JMU offense hoping to create "explosive plays"

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- The James Madison football team will feature a new-look offense in 2019 with the Dukes hoping to rely on a strong rushing attack and create explosive plays.

The James Madison offense is hoping to feature a strong rushing attack in 2019.

When he was introduced as head coach last December, Curt Cignetti said he wants JMU to lead the Colonial Athletic Association in rushing. While the rushing attack will likely be the focus of the Dukes' offense, JMU is also working to create big plays on the ground and through the air.

"It's going to start in the running game," said offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery. "We are going to have run the ball so we don't become one dimensional and I think we'll be able to create some explosive plays."

To run the ball effectively, the Dukes will rely on an offensive line unit that returns starters at multiple positions. Junior running backs Percy Agyei-Obese and Jawon Hamilton are in line to earn the majority of carries.

"We are going to be very explosive," said Hamilton. "I think this year there's going to be a lot more longer runs than we had last year."

JMU also has a dual-threat at the quarterback position. Redshirt senior Ben DiNucci, who has been working with the first-string offense in preseason camp, has the ability to affect games with his legs. DiNucci led JMU with nine rushing touchdowns last season. Reshirt junior Cole Johnson and redshirt sophomore Gage Moloney add depth to the quarterback position after both saw game action last season.

DiNucci, or whoever is at QB, has a talented group of pass catchers to work with when the Dukes decide to throw the ball. Wide receivers Kyndel Dean, Riley Stapleton, and Jake Brown are all coming off strong 2018 seasons while the tight end position is led by Dylan Stapleton (Riley's brother), Clayton Cheatham, Nick Carlton, and Drew Painter.

Fans will have a chance to see JMU's offense in action when the Dukes open the 2019 season Saturday, August 31 at West Virginia.