Dukes face tough road to national title

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The James Madison football team is the No. 2 overall seed in the FCS Playoffs but the Dukes face a tough road to the national title game in Frisco, Texas.

James Madison Football - 2019

By earning the second seed in the bracket, JMU has a first-round bye and will play at home through the semifinals. Holy Cross and Monmouth will meet in the first round (Saturday, Nov. 30) with the winner advancing to play the Dukes at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 7.

"The goal has to be to get to Frisco," said JMU redshirt senior defensive lineman Ron'Dell Carter. "Not looking forward. Not looking past anyone. Just focusing on what we gotta focus on now....this week, we have to focus on us right now because we don't know who we are playing."

JMU will be a significant favorite over either Holy Cross or Monmouth and the if Dukes win their second-round playoff game, they could face a number of tough foes later in the playoffs. No. 3 Weber State, No. 6 Montana, and No. 7 South Dakota State are the seeded teams on JMU's side of the bracket. Meanwhile, unseeded teams Villanova, Northern Iowa, and Wofford could also present a challenge down the line.

"I mean, they are all good teams," said JMU head coach Curt Cignetti. "If you are going to get what you want, you gotta beat good teams. Now, we have played a lot of good teams but we have to play good ball. It really doesn't matter who you play, it's how you play."

JMU enters the playoffs on an 11-game winning streak. The Dukes are 11-1 overall and went 8-0 in conference play to lock up the 2019 CAA title.