Final

James Madison 45, Utah State 38

The Aggies started as poorly as possible, before rallying to nearly eek out the win on the back of freshman quarterback McCae Hillstead. The rally came up short in the end, however, and the Aggies fall to 1-3 on the year.

4th Quarter

James Madison 45, Utah State 38

0:34 – After the Aggies force a punt by JMU, Hillstead throws another interception while desperately attempted to finish off the USU rally.

2:23 — Hillstead throws an INT at the JMU seven yard line.

3:38 — Utah State looked dead in the water, but the Aggies force a fourth turnover, another fumble, to regain possession. Forced by Ike Larsen, recovered by Antony Switzer.

5:52 — James Madison scores for the first time in the second half, on a 74-yard touchdown pass from McCloud to Brown, most of which was after the catch. The drive used only 1:45 of game time, but gives the Dukes a cushion that Aggies had erased.

8:48 — The Dukes were driving, before USU forced its third turnover of the day. Recovered by defensive end Blaine Spires, forced by defensive tackle Sir Mells, the Aggies now have the ball just inside their own territory.

11:01 — The Aggies have tied things up, thanks to another bomb by Hillstead. This time, Hillstead found Micah Davis for a 76-yard touchdown (a new career high for both players), capping off a 3-play, 90-yard drive. USU has now out-gained the Dukes in total offense.

3rd Quarter

James Madison 38, Utah State 31

4:23 — The Aggies strike again, with another Hillstead to Vaughn touchdown connection. That is three touchdown passes for Hillstead now, and two touchdown receptions by Vaughn. Down only a touchdown, USU is as close as it has been since eight minutes remaining in the first quarter.

6:28 — USU defensive back Anthony Switzer intercepts McCloud inside James Madison territory, a top-tapping grab on the far sideline. It was Switzer’s second career interception.

9:39 — In a truly wild sequence, Hillstead was intercepted by JMU defensive back Jarius Reimonenq, who subsequently fumbled the ball — it was ripped out by Aggies offensive lineman Cole Motes. USU got into field goal range, but Nimrod missed the 37-yard try that would have brought Utah State within 11 points.

10:36 — The Aggies strike first in the second half, behind some deft passing by Hillstead. The freshman quarterback made multiple throws into tight windows, completing back-to-back at the end of an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive. His 20-yard pass to wide receiver Terrell Vaughn in the end zone pulls USU with two touchdowns of JMU.

2nd Quarter

James Madison 38, Utah State 17

0:07 — The Aggies claw a little closer with a 28-yard field goal Elliott Nimrod just before the end of the half.

1:32 — The Dukes add another touchdown, another QB run by McCloud from a yard out. JMU has accounted for 362 yards of offense through the first half and has matched its season-high scoring output for the season in a single half.

6:27 — McCae Hillstead throws his first touchdown pass of the game, a 63-yard bomb to wide receiver Colby Bowman. A transfer from Stanford, Bowman made the first touchdown reception of his career. Utah State is hanging around, just barely, but needs to string consecutive scoring drives together to get back in the game.

7:37 — After USU’s defense forced what appeared to be a three-and-out, and offsides penalty by Aggie safety Ike Larsen gifted the Dukes a first down and JMU made it count with a 9-play, 85-yard scoring drive, capped off by 57 yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Reggie Brown.

10:30 — The Aggies fake a field goal attempt and score, via an 18-yard touchdown run by placekicker Elliot Nimrod. JMU challenged the play, but the call stood.

11:31 — Safety Devin Dye comes through in a big way for the Aggies, with multiple game-changing plays on defense, including two tackles (one a tackle for loss) and an interception.

14:51 — The Dukes add to their lead with another touchdown, McCloud’s second touchdown pass of the day. McCloud completed a 3-yard pass to a wide open Phoenix Sproles in the back of the end zone.

1st Quarter

James Madison 17, Utah State 0

4:44 — The Dukes are rolling early, with their third score in the first quarter. This one came courtesy of McCloud, on a one-yard keeper (McCloud ran the RPO to perfection and walked into the end zone untouched).

8:07 — After forcing a quick three-and-out by the Aggies, the Dukes score again, with a 20-yard field goal by Camden Wise. USU did well to limit JMU to a field goal, after the Dukes carved up the Aggies’ defense again early in the drive.

14:03 — The Dukes strike first with a picture perfect pass from quarterback Jordan McCloud to wide receiver Omarion Dollison for a 54-yard score. JMU drove 75 yards in three plays in under a minute (0:57).

Pregame prep

Here are a few stories to get ready for Utah State’s game against James Madison:

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