College Football

Hamilton leads top-ranked James Madison past VMI 31-24

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) Jawon Hamilton rushed for a career-high 171 yards and scored an FCS playoff-record 99-yard touchdown as top-ranked James Madison defeated post-season newcomer VMI 31-24 in the first round on Saturday.

Cole Johnson passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns, James Madison added 305 yards and two more touchdowns rushing to compile 509 yards of total offense.

James Madison (6-0), making a school-record seventh straight appearance in the playoffs, will face the winner of the Missouri State-North Dakota game in the quarterfinals.

Hamilton and Percy Agyei-Obese each topped 100 yards rushing as the punishing JMU ground game controlled the ball for nearly 36 minutes.

Hamilton gained his 171 yards on 19 carries and opened the scoring with the record 99-yard run. Agyei-Obese gained 110 yards on 25 carries and had a touchdown from the 2-yard line. Hamilton's 99-yarder was also a James Madison program record for both longest run and longest play.

The eleventh-ranked Keydets (6-2), making their first appearance in the FCS playoffs, scored with nine seconds left to pull within seven points, but JMU recovered the onside kick to seal the win.

The Keydets Seth Morgan was 30-of-50 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted three times. Morgan threw touchdown passes to Jakob Herres and Max Brimigion and also ran for a score.

Morgan, a redshirt freshman, replaced Reece Udinski after he suffered a season-ending knee injury midseason.

VMI rolled up 403 yards of offense against the top defense in the FCS.

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Updated April 24, 2021

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