Dudzik Shines in JMU's Opening Loss

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

James Madison coach Mickey Matthews says he needs to look at the film from Saturday's loss to Maryland before evaluating his team's quarterback situation.

Junior Drew Dudzik got his first career start in the 38-35 overtime loss. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Justin Thorpe on JMU's second offensive series, then the two continued alternating possessions through most of the first half.

The Dukes veered from that plan in the second half, using Thorpe on just one third quarter possession.

"We thought Drew was managing the game better," Matthews explained after the game.

Dudzik led JMU to all four of its offensive touchdowns, including a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Mike Caussin, and a 70-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter.

JMU managed one first down on Thorpe's three possessions, but the freshman said he understood why his playing time was scaled back.

"No, I wanted to win," Thorpe said. "I was rooting Drew on the whole time. Make a play. I wanted to leave out of here with a W."

"I thought we were a little unfair to Justin," Matthews said. "Every time we put him out there we had major penalties."

The Dukes lost ten yards on back-to-back false start penalties at the start of Thorpe's second possession. Later on the same possession, an illegal block wiped out a 15-yard run by Thorpe.

Thorpe's lone second half series was slowed by an offensive facemask penalty. Both drives ended without a first down.

Thorpe's final numbers included 1-2 passing for eight yards, and 48 rushing yards on eight carries.

Dudzik finished 9-15 passing for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and 112 rushing yards and another score, plus a two-point conversion.

"It's tough, you know. We've got to use this, though, as momentum going into next week," Dudzik said. "Obviously we lost the game, but we played good enough to win. And like I said, we've got to get better this week in practice and use that going into next week."

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