gbuphoto11/20

JMU quarterback Cole Johnson throws the ball against Towson on Nov. 20. 

It’s a chilly JMU senior day, and the Dukes have a 42-7 lead over Towson through 30 minutes. JMU is breaking single-season records left and right.

Redshirt senior quarterback Cole Johnson is now the program single-season record holder for passing touchdowns, and redshirt freshman wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. and redshirt junior wide receiver Kris Thornton are tied for the most touchdowns in the CAA with 11 apiece.

With that, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the first half.

The good: JMU kickoff returns

Scoring on the first drive is a priority for JMU, but on the kickoff? That’s even better.

Redshirt sophomore running back Solomon Vanhorse wasted no time putting the Dukes on the board, running 94 yards into the end zone for his second career return for a touchdown and 7-0 lead.

On his next return, Vanhorse ran deep again — this time being taken down at midfield. His speed and agility against the Tigers gave the Dukes strong field position each time Towson’s kickoff team took the field. 

The bad: Towson’s secondary

JMU has fast and mobile wide receivers, and Towson just hasn’t kept up. Wells Jr. won a one-on-one in the end zone to make it 14-0, then later on, Thornton found himself wide open for an 83-yard touchdown. 

Thornton and Wells Jr. are both difficult to defend. A common problem for any opponent the Dukes face is that when Thornton is double-teamed, Wells Jr. has more space. 

If the Tigers can’t control their backfield, that gives JMU redshirt senior quarterback Cole Johnson the ability to send the ball deep — a game that JMU head coach Curt Cignetti wouldn’t mind playing if given the opportunity. 

The ugly: Persistent penalties

JMU is having fun on the field today, but the Dukes still need to play clean. Last week, JMU had three penalties the entire game — the Dukes had six penalties in the first half. Were some penalties easily avoidable? Probably. Most of them cost 15 yards, and it hasn’t been the prettiest sight on the field. 

The game has gotten more aggressive as the first half progressed — leading to quicker flags and more physicality on both sides. JMU’s seen the brunt of the penalties, but the Tigers aren’t perfect either. 

The dominant first-half performance is helping JMU’s case to earn a seeded position during the FCS selection show tomorrow. As long as the Dukes continue on their current trajectory, fans can expect a high-scoring victory. 

Contact Madison Hricik at breezesports@gmail.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.