HARRISONBURG -- Sophomore tailback Rondell Bradley (Levittown, Pa./Harry S. Truman High School) ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, and James Madison forced three turnovers and blocked two kicks in beating New Hampshire 20-14 Saturday (Sept. 7) at Bridgeforth Stadium in its Atlantic 10 Conference opener.
Bradley carried 27 times and scored on runs of 18 and 25 yards as the Dukes evened their season record at 1-1 and won in league play for the first time since the 2000 season. Bradley's 18-yard scoring sprint pulled JMU into a 7-7 tie with 5:23 left in the first quarter, and his 25-yarder with 9:42 left in the third period gave the Dukes a 20-7 edge.
Bradley led an offense that compiled 408 yards, including 284 on the ground and 124 through the air. The Dukes ran for 14 first downs, and their ground effort followed a 311-yard rushing performance against Hampton in the season's first week.
In addition to Bradley's scoring runs, JMU got field goals of 21 and 24 yards from sophomore placekicker Burke George (Colonial Heights, Va./Colonial Heights) in the second and third quarters, respectively.
After the Dukes led 10-7 at halftime, Burke's 24-yard field goal on the opening series of the second half capped a 44-yard drive and gave JMU a 13-7 edge. Red-shirt freshman Raymond Hines (Hyattsville, Md./High Point) blocked a New Hampshire punt on the next possession, and Bradley scored from the 25 on JMU's next play.
The Dukes had opportunities to seal the victory but had turnovers at the end of two long drives later in the final half. JMU drove from its one-yard line to the New Hampshire five before Bradley lost a fumble an instant before crossing the goal line on the next play.
JMU in the final quarter drove from its 21 to the New Hampshire 24 before losing another fumble with 5:16 to play. New Hampshire drove drove 76 yards in seven plays and got to within 20-14 on Mike Granieri's 13-yard touchdown pass to tailback Stephan Lewis with 3:46 remaining.
JMU with the help of a New Hampshire personal foul penalty then held the ball until but 46 seconds remained, and sophomore cornerback Cortez Thompson's (Fredericksburg, Va./Courtland) interception on a third-and-10 pass attempt from the Wildcat 25 with 13 seconds left allowed the Dukes to run out the clock.
New Hampshire scored on the game's first series, driving 80 yards in 10 plays with Paul McKinney scoring on a two-yard run with 11:00 left in the opening quarter. The Wildcats missed on a field goal attempt after reaching the JMU 20 late in the first quarter and had a third-quarter field goal try blocked after getting to the JMU 19.
In addition to losing two fumbles in New Hampshire territory, JMU settled for George field goals after reaching the Wildcat four in the second qaurter and six in the third period.
Sophomore tailback Pervis Binns (Ivor, Va./Southampton) added 68 rushing yards on 10 carries for JMU, and the Dukes got 124 passing yards from sophomore quarterback Matt LeZotte (Augusta, Ga./Westside). Junior wide receiver Alan Harrison (Watkinsville, Ga./Oconee County) caught five passes for 107 yards.
Lewis ran 20 times for 151 yards, caught three passes for 42 yards and returned a kickoff 16 yards for New Hampshire.
The loss was the second straight of the season for New Hampshire, which fell at Division I-A Kent State a week ago. The Wildcats compiled 385 yards, including 180 rushing and 205 passing. Granieri hit on 18 of 29 passes for 204 yards and was intercepted only on his team's final series.