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.