST HOME GAME: The Dukes will have their final home game of the season at Bridgeforth Stadium this week.
JMU hosts South Dakota State University in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals at 4:30 p.m., Saturday.
JMU senior quarterback Bryan Schor said that he’s excited to play one last time at Bridgeforth Stadium.
“It’s going to be special having the opportunity to leave Bridgeforth in the right way — that’s a special thing for me,” Schor said. “I’ve been really blessed to get the opportunity to play at JMU, and all the success we’ve had is a dream come true.”
Houston said that the opportunity to play in the FCS semifinals is a special one and one that his team won’t take lightly.
“I know everybody may be spoiled a little bit around here after last year’s run, but you don’t get many opportunities at this,” Houston said. “I think (Saturday) will be only the second time in school history that a national semifinal has been played here. So that’s pretty special and pretty rare. So we’re excited about that and hopefully we can keep it going a little longer.”