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JMU preparing to host Richmond in top-15 showdown to end regular season

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football team is preparing for its biggest game of the 2021 spring season.

JMU, ranked No. 1 in the country, is getting set to host No. 11 Richmond Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth Stadium. Both teams enter the matchup undefeated and tied atop the CAA South Division standings. The result of Saturday’s game is expected to have FCS playoff implications for the Dukes and Spiders.

“We’re looking forward to playing,” said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti during Monday’s CAA coaches Zoom teleconference. “There’s going to be fans in the stands. 30% capacity, which will be great. I suspect that we’ll have a good week of preparation but you can never assume that, and that we’ll be excited to play.”

Nearly 7,500 fans will be allowed into Bridgeforth Stadium Saturday afternoon as JMU prepares to play its first home game since Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently relaxed some COVID-19 restrictions. The Dukes will also be playing just their second game since March 6, with multiple contests postponed due to COVID-19 issues at JMU and within other CAA programs.

With a lack of game competition in recent weeks, Cignetti says the Dukes have been using time during practice to practice game-like situations.

“I have been throwing some surprise, one-minute, two-minute situations into practice where the coaches and the players don’t know what that situation is going to be,” said Cignetti. “Our guys really thrive on that competition and those pressure-type situations.”

JMU senior defensive lineman Mike Greene added: “It’s been a lot of fixing mistakes and going over plays that we have had against Elon or plays against Robert Morris that broke on us or different things like, just fixing up the minor things so we don’t get hit with that again.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled to kickoff at 2 p.m. with TV coverage on NBC Sports Washington+.

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