It was a good joke – a good joke, even – but senior quarterback Cole Johnson landed a 9-yard touchdown pass into the south endcourt during the second quarter of the JMU football with Towson. The pass landed in the hands of Redshirt junior wide receiver Reggie Brown and Johnson had 31 touchdown passes this season – the JMU’s all-time record in 11 games.
This record was one of JMU’s many 56-7s routing of Towson on Seniors Day. Johnson finished with six touchdowns and 21 for 25 in completed passes – looking strong for the playoffs.
“It’s not just one guy, it’s all,” Johnson said. “It’s a huge credit to our receivers, our offensive line, our coaches… really everyone. I obviously [have] the rewards that come with it, I think it’s a great job for everyone. “
Johnson wasn’t the only one breaking records on Saturday afternoon. The game was heavily dominated in the air, and once again the combination between red-shirted rookie Antwane Wells Jr. and red-shirted junior Kris Thornton began. Both combined for four touchdowns.
“They took us out in the fourth quarter but I was trying to get his goal with four touchdowns in a game,” Wells Jr. said. “[We’re] always just friendly, going back and forth, trying to see who gets the best yards and who gets the most touchdowns.
The Dukes’ first touchdown of the day, however, was on the ground, and it didn’t take long to get it. Redshirt’s sophomore running back Solomon Vanhorse watched the Tigers kick off fly through the air, land in his hands and saw a hole in front of him as he ran 94 yards to the zone goals in the first game of the match.
It set the tone for what happened.
Between Thornton’s 83-yard reception throughout his career and Wells. Jr. taking three assists at home, it was an electric first half. As the score showed, the Dukes took a 42-7 lead in the locker room.
The Tigers had one bright spot: senior running back Jerry Howard Jr.
JMU head coach Curt Cignetti said Howard Jr. was “tough” on Dukes. He was a positive running back, meaning that even when he’s stopped it’s hard to get him to lose yards. Despite Towson’s offense, the senior had just under 100 yards on the ground in the first half.
The Tigers’ only touchdown came in the air – senior red jersey quarterback Chris Ferguson threw an eight-yard pass to senior red jersey Caleb Smith, who found the end zone in the first quarter. It was a 14-7 game then, but the Dukes shut out the Tigers for the remainder of the game.
How did JMU cover up a Tigers physical offense? It took a full line and high school effort.
“I think for the first time in a long time we’ve played four quarters, performing well,” said Redshirt senior defensive lineman Bryce Carter.
Carter, a transfer from Towson, led the team with loss tackles, 3s, a sack and a forced fumble. Redshirt’s senior cornerback Taurus Carroll also led the team with four solo three-quarter tackles.
The JMU offense did not stall in the second half. The Dukes scored two more touchdowns, both by Vanhorse. The running back caught an eight-yard pass from Johnson and made another visit to the three-yard end zone in the third, ending with three touchdowns on the day.
“I’ve always been cool with [Johnson]”Vanhorse said.” I feel like I just caught the balls out of the backfield, he has more confidence in me, to find me just like he has confidence in [Wells Jr.] where he trusts [Thornton]. “
The fourth quarter started with red-shirted junior Patrick Bentley, who was honored on the senior day, taking the field as Cignetti began to replace the starters. Towson first-year kicker Keegan Vaughan added a 41-yard field goal to end the scoring.
Johnson finished 21-for-25, 363 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Dukes, while Thornton had a high of 116 yards and one touchdown. Wells Jr. himself made three trips to the end zone as four different Dukes had a touchdown. Redshirt junior linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey and redshirt senior linebacker Kelvin Azanama both finished with eight tackles and three different Dukes had one interception.
Ferguson had 90 yards for the Tigers and a touchdown. Howard Jr. finished with 162 yards while Smith had a team-high 87 yards. Senior cornerback Charles Peeples made eight tackles for Towson.
JMU ends the regular season 10-1 (7-1 CAA) and becomes co-champion with Villanova. The Dukes are waiting to see their fate on the FCS selection show – it starts at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
“We were n ° 2, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be two [in the playoffs]”said Cignetti.” Of course, last spring we were number 1 in the country … [No. 2]. “
Contact Savannah Reger at [email protected] For more football information, follow the sports office on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.
Q1 (14:47) Landing, JMU; 94 yards, Solomon Vanhorse
Q1 (11:05) Landing, JMU; 8 meters, Antwane Wells Jr.
Q1 (7:26) Landing, Towson; 8 yards, Caleb Smith
Q2 (11:08) Landing, JMU; 83 yards, Kris Thornton
Q2 (7:44) Landing, JMU; 25 meters, Antwane Wells Jr.
Q2 (6:43) Landing, JMU; 30 yards, Reggie Brown
Q2 (0:31) Landing, JMU; 9 meters, Antwane Wells Jr.
Q3 (10:03) Landing, JMU; 10 yards, Solomon Vanhorse
Q3 (2:20) Landing, JMU; 3 yards, Solomon Vanhorse
Q4 (9:09) Field goal, Towson; 41 yards, Keegan Vaughan