No. 25 James Madison football’s come-back attempt fell short in the final home game of the season as the Dukes dropped a 41-38 loss to Stony Brook, Nov. 16. JMU fell to 6-5 overall and 3-4 in Colonial Athletic Association play with its first home loss of the year, while the Seawolves improved to 4-6 this season and 2-5 against league opponents.
Redshirt senior Dae’Quan Scott eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing in a single season mark, currently at 1,044 yards. Sophomore Michael Birdsong set a JMU single-season passing record at 2,558 yards, surpassing Mike Cawley’s record of 2,459 yards from 1995. He also tied the school record with 21 touchdowns in a season, also held by Cawley.
Stony Brook took control of the game in the first half, putting up a season-high 31 points to take a 31-10 halftime lead. The scoring was sparked by the second play of the Seawolves’ opening drive as quarterback Lyle Negron threw a 75 yard touchdown pass to Adrian Coxson to quickly go up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.
JMU was able to match some of the scoring early on, as trailing 14-3, the Dukes put together a 6-play, 82-yard drive. A 44 yard pass from Birdsong to Scott put the Dukes in business at the Stony Brook 12-yard line. Birdsong was then able to connect on the next play with sophomore tight end Deane Cheatham on a touchdown pass over the middle to make it 14-10 late in the opening period.
Stony Brook then took control by putting the next 17 points on the board on a Graham Ball 31-yard field goal, Negron’s 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Tye and a 1-yard run by Negron to give the Seawolves a 31-10 lead with 56 seconds to go in the first half.
The Dukes were able to slip in one more touchdown before the end of the half. Birdsong completed a 33 yard pass to wide receiver Brandon Ravenel in the right corner of the end zone with 11 seconds left, cutting the deficit to 31-17 entering the halftime break.
Stony Brook started with the ball in the second half and came out swinging, pushing the lead back to 21. Negron again connected with Tye, this time on a 22 yard touchdown pass, to make it 38-17 with 11:34 to play in the third.
JMU fought back two possessions later with a 54-yard drive. This time, Birdsong found wide receiver Arlandis Harvey for an 11-yard strike in the end zone to make it 38-24.
SBU got a 20-yard field goal from Ball with 13:17 left in the game to go up 41-24, which was the eventual game winner. JMU kept fighting as Birdsong hit two more touchdown passes, both to wide receiver Daniel Brown from 32 and 10 yards out, to make it 41-38 with just under five minutes to play in the game. However, the Dukes were unable to get the ball back from the visitors in those final minutes, including a fourth-down conversion by the Seawolves with two minutes to go.
Negron finished at 23-for-32 for a career-high 395 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Coxson with nine completions for 183 yards and a score. Negron also had two rushing touchdowns, while Christian Ricard recorded a game-high 17 tackles.
Junior safety Dean Marlowe led JMU with 13 tackles, while redshirt senior linebacker Stephon Robertson had 11 in the contest.
JMU plays its final game of the 2013 season, traveling to Towson for the CAA season finale, Sat., Nov. 23. Kickoff at Johnny Unitas Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m., and will be televised on NBC Sports Network.