‘Nova set to Duke it out



Joe DeNicholas

On Saturday the No. 11 James Madison Dukes will make the trek to the Main Line to take on the No. 6-ranked Villanova Wildcats. Last week the ‘Cats took care of business against Maine beating them by a score of 48-18. It was an impressive win in a tough environment against a Maine squad who has a win over No. 10 New Hampshire. The Wildcats returned to their dominant form that was on display earlier this season, and they did it all without All-American senior Matt Szczur. Entering the matchup with Villanova, the Dukes are 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Colonial Athletic Association play.

Villanova on offense

Last weekend was a career day for senior quarterback Chris Whitney. With Szuzur out, Whitney helped fill the void with the best passing game of his career. He threw an outstanding 20 of 25 for 322 yards with no interceptions. He threw for three touchdowns and rushed for an additional two, earning him CAA Offensive Player of the Week honors. Junior wide receiver Norman White made six catches for 94 yards and one touchdown. White was impressive in creating big plays after the initial catch, earning huge gains for the ‘Cats. The offensive line did an excellent job of protecting Whitney and giving him all the time he needed to hit his targets. They also provided the holes for the Wildcat rushes by Aaron Ball and Angelo Babbaro. Babbaro added to the offense with 48 yards on 5 rushes. He scored one touchdown on a 63-yard pass and added another on a 28-yard dash. Dorian Wells added a score on a 73-yard pass from Whitney. Even walk-on quarterback Christian Culicerto got involved when he hooked up with Mikey Reynolds on a 14-yard touchdown pass. The ‘Cats came up big on several third-down conversions that eventually led to scores, converting on 10 of 14.

Villanova on defense

‘Nova’ s defense shut down Maine by committee last weekend. Defensive back John Dempsey led the ‘Cats with eight tackles while Terence Thomas and Devon Bridges added six and seven tackles, respectively. Maine was held to 244 yards of offense and struggled to generate offense consistently.

James Madison on offense

Junior running back Scott Noble led the Dukes with 19 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Noble had a season-long 44-yard burst which made his 18 other carries for 56 yards seem average at best. Quarterback Drew Dudzik threw 10 for 23 for 157 yards and two interceptions. The Dukes turned over the ball three times and gave up four sacks last week. In its last four games, James Madison has scored a total of six points in the second half.

Last week, JMU managed less than 100 yards of offense against visiting New Hampshire. As the Dukes seemed to run out of gas, New Hampshire scored 18 unanswered points and pulled away with a 28-14 victory.

James Madison on defense

Sophomore safety Jakarie Jackson and redshirt-junior linebacker Pat Williams shared team-high tackles with 10 apiece. The Dukes gave up 354 yards of offense against New Hampshire.


With James Madison being upset at home last weekend, look for coach Mickey Matthews to have his team ready for war. If James Madison does not improve second half production and the Wildcats play to their potential, this game could be a blowout.