HARRISONBURG, Va.—The William & Mary football team fell at No. 7/6 James Madison, 31-24, on Saturday afternoon. The game was in reach for W&M (2-4, 0-3) late in the fourth quarter, as it trailed by just a touchdown, 24-17, with less than two minutes remaining. However, the Tribe’s comeback bid stalled at JMU’s 16-yard line when senior quarterback Steve Cluley was intercepted in the end zone with 1:22 remaining. It was the second of two turnovers by the Tribe inside the red zone during the second half.
Although a 74-yard touchdown run by Khalid Abdullah with 0:55 remaining increased the Dukes’ (5-1, 3-0) lead to 31-17, the Tribe quickly answered with a 5-play, 52-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 4-yard strike from Cluley to junior wideout DeVonte Dedmon with 0:03 remaining to once again cut the margin to a touchdown.
However, W&M was unable to secure the ensuing onside kick, and JMU ran out the final seconds. Senior running back Kendell Anderson led the Tribe offensively with 149 yards on a career-high 31 carries with a touchdown. Defensively, junior safety Richie DiPietro totaled a team-high 10 tackles, while redshirt freshman safety Corey Parker totaled seven stops with an interception.
While JMU took an early 3-0 lead on a 33-yard field goal by Tyler Gray on the game’s opening drive, W&M tied the score with a 37-yard field goal by redshirt freshman Kris Hooper shortly thereafter. The field goal, which was the first of Hooper’s career, was set up by Parker’s interception that gave the Tribe starting field position at JMU’s 18-yard line.
A 4-yard touchdown run by Abdullah late in the first quarter briefly put JMU ahead, 10-3, but the Tribe answered again – this time with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown run by Anderson. In addition to the score, Anderson fueled the drive with 57 yards on six carries.
The Dukes had an opportunity to reclaim the lead, but Gray missed a 21-yard field goal midway through the second quarter as the teams went to the locker room tied at 10-10. Although touchdown runs Abdullah and Cardon Johnson lifted JMU a 24-10 advantage early in the fourth quarter, the Tribe cut the deficit in half with a 32-yard touchdown run by Cluley on a fourth-and-2 with 8:11 remaining.
After W&M’s defense forced a punt, the Tribe took possession at its own 9-yard line with 6:12 showing on the clock. Unfortunately, the ensuing 12-play, 75-yard drive failed to yield points as it ended with the interception in the end zone. Abdullah led JMU with 194 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns, while Johnson finished with 90 yards on 17 carries with a score. Although W&M held the Dukes well below its scoring average (47.6), JMU outgained the Tribe, 511-362, and piled up 329 yards on the ground.