HARRISONBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Behind a five-touchdown performance by redshirt junior quarterback Ben DiNucci, ninth-ranked James Madison outlasted Rhode Island for a 48-31 Colonial Athletic Association Football victory on Saturday afternoon at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.
The Dukes improve to 7-3 on the year and 5-2 in CAA play while the Rams fell to 5-5 and 3-4. It also marked JMU’s ninth straight win over URI in the series.
JMU scored three straight touchdowns to bridge the first and second quarters and added two late field goals in the first half to grab a 27-14 lead at the break.
URI and JMU traded scores all through the second half and the Rams never drew closer than 10 down the stretch.
DiNucci was 18-of-25 for 227 passing yards and a career-high four touchdowns, to go with a pair of interceptions. He also rushed for 44 yards and a score, marking his second career game with five total touchdowns.
The Dukes rushed for 192 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per rush. Seniors Cardon Johnson and Trai Sharp led the way with 73 and 62 rushing yards, respectively. Johnson added a third-quarter touchdown to move into 10th place all-time in career rushing touchdowns.
Three Dukes had at least four receptions, led by redshirt freshman Kyndel Dean, who had a JMU-best five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt junior Riley Stapleton tallied four receptions for 35 yards and two touchdowns, while redshirt sophomore Jake Brown made four grabs for 55 yards.
Defensively, JMU was led by junior linebacker Landan Word, who made a game-high 10 tackles, matching his career best. Redshirt junior Ron’Dell Carter and redshirt senior Darrious Carter each made 1.5 sacks, and junior John Daka added a sack of his own in the win.
Redshirt senior corner Jimmy Moreland picked off his fifth pass of the season to tie himself atop the CAA leaders in the interceptions department.
URI was led by JaJuan Lawson, who passed for 255 yards and three touchdowns, with Marven Beauvais reeling in all three passing scores.
JMU closes the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 17 at No. 20 Towson. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium and it will be streamed live through CBS Digital and College Sports Live.