Toyota Press Pass: James Madison hoping defensive line dominance continues against South Alabama

James Madison hopes its stellar run defense continues against South Alabama
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 12:53 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - The James Madison football team returns to Bridgeforth Stadium for the first time in nearly a month when they host South Alabama on Saturday.

South Alabama enters Saturday’s matchup at 2-2. While the Jaguars defeated Oklahoma State soundly in Week 3, South Alabama followed up the Power 5 win with a home loss to Central Michigan 34-30.

The strength of the Jaguars offense is their running game, led by First-Team All-Sun Belt Selection La’Damian Webb in the backfield. South Alabama is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

However, the James Madison run defense has been stout, only allowing 1.4 yards per carry and just 41.5 rushing yards per contest. On Tuesday, JMU head coach Curt Cignetti called the defensive line, “the strength of the team.”

“It’s a group we’ve been able to count on week in and week out to have a dominant game,” said Cignetti. “We’ll need another big game this week.”

Cignetti mentioned the experience of South Alabama’s offensive line, noting that several starters come from the SEC. The JMU head coach also mentioned the experience of quarterback Carter Bradley and the wide receivers, specifically Caulin Lacy, who all have tremendous speed.

“They got nice offensive design,” said Cignetti. “There’s a reason why a lot of people picked them first in the [Sun Belt] West.”

South Alabama head coach Kane Wommack acknowledged JMU’s dominant defensive line but says the Jaguars won’t shy away from the run game for that reason.

“Teams have been able to get runs on them. We have to be smart about how we do it,” says Wommack.