Inside JMU
Courtesy: Mat Schlissel,  
Release: 10/04/2012
Towson (2-2) goes from facing the #3 team in FBS (LSU) one week to meeting the #5 team in FCS (James Madison).
The Tigers played a hard-fought game against one of the premier programs in the nation, falling 38-22 in Baton Rouge, La. This week, they'll be traveling to Harrisonburg, Va., to take on the 3-1 Dukes in front of a sold-out Bridgeforth Stadium on Saturday at 1 p.m. (NBC Sports Network).
This is the 24th meeting between the teams, and the Dukes hold a 17-5-1 lead, including a 10-1 mark at Bridgeforth Stadium. Towson has never beaten James Madison since joining the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in football. They last faced the Dukes in 2010, falling 17-13 at Unitas Stadium. Towson's last win in Harrisonburg, Va., took place in 1983, when the Tigers won 10-3.
James Madison last played on Sept. 22, when they dominated Rhode Island, 32-7 on the road. The Dukes opened the season with a 55-7 win over St. Francis (Pa.), a team the Tigers faced on Homecoming and defeated 46-17. JMU followed that with a 42-3 home win over Alcorn State.
On Sept. 15, they played West Virginia at FedEx Field  in Landover, Md., falling 42-12.
James Madison normally has one of the best rushing teams in the CAA, due to their physical nature up front. They are third in the CAA and 12th in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 237 yards per game. They also have good balance, averaging 218.5 yards per game in the air. On defense, they allow just 88 yards per game on the ground and 204 yards per game in the air (fifth in CAA).  JMU ranks second in the CAA in total defense, allowing just 292 yds/game and first in third-down defense percentage at 25.53 percent (sixth in the nation).
The Dukes are led by redshirt junior quarterback Justin Thorpe (6-1, 225), who was just awarded a sixth year of eligibility. In 2008, he had a season-ending injury as a true freshman and then was injured in the first half of the 2010 season opener against Morehead State. Thorpe leads the team in rushing with 261 yards (5.6 ypc), while throwing for 728 yards and five TDs (62.2 percent).
The big question is whether junior tailback Dae Quan Scott (5-9, 205) will play. Scott, who earned a place on the All-CAA second-team last year, rushing for 1,304 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, Scott has been hampered by ankle injury but still has 180 yards (9 ypc) in just two games. If Scott doesn't go, the Dukes can go with either Hykeem Brodie (5-11, 220) or Jordan Anderson (5-11, 215), who have combined for over 300 yards in their first four games.
At receiver, sophomores DeAndre Smith (5-10, 180) and Marquis Woodyard (5-10, 180) both have 10 catches for 79 yards. The top target is senior tight end Brian Barlow (6-3, 255), who leads the team with 13 catches for 184 yards and one score.
The offensive line is led by senior All-American left guard Earl Watford (6-4, 295). The line has allowed just seven sacks and they are averaging just 5.3 yards per carry on the ground.
Defensively, the Dukes are led on the defensive line by junior DT Tyler Snow (6-3, 270), who has seven tackles, two TFLs, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
At linebacker, junior Stephon Robertson (5-11, 225) is second on the team in tackles with 24, adding three pass breakups. Roberts was a preseason All-America and All-CAA selection.
The quality secondary is led by sophomore free safety Dean Marlowe (6-2, 195), who has recorded a team-leading 25 tackles and also has a pick. Sophomore Titus Till (6-2, 210), a Maryland transfer, could start at strong safety, though he missed the Rhode Island game with an ankle injury. Senior Jakarie Jackson (5-11, 1900), who has 17 tackles, is a capable substitute.
At cornerback, senior Leavander Jones (15 tackles) starts next to sophomore Corey Davis (16 tackles).
Scott has been a very valuable return man on punts and kickoffs. If he can't go, Ryan Smith (10 ypr) will likely take his spot, while sophomore Dejor Simmons (25.2 ypr) or junior Jordan Anderson (32 ypr) will return kicks.
The kicking game is outstanding, led by junior placekicker Cameron Starke who has made all four of his field goal attempts, with a long of 47. Senior punter David Skahn averages 39.9 yards per punt.

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