TOWSON, Md. (WHSV) -- Seventh-ranked James Madison rushed for a season-high 395 yards as a team and the defense shut down No. 15 Towson over the final three quarters to earn a 38-17 Colonial Athletic Association Football victory on Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Dukes conclude the regular season with an 8-3 record and finish second in the CAA standings with a 6-2 conference mark. The Tigers fall to 7-4 and 5-3 with the defeat.
JMU produced a trio of 100-yard rushers in the win, led by graduate Cardon Johnson, who notched a game-high 162 yards on 13 carries (12.5 avg.), which included a season-long 76-yard touchdown in the first.
Senior Trai Sharp ran for 107 yards and score with a long of 40. He averaged 7.1 yards on 15 carries.
Redshirt junior Ben DiNucci accounted for 285 yards of total offense in the win. He was 15-of-22 for 181 passing yards while also rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns, marking his first career 100-yard game. The three rushing scores were also a career best.
On the receiving end, redshirt sophomore Jake Brown led the team with six catches for 41 yards, and redshirt freshman Kyndel Dean had three grabs for 56.
Defensively, redshirt junior Dimitri Holloway led the way with a game-high 14 tackles, the second-highest tackle total for him this season. Junior Landan Word turned a career-high 11 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack.
JMU forced four sacks as a team, as junior John Daka registered a career-high two sacks and a forced fumble. Redshirt junior Ron'Dell Carter also had a sack to up his season total to 7.5, leading all JMU defenders during the regular season.
The Dukes also had a season-best seven pass breakups, led by redshirt senior Jimmy Moreland's two. He also recovered his second career fumble recovery late in the first half.
Towson's Tom Flacco was 31-of-50 for 372 yards and two touchdowns while leading the team with 52 rushing yards. Shane Leatherbury had a game-best 10 catches for 88 yards and a score and Jabari Allen led all receivers with 135 receiving yards.
FINAL GAME STATS
JMU out-gained Towson 576-515, marking the Dukes' second-highest yards gained in a game this season.
The Dukes dominated the run game, with a 395-143 advantage. JMU averaged 8.4 yards per rush while the Tigers were held to 4.2 per carry.
JMU's kicking and punting units shined Saturday, as Towson's starting field position was its own 18. The Dukes average starting field position was their own 25.
After allowing 10 points and 207 yards through Towson's first three drives, JMU's defense clamped down, forcing eight straight empty possessions, including a pair of three-and-outs, a fumble and two turnovers on downs.
THREE OVER 100 FOR JUST THE SECOND TIME EVER
JMU achieved a feat it had only done one other time in program history, as three players rushed for over 100 yards in the same game.
Cardon Johnson (162) turned in his ninth career 100-yard game. Trai Sharp (107) went over the century mark for the fifth time at JMU and Ben DiNucci (104) eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.
Ironically, back on Sept. 3, 2016, JMU's quarterback, as well as Sharp and Johnson were the first three to earn the mark. Bryan Schor ran for 129 yards in that game, while Sharp and Johnson added 110 and 104, respectively.
JMU awaits its playoff fate, as the NCAA FCS Selection Show airs Sunday, Nov. 18 at 12:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The NCAA committee will unveil the 24-team field, which gives the top-eight seeds a bye into the FCS Second Round.