HARRISONBURG, VA., OCT. 20 -- It was with a great deal of graciousness that Youngstown State ended James Madison's recent joyride today, whipping the Dukes, 31-15, before a crowd of 12,312 at Bridgeforth Stadium.
The Dukes (4-3) had won their last four -- against rivals with a collective 3-22 record -- but had their streak broken by five turnovers against the unbeaten Pengiuns, ranked No. 6 in Division I-AA.
"We understood that," said JMU offensive lineman D.R. Carlson, a senior from Fairfax. "We knew that we had to come out and play errorless football."
Youngstown State (8-0) was outgained in total offense, 343-311, but its five scoring drives covered an average of just over 49 yards thanks to four Madison fumbles and an interception.
The Penguins, who average a little over 30 points a game, constructed a 17-7 lead at the half, due in part to Ray Isaac's scoring passes of 49 and 28 yards.
The second score came immediately after Pete Rekstis recovered one of several errant pitches by JMU quarterback Eric Williams near midfield.
"I thought we cut the field down for the benefit of Youngstown," JMU Coach Joe Purzycki said. "And Youngstown did what they've done all year -- capitalize on big plays."
Isaac, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 173 yards, gave the Penguins a 24-7 lead with 10:53 left in the third quarter when he sprinted through a scattered defense for a 49-yard touchdown run.
JMU's Mike Campbell then lost the first of his two second-half fumbles on the following possession, leading to Isaac's third touchdown pass of the game -- this one a four-yarder to Troy Carter for a 31-7 advantage.
"Their ends were crashing down real quick," said Campbell, a senior from Chantilly High School. "It was hard for our quarterback to get a read."
Tom Green (Suitland, Md.) replaced Williams after one series of the second half, and he directed the Dukes on a 58-yard march, capped by Campbell's two-yard run that cut the deficit to 31-13 with 12:37 remaining.