W&M winning formula faces test at No. 5 JMU

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W&M winning formula faces test at No. 5 JMU

The Tribe take their two-game winning streak and new found offense on the road against the fifth-ranked Dukes tomorrow at 3:30 on CSN!

Piling up points and yards in recent weeks has turned William - Mary form a winless football squad to one victorious in two straight games. Expect James Madison's stingy defense to put the Tribe's new found formula to the test.

William - Mary (2-4, 1-2 CAA) looks to extend its winning streak to three games on the road Saturday (3:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet) against the fifth-ranked Dukes (4-1, 2-0), also winners of two straight overall and undefeated in four FCS contests.

Over the last two games against Georgia State and at Penn, the Tribe averaged 34.5 points and 396.5 yards. Each victory came with a different quarterback leading the attack.

Brent Caprio, injured last month against Maryland, returned to the starting role against the Quakers with aplomb, completing 18-of-28 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns in the 34-28 win. Sophomore Raphael Ortiz rushed for two touchdowns against Georgia State, but returned to the bench last week.

Regardless of which passer takes snaps at JMU's Bridgeforth Stadium, the Dukes CAA-leading scoring defense will be waiting. James Madison is allowing only 13.8 points, a total made even more impressive considering the Dukes surrendered 42 to West Virginia in their only non-FCS game. JMU is particularly forceful against the run, allowing only 102.2 rushing yards per game, also tops in the conference.

Linebacker Stephon Robertson earned national accolades after posting a career-high 15 tackles in last week's win over Towson. Redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Alex Mosley earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors after posting a career-high seven tackles and a generating a force fumble against the Tigers. His second career start came in JMU coach Mickey Matthews' 100th career victory.

Picking up nine turnovers courtesy of the defense and special teams during the two-game streak certainly helped W-M's cause. Senior outside linebacker Jabrel Mines tallied nine tackles including 1.5 for loss while forcing and recovering a fumble against Penn.

Stopping the Dukes passing attack, directed by junior quarterback Justin Thorpe, is the primary focus for Mines and company this week. Thorpe, who sports a 15-4 record against FCS opponents, has completed passes to 13 different receivers this season with senior tight end Brian Barlow (15 receptions, 225 yards) serving as his primary target.

James Madison leads the overall series 19-15, a record which includes three straight home wins two consecutive overall, both by six points.

 

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

Juco transfer named Hokies' starting quarterback for opener

In his first game with the Virginia Tech Hokies, Jerod Evans will be leading the team as the starting quarterback, head coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday. The quarterback competition started as a two-man race between Evans and fifth-year senior Brenden Motley before a late surge by true freshman Josh Jackson turned it into a three-way battle. In the end, however, the decision was no surprise.

Evans, a junior transfer, began his college career at Air Force in 2013. He transferred to Trinity Valley Community College where he developed into a dynamic talent. In 2015, Evans threw for 395.5 yards per game and 38 touchdowns in just eight games before a wrist injury ended his season.

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Rated as the No. 1 dual-threat JUCO quarterback in the country, Evans was recruited by Fuente while he was still at Memphis and chose to follow the head coach to Blacksburg.

New coaches are rarely afforded the opportunity of starting their own recruit in their first season at a new school. Given that and the high potential of Evans as a playmaker, it was ultimately no surprise to hear Fuente peg him as the starter.

The announcement came with one caveat, however. Evans was named the starter specifically for the opener against Liberty, but not beyond that. Granted, Evans would have to play pretty poorly to force Fuente into switching starters the week before the Battle at Bristol against Tennessee, but an opener against an FCS team should allow for Fuente to play multiple quarterbacks. If Motley outplays Evans, perhaps it could reignite the quarterback battle.

Even so, Thursday's announcement shows the starting job is now Evans to lose.

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Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia names ECU transfer their starting quarterback

When Virginia opens the season on Sept. 3 against Richmond, they will have a new quarterback starting under center. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall named junior transfer Kurt Benkert the starting quarterback on Wednesday morning over seniors Matt Johns and Connor Brewer, according to multiple reports.

Benkert was expected to start for ECU just last season, but a knee injury in preseason forced him to miss the entire year. He is considered the most mobile of the three, which given Mendenhall's history with dual-threat quarterbacks, likely was a major factor in the head coach's decision.

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As a junior, Benkert was the only candidate with two years of eligibility remaining, a prospect hat reportedly "intrigued" Mendenhall. If Benkert is able to hold on to the position and start next season as well, it would represent a measure of stability Virginia has not known for quite some time.

What likely helped Benkert was the fact that his head coach at ECU, Ruffin McNeill, is now an assistant as UVa. By coming into a school with an offensive system Benkert was familiar with, it eliminated the learning curve most transfers go through with their new teams.

Benkert will replace Johns who was the team's starter last season and co-starter the season before. The fact that the competition was a three-man race at this point in the summer despite Johns' experience was a clear indication that his ability to win back the starting job was in clear jeopardy.

In addition, Mendenhall also announced Johns and Brewer were still competing for the backup role.

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Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

A big-time game deserves a big-time uniform.

Virginia Tech delivered on that claim aturday as they revealed their look for the upcoming Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee.

The Sept. 20 non-conference game between the border rivals will be played in the infield of Bristol International Speedway in is what expected to be the largest crowd in college football history.

The official reveal was made via a video posted on YouTube:

Other views of the uniforms were also posted on Twitter:

The famous Hokie Stone was the inspiration for the look. The Hokies Stone is a type of rock found in Western Virginia almost exclusively in a nearby quarry owned by the school. It has become an iconic symbol of the school as several building on campus were built from the stone. Players will tap a Hokie Stone that hangs over the tunnel as they enter Lane Stadium during the football season.

The uniform's primary color scheme of black and grey pays homage to the team's history as those were the official colors of Virginia Tech before the school adopted the classic burnt orange and Chicago maroon we recognize today. The color grey was also chosen because it is a prominent color of the Corps of Cadets, according to a statement on the school's athletics website.

And boy do they look sharp. What do you think? Be sure to let us know!

The Battle at Bristol against Tennessee will take place on Sept. 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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