HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Michael Birdsong threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns as James Madison held on for a 38-31 win over Richmond on Saturday.
Leading 7-6 at halftime, JMU (5-2, 2-1 Colonial) broke the game open in the third quarter with three touchdowns, beginning with a 100-yard kickoff return by Dejor Simmons. A 9-yard touchdown run by Quinton Hunter and a 16-yard touchdown pass from Birdsong to Deane Cheatham then extended the Dukes' lead to 28-9. Birdsong added a 39-yard touchdown pass in the fourth to put JMU up 38-16.
Richmond (2-4, 0-2) rallied with touchdowns on its next two possessions, scoring on a 15-yard run by Jacobi Green and a 7-yard pass from Michael Strauss to Ben Edwards. The Spiders attempted an onside kick after cutting the lead to 38-31 on a field goal with 1:32 left, but JMU recovered. Strauss threw for 423 yards and two touchdowns.
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First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.
The destination for Week 6 of the Big 12 Ultimate Road Trip is unanimous, as all three conference reporters would head to the Red River Rivalry.
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