‘I shouldn’t have done that.’ Cignetti talks cell phone incident

Curt Cignetti discusses how he had a cell phone on the sideline during the James Madison football game against Utah State
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:31 PM EDT
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(WHSV) - Curt Cignetti took the internet and social media by storm Saturday night in an unexpected way.

During the second quarter of James Madison’s football game against Utah State, the Aggies executed a fake field goal for a touchdown. Cignetti believed Utah State kicker Elliott Nimrod stepped out of bounds on his way to the endzone.

Officials reviewed the play and upheld the call, which Cignetti disagreed with. A staff member near the JMU sideline had the play on his phone, which Cignetti used to show the officials.

“In the heat of the moment, somebody comes up sticks a cell phone in my hand and says, ‘Here. it shows it,’” says Cignetti, recapping the moment during the Sun Belt Conference Coach’s Media Call. “You’re not allowed to have that kind of technology on the sideline or use it. It shouldn’t have happened. I was so immersed in the situation that I grabbed the phone. I shoudn’t have done that.”

NCAA rules prohibit the use of phones during the game. The Sun Belt Conference issued public reprimands to JMU from the incident.

“The guy that gave me the phone feels awful about it,” said Cignetti. “It certainly has gotten a lot of attention.”

Kidwell out for season

JMU right tackle Nick Kidwell will miss the rest of the season, Cignetti confirmed on Monday.

Kidwell got injured the first play of the game against Utah State and had to get carted off the field.

“He will be eligible for a medical hardship,” said Cignetti. “That’s the one silver-lining in all of this.”

The Dukes moved Tyler Stephens from left guard to right tackle for the rest of the game.

Kidwell was a Preseason First-Team All Sun Belt Selection.

Battle tested

Cignetti reiterated how impressive the Dukes run of late has been winning three consecutive road games.

“Really proud of our team,” said Cignetti. “Play a Power 5 team, play the conference champ from last year down there, and then you go 2,000 miles to Logan, Utah. To come away with three wins says a lot about the character, the kind of people we have in the program, our competitive excellence. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

The Dukes enjoy their 4-0 start for too long as South Alabama, one of the favorites in the Sun Belt West, comes to Bridgeforth Stadium this weekend.

“Now it’s all eyes on South Alabama who’s an extremely talented football team,” said Cignetti.

You can watch Cignetti’s entire Monday news conference in the video below.

McCloud honored

James Madison quarterback Jordan McCloud named to the to the Davey O’Brien Great 8 in addition to being added to the Davey O’Brien Watch List.

McCloud was 23-of-34 passing for 364 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 26 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The quarterback was also named to the Manning Award Stars of the Week.