'College GameDay' returning to James Madison

By CRAIG HALEY

STATS FCS Senior Editor

(STATS) - Touchdown, JMU!

Reigning FCS national champion James Madison scored big during its open weekend when ESPN announced on Sunday its iconic "College GameDay" preview show will return to the Harrisonburg, Virginia, campus next Saturday for the Dukes' CAA Football game against Villanova.

The visit will mark the eighth time GameDay is spotlighting an FCS game, with James Madison also the most recent destination on Oct. 24, 2015, when the Dukes hosted Richmond. JMU estimated 12,000 people viewed the show from the school's Quad, and the broadcast drew a 1.4 TV rating (over 1.71 million).

"It was one of the most enthusiastic and largest crowds we have seen over the years. In my opinion, it was one of the greatest shows we ever put on," said GameDay analyst Lee Corso, who dressed up as James Madison, only to get his prediction of a Dukes' victory wrong as Richmond won 59-49 at Bridgeforth Stadium.

Saturday's show will air from 9 a.m. to noon ET.

While JMU will be the epicenter of the FCS next weekend, the game between the No. 1 Dukes (5-0) and No. 12 Villanova (4-2) is just one of a number of key conference matchups.

The last two teams the Dukes defeated in winning their second national title will be squaring off in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in Week 7 of the FCS season. Youngstown State, which lost in the national championship game, will host No. 2 North Dakota State, the five-time FCS champion (2011-15) which fell in the semifinals.

Two of the Big Sky's three teams in conference have big home games as Eastern Washington hosts Montana State and Weber State hosts Southern Utah. Also, Montana will host North Dakota.

Other key games include Kennesaw State at Liberty in the Big South, New Hampshire at Stony Brook in the CAA, Penn at Columbia in the Ivy League, Northern Iowa at South Dakota State in the MVFC, Duquesne at Robert Morris in the Northeast Conference, Campbell at Dayton in the Pioneer Football League, Wofford at The Citadel in the Southern Conference, Stephen F. Austin at Central Arkansas in the Southland and Prairie View A&M at Alcorn State in the SWAC.

Jacksonville State will seek to set a record with a 27th consecutive Ohio Valley Conference win when it hosts Eastern Kentucky.

Updated October 8, 2017

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