Dominant JMU Pitches First Playoff Shutout, Rolls Past Northern Iowa

Inside The Rise Of Curt Cignetti

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James Madison is one win away from punching its ticket to Frisco, Texas, thanks to an absolutely dominant defensive effort that led to a 17-0 victory over sixth-ranked Northern Iowa in the FCS quarterfinal round on Friday night.

A swarming, punishing JMU defense limited UNI to 114 total yards, including a grand total of zero on the ground, en route to its first playoff shutout in program history — all of which now stand as playoff records for the Dukes.

"We're good on defense, their strength is their defense, and we felt like we had the opportunity to shut them down in this game — and we did," said head coach Curt Cignetti. "We felt like that would be a key to being successful ... we were going to have to play great defense in this game. And we really got after them."

Percy Agyei-Obese led the way for James Madison offensively, totaling 124 yards and a score on 33 carries, pushing him past the thousand-yard mark, as he now stands at 1,098 yards heading into the semifinals.

Ben DiNucci started red hot, completing each of his first eight throws, including a 15-yard scoring strike to Brandon Polk to put the Dukes on the board early. DiNucci would cool amid worsening weather conditions, finishing 19-of-28 for 157 yards and a touchdown.

"I told the coaches at halftime, 'Look, if we don't screw it up on offense, we'll be fine,'" said Cignetti. "They could play offense the whole second half against our defense and not score and we'd win the game." 

JMU outgained Northern Iowa 346-114 thanks to a solid rushing attack and 13 third down conversions. The Panthers, on the other hand, couldn't breathe, as Dimitri Holloway and the Dukes were a step ahead all night long.

Holloway referenced telltale signs from UNI that tipped off a well-read JMU defense.

"We knew if they lined up in certain formations or, like, if they came out in big personnel, we knew certain plays that they would want to run," said Holloway. "We just called great defenses for it and then we just executed."

Second-seeded James Madison advances to the FCS semifinal round on Saturday, Dec. 21, where it will meet fourth-ranked Weber State at Bridgeforth Stadium.

UMass Announces Cancelation Of 2020 Season, Eyes Spring

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The 2020 UMass football season has been canceled, according to a release by the university's department of athletics on Tuesday morning.

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FCS Cancels Playoff, Focus Shifts To A Spring Football Season

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The FCS playoffs won't happen this fall — but that doesn't mean they won't happen at all.

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Towson's Caleb Smith Has Defied The Odds Every Step Of The Way

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Towson wide receiver Caleb Smith was told to forget about football. Instead, the Tigers' star wide receiver chose to defy the odds.

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UMass Faces Unique Challenges, Advantages As 2020 Season Approaches

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On a typical autumn Saturday, college football can feel like the most important thing on Earth. The year 2020, however, has been anything but typical — not that anyone needs reminders. 

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Loaded Valdosta State Is Eager To Light Up Some More Scoreboards

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At Valdosta State, the pressing question on offense may be less if the Blazers will move the ball, but rather who’s doing so. 

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Delta State's Junior Faulk Is An Interception Machine

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One benefit to a college football team returning a veteran lineup, Delta State defensive coordinator Kelvin Green explains, is the opportunity to build “a player-led team.” 

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Gulf South Moves To Conference-Only Season, Delays Start

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The Gulf South Conference announced on Thursday that it will delay the start of fall sports to either the last week of September or the first week of October.

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CAA Football Votes To Suspend Conference Competition In 2020

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The CAA announced on Friday that the Conference's Board of Directors has voted to suspend conference competition originally scheduled for this fall due to continuing concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Big Tens Opts For Conference-Only Football Schedule This Fall

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The Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday that it if the league is able to participate in fall sports, it will move to conference-only schedules in those sports.

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Towson's Rob Ambrose Continues To Lead By Example Throughout Pandemic

Stare Into The 'Soul' Of Towson Football

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Social media too often is an outlet for negativity in sports – but also has the capacity for good. Towson head coach Rob Ambrose knows both sides of these communicative platforms. 

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