It didn’t take long for the Niners to get on the board as James Madison fumbled the opening kickoff, giving Charlotte a drive start at the 31. Two plays later, Matt Johnson would scamper into the end zone to put the Niners up 7-0.
But JMU stormed back with a 12 play, 72 yard drive to tie it up, followed by a goal-line stand to keep the Niners out of the end zone. They would carry on the momentum there, putting together a 99-yard drive (led by Dae’quan Scott’s running) to take the 14-7 lead. Charlotte would later respond with a goal line stand of their own, but a couple of drives later, following a strong job by the defense to stop the Dukes on 4th down at the Charlotte 26, Martay Mattox would fumble it on a Wildcat formation to give it right back to JMU, and they immediately responded with a touchdown to go up 20-7. On JMU’s next drive, Terrence Winchester would intercept JMU QB Michael Birdsong, but Johnson would give it right back on the ensuing drive. The Niners would get it back just before the half–but would fail to score.
Charlotte had few answers for Scott, as he racked up 22 carries for 134 yards and two scores. Birdsong was 13-17 for 143 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, for Charlotte, Johnson threw for 67 yards on 8-14 passing; he added 11 carries for 47 yards and a TD on the ground. One note: JMU’s Jordan Stanton was ejected for targeting a defenseless player; he’s done for the night.
In any event, the Niners are still in it, and having deferred the opening kickoff, they’ll get the ball to start the 3rd quarter.