Dukes optimistic, hopeful to resume play Saturday

Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:22 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football team is planning to play its first game since March 6 with the Dukes scheduled to visit William & Mary Saturday afternoon.

During an appearance on the Colonial Athletic Association’s Zoom media call with head coaches, JMU’s Curt Cignetti said he is “hopeful” and “optimistic” the Dukes will be able to take the field Saturday after a recent COVID-19 outbreak amongst the team caused the postponement of James Madison home games against Richmond (March 13) and William & Mary (March 20).

“We have a football team and if we are able to play, we are going to roll a football team out there on Saturday,” said Cignetti.

His comments come after JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne told local media members last week that the outbreak had impacted nearly 30 individuals, at that time. Cignetti says members of the team were able to participate in recent strength & conditioning workouts and the Dukes were scheduled to practice Monday.

JMU has played just three games during the FCS spring season and with just three contests currently remaining on the schedule, each one is crucial as the undefeated Dukes try to earn a spot in the FCS playoffs.

“If we are fortunate enough to play Saturday, we are in a position where every game is now a playoff game,” said Cignetti. “So we oughtta have great focus, great preparation, great sense of urgency, have everybody on the same page, have a pretty realistic perspective of who we are and where we are at and what it’s going to take to be successful.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff in Williamsburg. You can watch the game digitally with a FloSports subscription.

JMU to be without some key players Saturday

During his weekly press conference Tuesday, James Madison head coach Curt Cignetti said the Dukes are still planning to play at William & Mary Saturday afternoon but JMU will likely be without some key players after the program’s recent COVID-19 outbreak.

“I feel confident we will have enough guys to play,” said Cignetti. “I don’t know who all is going to play. There’s going to be guys not playing that you’re used to seeing, that’s for sure, there’s no doubt about that...But I feel confident right now that we will be able to field a team.”

Watch Curt Cignetti’s full weekly press conference (3/23) here:

JMU remains at No. 1 in national rankings

Despite not playing since March 6, James Madison remains as the No. 1-ranked team in the latest STATS Perform FCS Top 25. JMU earned 29 first-place votes.

STATS Perform FCS Top 25 - Monday, March 22

1. James Madison (29)

2. North Dakota State (6)

3. Weber State (2)

4. South Dakota State (2)

5. Sam Houston (1)

6. North Dakota

7. Jacksonville State

8. Kennesaw State

9. Chattanooga

10. Southern Illinois

To see the rest of the STATS Perform FCS Top 25, click here.

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