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JMU preparing to play Sam Houston in FCS Semifinals

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 8:30 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football team is preparing to play Sam Houston in the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs.

No. 3 seed JMU punched its ticket to the semifinals with a 34-21 win over North Dakota in the quarterfinals this past Sunday. No. 2 seed Sam Houston defeated perennial power North Dakota State, 24-20, to advance to semifinals. The teams will meet Saturday (May 8) at Sam Houston for a spot in the FCS National Championship.

“It’s really hard when you gotta go on the road in a short week and we are in finals week right now,” said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti. “But...it takes great preparation and we gotta do a good job of balancing practice, keeping the guys fresh with getting the reps that we need to get done to go down there and play our best game.”

Sam Houston and JMU met in the 2016 FCS Playoffs. The Bearkats traveled to Harrisonburg for a quarterfinal matchup that ended in a 65-7 win for the Dukes en route to James Madison winning the national championship. However, Cignetti is doing his best to downplay the result from a few years ago.

“This is not anything like the football team that came in here in 2016,” said Cignetti. “I think everybody needs to understand that. They have re-tooled that program.”

James Madison will be playing its first true road game in the FCS Playoffs since the 2018 season when the Dukes visit Sam Houston on Saturday.

“This week is probably going to be more focused on mentally being prepared than actually physically being prepared,” said JMU senior running back Percy Agyei-Obese.

Saturday’s FCS Semifinal matchup between JMU and Sam Houston is scheduled to kickoff at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on WHSV (ABC).

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