Despite solid start, still room for improvement with JMU offense

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The James Madison offense scored 44 points in the Dukes' recent win over Saint Francis but there is still room for the unit to improve.

Freshman running back Austin Douglas hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ben DiNucci in James Madison's win over Saint Francis Saturday evening.

The Dukes gained 533 yards of total offense against the Red Flash with 295 yards coming on the ground. Meanwhile, quarterback Ben DiNucci threw for 221 yards and two scores in the blowout win.

However, JMU is still working to be a consistent unit on offense, especially in the red zone.

"The big thing is still, scoring touchdowns in the red area," said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti.

Kicker Ethan Ratke booted through kicks of 17, 22, and 23 yards when JMU drives stalled in the red zone against Saint Francis.

"It's not a schematic issue," said Cignetti. "It's more about doing what you are supposed to do, regardless of the competitive circumstances of the game. Because the big thing is, regardless of what the score is, you're forming habits that are going to carry you through the season."

While improvement can still be made on offense, the Dukes have done a solid job of moving the ball. JMU is averaging just under six yards per play and is running the ball well with a 4.5 yards-per-carry average.

"We have run the ball fairly well," said Cignetti. "We are making some explosive plays. We we're a little slow getting started on third down Saturday night but that picked up once we got going."

JMU is preparing to host Morgan State for a 4 p.m. kickoff Saturday evening at Bridgeforth Stadium.