HARRISONBURG, Va. – Morehead State University senior slot receiver Jake Raymond became the program’s career leader in receptions Saturday night in the Eagles’ season opener at James Madison as the Dukes used a high-powered rushing attack to defeat MSU 80-7 at Bridgeforth Stadium.
“Jake is a tremendous leader and team captain,” said Morehead State Coach Rob Tenyer. “He was into the game all night long tonight, and he is going to be someone we count on week in and week out. He is a special player. That was a pretty good football team we played, and they were just flat out bigger and faster than we were. We have to get in a much better rhythm offensively and compete at a higher level than we did tonight to win some games, and I think we’ll do that.”
Raymond needed just one catch to pass former wideout Donte Sawyer with 200 career catches and finished with six receptions tonight for a team-high 54 yards. He also moved into fifth place in Pioneer League history in catches.
James Madison rushed for 498 yards as a unit and scored 11 touchdowns via the ground game. The Dukes also returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown and led 52-7 at the half. Three backs, including quarterback Bryan Schor, rushed for more than 100 yards.
Freshman running back Trevor Jones scored the Eagles’ touchdown with 3:46 left before halftime as he romped in from one yard out, notching his first career TD. It capped the Eagles’ longest drive of the night at 12 plays and 83 yards.
Freshman linebacker Kordell Brown, from nearby Washington D.C., senior safety Dominic Iori, junior lineman Colt Briggs and sophomore safety Sayyid Kanu paced the defense with nine tackles apiece. Freshman back Sidney Wellons, whose brother Justin plays for JMU, collected his first career interception.
Senior quarterback Austin Gahafer moved into second all-time at MSU for passing attempts with 27 tonight and completed 15 connections for 125 yards, but was picked off twice. The Eagles committed five turnovers. Junior running back Lawrence Jones, who missed all of 2015, returned with a team-standard 48 yards on 11 carries.
Morehead State opens its six-game home slate next Saturday when VMI visits for a 6 p.m. rematch of a close 43-40 MSU loss last year in Virginia. It is Howard Murphy night, and a ceremony to honor his No. 33 jersey retirement will take place. Tickets are available at MSUEagles.com/Tix.