JMU Football’s History vs. Power Five Opponents

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

JMU football has a rich FCS history, and the program’s FBS history is rapidly growing after an 8-3 FBS transition season in 2022 that included finishing atop the Sun Belt East.

The program’s Power Five history, however, is limited. But that limited history isn’t without memorable wins.

JMU defeated Virginia 36-35 in 2023, erasing an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit on the road to even its all-time record with the Cavaliers.

Here’s a quick breakdown of JMU’s history against current Power Five programs, with JMU’s all-time record against the Power Five foe in parentheses.

Duke (0-1)

The Dukes and Blue Devils met in 2008, with Duke beating JMU 31-7. The game was tied at seven with under a minute to go in the first half, but Duke scored a touchdown before halftime and outscored JMU 17-0 after intermission.

Rodney Landers scored JMU’s lone touchdown, a 47-yard rush in the first quarter.

Louisville (0-1)

The two programs met in 2022, JMU’s first season at the FBS level. The Dukes, battling a series of key injuries, hung tough in the first half.

JMU took a 10-7 lead just before halftime, although Louisville answered with a field goal before the break. Louisville outscored JMU 24-0 after halftime, dominating the line of scrimmage and shutting down JMU’s offense.

Louisville won 34-10, although JMU fans are left to wonder what could’ve been if starting quarterback Todd Centeio was 100% healthy. The Dukes only threw for 52 yards in the loss.

Maryland (0-3)

JMU gave Maryland a scare in 1998 (23-15 loss) and 2009 (38-35 loss) before being blown out (52-7) in 2014.

In 2009, JMU actually led the Terps 35-28 in the fourth quarter after a 70-yard touchdown run from Drew Dudzik. Maryland tied the game late in the quarter and ultimately prevailed 38-35 in overtime.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again in 2027, with JMU visiting the Terps.

NC State (0-1)

Add this 2018 game to the list of “what ifs” in JMU football history. Ben DiNucci nearly led JMU to an upset of the Wolfpack, but a costly red-zone turnover, two 19-yard field goals, and the inability to get off the field on third down (NC State went 11-16) doomed the Dukes in their 24-13 loss.

Still, JMU led 7-0 after the first quarter and was within four points in the final quarter. If JMU hadn’t squandered red-zone chances, the Dukes could’ve won the game.

The Wolfpack went 9-4 in 2018.

North Carolina (0-3)

All three losses to North Carolina (2007, 2011, and 2016) came by at least 23 points.

The 2016 game was intriguing, as the Dukes jumped out to a 21-14 lead after the first quarter, as Bryan Schor and company were clicking on offense.

Sadly for the Dukes, the defense couldn’t stop Mitch Trubisky, who completed 24 of his 27 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. While the Dukes lost the game, they went on to win the FCS national championship.

JMU and North Carolina are scheduled to meet in Chapel Hill on Sept. 21, 2024 and again in 2028.

UCF (1-1)

UCF wasn’t a Power Five team when the programs met in 1991 (a 49-31 JMU win) or 1992 (a 41-37 UCF victory), but the Knights are a Power Five team now after making the move to the Big 12.

JMU is scheduled to play UCF in 2029.

Virginia (2-2)

JMU lost the first meeting between the programs 69-9 in 1979. After that blowout defeat, the Dukes won the 1982 meeting 21-17. UVA took the 1983 meeting 21-14.

In 2023, JMU outlasted UVA 36-35 in a memorable showdown between the in-state foes.

Virginia Tech (1-6)

JMU and Virginia Tech met six times from 1980-2003, and the Dukes never played the Hokies within 20 points. Then, in 2010, JMU upset Virginia Tech 21-16 in Blacksburg.

The Dukes were 7-12 on third downs and converted all three of their red-zone opportunities into scores. The Hokies were a bit sloppier, going 3-5 in the red zone and losing the turnover battle 1-0.

JMU took advantage of nasty weather to win one of the biggest games in program history. The win over the Hokies remains the team’s most recent Power Five win.

The teams will meet again in Blacksburg in 2025.

West Virginia (0-3)

West Virginia demolished JMU in 2004, beating the Dukes 45-10. In 2012 at FedEx Field, West Virginia won 42-12.

JMU, however, had a great chance to beat the Mountaineers in 2019. West Virginia ultimately won 20-13, but the Dukes ran for 138 more yards than West Virginia, holding the Mountaineers to 1.4 yards per carry.

Turnovers cost JMU, which gave the ball away three times without forcing any takeaways.

Overall (4-21)

Virginia, 1979 – 69-9 loss

Virginia Tech, 1980 – 38-6 loss

Virginia, 1982 – 21-17 win

Virginia, 1983 – 21-14 loss

Virginia Tech, 1988 – 27-6 loss

Virginia Tech, 1991 – 41-12 loss

*UCF, 1991 – 49-31 win

Virginia Tech, 1992 – 49-20 loss

*UCF, 1992- 41-37 loss

Maryland, 1998 – 23-15 loss

Virginia Tech, 1999 – 47-0 loss

Virginia Tech, 2003 – 43-0 loss

West Virginia, 2004 – 45-10 loss

North Carolina, 2007 – 37-14 loss

Duke, 2008 – 31-7 loss

Maryland, 2009 – 38-35 loss

Virginia Tech, 2010 – 21-16 win

North Carolina, 2011 – 42-10 loss

West Virginia, 2012 – 42-12 loss

Maryland, 2014 – 52-7 loss

North Carolina, 2016 – 56-28 loss

NC State, 2018 – 24-13 loss

West Virginia, 2019 – 20-13 loss

Louisville, 2022 – 34-10 loss

Virginia, 2023 – 36-35 win

* not a Power Conference team at the time of the game

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