Toyota Press Pass: James Madison expresses confidence in McCloud

James Madison expresses confidence in McCloud
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 9:11 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - When James Madison and Virginia square off at Scott Stadium on Saturday, all eyes will be on the two quarterbacks for both teams.

On the JMU side, head coach Curt Cignetti is starting Jordan McCloud on the road after he turned in a strong second half Week 1 against Bucknell.

Against the Bison, McCloud came on in relief for Alonza Barnett III and gave the JMU offense a spark. McCloud went 7 of 11 passing for 144 yards and two touchdowns after Barnett went just 3 of 11 passing for only 15 yards in the first half.

Saturday’s game in Charlottesville will mark McCloud’s first at JMU. The redshirt senior transferred to Harrisonburg in the offseason after spending two seasons at Arizona and three at South Florida.

JMU wide receiver Phoenix Sproles has full confidence in McCloud. Sproles might be the one player on the roster who knows the JMU quarterback better than anyone. Sproles and McCloud are roommates. The wide receiver describes McCloud as a cool guy and someone you want to be around.

Sproles was very complimentary when describing McCloud’s 57-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown in the second half against Bucknell.

“As a quarterback, you can see the growth in his decision making,” said Sproles. “His post ball to Reggie, he didn’t hesitate at all. It was just natural to him to make that throw and trust Reggie in that time. I think that growth has always been there but obviously he didn’t play a lot because of injury at Arizona and things like that. I think just him getting back to his groove. He’s been a starting quarterback at other universities. How good can Jordan be is on Jordan. I think he’s going to be good for us.”

Cignetti voiced his confidence in McCloud at his Tuesday night’s press conference.

“He’s played a lot of football and has quarterback instincts,” said Cignetti. “He’s started 19 or 20 games in his career. He’s got a good head on his shoulders out there on the playing field.”

Muskett game-time decision

Virginia’s quarterback situation for Saturday’s matchup isn’t as straight forward. Starter Tony Muskett injured his shoulder during the fourth quarter of the season opener against Tennessee.

Virginia head coach Tony Elliott says Muskett has made progress in his recover.

“[Tony’s] getting more range of motion in his shoulder,” said Elliott. “He wants to play. He’s pushing to play. Each day is encouraging but right now he’s day-to-day with a shoulder. His confidence level is high. It’s always high.”

If Muskett can’t play on Saturday, Anthony Colandrea would start for Virginia.

Colandrea went 2 of 7 for 12 yards in the fourth quarter against Tennessee.