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Redshirt senior quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 164 yards during the first half against Elon.

JMU football (3-1) opened CAA play against the Elon Phoenix on Saturday in Elon, North Carolina. The Dukes and head coach Curt Cignetti are looking to get a win in their first conference game after the Phoenix — Cignetti’s old program —  beat JMU last season. At the half, JMU leads Elon 21-7. 

The good: Ben DiNucci

Redshirt senior quarterback Ben DiNucci stepped onto the field at Rhodes Stadium and picked up where he left off last weekend. The Wexford, Pennsylvania, native quickly went to work against CAA counterpart Elon, getting JMU to the end zone in only two-and-a-half minutes. 

DiNucci opened the offense’s day by leading the Dukes on a six-play, 65-yard drive, which was topped off by a 6-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back Solomon Vanhorse. The next drive saw DiNucci take the ball to the end zone himself to give the Dukes a seven-point lead before the first quarter expired. 

Before the end of the half, DiNucci and the Dukes added 14 points on two scoring drives after the first touchdown. DiNucci went to the locker room at the half with 164 passing yards, 20 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. 

DiNucci ended the half 10 for 16 and no interceptions. 

The bad: Rashad Robinson going down with an injury

Seeing his first game action since going down against Morgan State two weeks ago, redshirt senior cornerback Rashad Robinson had an apparent injury early against the Phoenix. 

On Elon’s second drive, Robinson was slow to get up after assisting on a tackle. The Richmond, Virginia, native was helped off the field and immediately went to the medical tent for further evaluation.

Robinson re-entered the game for the start of the second quarter after missing a drive and a half to end the first 15 minutes. 

The ugly: JMU’s early defensive showing 

The Dukes cleaned it up on defense early and fast after a mistake on the second play of the contest. 

Elon junior quarterback Davis Cheek has thrived early in the season for the Phoenix after returning from a season-ending injury last October. On Elon’s opening drive, Cheek found sophomore wide receiver Avery Jones for a 66-yard touchdown to start the scoring. 

Following the touchdown pass, the JMU defense locked down Elon’s run and pass game for the remaining portion of the first half. The Phoenix finished with 62 rushing yards and 98 passing yards. 

Cheek finished the half for the Phoenix with only seven completions off 15 attempts and had one touchdown pass.

Contact Catie Harper 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.”