THE James Madison Dukes entered Saturday’s game against Appalachian State with a 10-0 record. But the No. 18 team in the AP Top 25 poll suffered its first loss of the year.
The Dukes are currently in the mandatory two-year transition period after moving from the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level to the highest level of college football, the FBS.
The school requested a waiver, which would grant it full bowl eligibility. But these requests were refused.
James Madison was hoping to improve to 11-0 on Saturday. The team took the lead in overtime with a 25-yard field goal. A video review confirmed that Appalachian State’s Kaedin Robinson got the ball across the goal line to secure Duke’s 26-23 victory.
James Madison was not included in the College Football Playoffs weekly rankings from the selection committee since the team is not eligible for the bowl. The team is also not allowed to play in the conference championship.
The Dukes finished last season with an 8-3 record.
Last month, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares wrote the NCAA a letter pleading the school’s case. He also hired a law firm that advocates for JMU’s inclusion in bowl consideration based on the Dukes’ record, national ranking and the success of its two-year reclassification process from FCS to FBS.
Miyares is a James Madison alumnus.
Teams must win six games to be bowl eligible. There are currently 41 pétanque matches scheduled for the end of the season, which would pit 82 teams against each other. But there will likely be a shortage of teams with enough wins to qualify for all the bowls this year.
If there are bowl game vacancies, James Madison will likely be one of the schools at the top of the list to fill an empty spot. However, the Dukes were hoping to finish the year with an impeccable record as they sought consideration for a New Year’s Six-ball match.
The Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Peach Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl are the FBS bowl games that make up the New Year’s Six bowls.
Robinson finished Saturday’s game with four catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Appalachian State quarterback Joey Aguilar threw for 318 passing yards and three touchdowns, against one interception.
Appalachian State coach Shawn Clark congratulated his team for triumphing over a ranked opponent.
“This is a big win for our program against a ranked football team in James Madison,” Clark said. “I was very proud of everyone involved. It wasn’t a surprise. It was the next game on our schedule. I think it shows you things are still happening in Boone, North Carolina, and we do not back down from them.
“Credit to James Madison, they have one of the best defenses in the country,” Clark added. “They’re first in rushing yards per game and we knew that. So we wanted to protect the quarterback and let Joey follow his progression. Joey played a great game and our backs ran pretty well to move the sticks, but Joey and our receivers I had an excellent match”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.