FCS Playoff Review: James Madison 66, Monmouth 21

NCAA Football
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The Score – No. 2 seed James Madison (12-1) beat Monmouth (11-3) 66-21 in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Story Line – James Madison overcame a pair of early 93-yard touchdowns by Monmouth behind quarterback Ben DiNucci (339 yards of total offense, four total touchdowns) and an unstoppable offense.

Game Ball – DiNucci, the FCS leader in completion percentage, completed 21 of 25 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns, adding 66 yards and two more TDs on the ground. He played only three quarters.

Key Stats – The Dukes outgained Monmouth 623-266. To emphasize the CAA champ’s dominance, they were a combined 11 of 15 on third- and fourth-down conversions, picked up 34 first downs and didn’t attempt a punt, scoring on all drives except the ones that ended each half.

The Takeaway – Monmouth, the Big South champ, was overwhelmed despite its scoring strikes in the first three minutes – Pete Guerriero on a TD run and Lonnie Moore IV on a kick return. James Madison’s superior size on both sides of the ball took over as it scored the final 45 points and 59 of the final 66. The Hawks didn’t do Guerriero any favors in the blowout. During the third quarter, the FCS rushing leader was up to 1,999 rushing yards for the season, but he got only one carry over the Hawks’ final three possessions and was dropped for a 4-yard loss, stranding him at 1,995 yards.

Up Next – James Madison will host either Northern Iowa (10-4) in the quarterfinals next weekend. The two programs have never met before.

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