Ben DiNucci celebrates (copy)

JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci will be the starter for the Dukes.

The wait is over for JMU football fans. 

Following Tuesday’s practice, head coach Curt Cignetti named redshirt senior Ben DiNucci as the starting quarterback for the Dukes. DiNucci started every game of the 2018 season.

“He’s done a good job,” Cignetti said. “I have total confidence and trust in him. He’s played a lot of football … He’s done a good job with his decision making.”

Throughout the first two weeks of fall camp, DiNucci has taken the most reps with the first-team offense, while redshirt junior Cole Johnson has been playing with the second team. Cignetti noted the importance of Johnson being ready in case of injury. 

“Cole’s really progressed, too. He’s a really good down-the-field and intermediate passer,” Cignetti said. “He’s a good decision maker, doesn’t get flustered. He moves a lot better than people give him credit for.”

In 2018, DiNucci strung together a performance that saw him named to Third Team All-CAA in his first year with the Dukes. In 2018, the Wexford, Pennsylvania, native recorded 2,275 yards through the air for 16 touchdowns. DiNucci also contributed 433 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, which was the highest on the team. In 13 games last season, DiNucci posted a 139.5 passer rating. 

DiNucci was named to the College Football Performance Awards FCS National Performer of the Year Watch List on Aug. 13 and hopes to have a strong presence for the Dukes under center. 

“The main thing is we’re not asking the quarterback to carry the team on his shoulders,” Cignetti said. “We’re going to have an offensive plan, a defensive plan and a special teams plan to win the game … We’re not asking Ben to carry the team; we just want him to play quarterback for us, make good decisions, protect the ball and complete the passes he should.”

Contact Catie Harper and Noah Ziegler at breezesports@gmail.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports. 

Pat Summitt, Erin Andrews and Lindsay Czarniak were three names that inspired me growing up. Here I am now at JMU, Czarniak’s alma mater, taking steps to live out my dream. As Pat would say, “I’m going to keep on keepin’ on, I promise you that.”

There comes a time where an athlete realizes their true potential. When I realized that I was never going to make a living on the court, I figured I’d make it on the sidelines. I hope to be able to attend and cover the World Cup and NCAA tournament.