INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After completing the regular-season gauntlet with an unblemished record, James Madison earned the top seed for the 2017 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, as the selection committee revealed the 24-team field during the live selection show on Sunday morning on ESPNU.
JMU will face the winner of an opening-round matchup between Stony Brook (9-2) and Lehigh (5-6) in the second round on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. at Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field.
The Dukes wrapped up the regular season with their third straight Colonial Athletic Association title, which includes back-to-back outright championships, after going 11-0 overall, to go with a perfect 8-0 mark in league play. It was the first time in CAA history a team went 8-0 in back-to-back seasons and the Dukes became the first time since Boston University (1982-84) to win three consecutive conference crowns.
Additionally, JMU is the first CAA team to go 8-0 three times, as New Hampshire has accomplished the feat twice. JMU is also the first team since UMass (1977-78) to go unbeaten in back-to-back conference seasons. The Dukes have won a NCAA Division I-best 23 straight games, including a CAA record 18 straight conference triumphs.
JMU is making its fourth straight playoff appearance, which is a program first. It will be the second No. 1 seed in program history, joining the 2008 squad that reached the semifinals.
The Dukes rank in the top 10 nationally in 16 statistical categories, which includes leading the FCS in three areas. The Dukes pace the country in scoring defense (9.0), total defense (228.2) and pass efficiency defense (79.8).
They are also second in passing defense (145.6), completion percentage (68.3%), interceptions (19) and sacks (3.91), third in takeaways (27), fourth in first-down defense (155), fifth in red-zone defense (62.5%), sixth in defensive touchdowns (4), seventh in rushing defense (82.5), ninth in turnover margin (+1.0) and 10th in third-down defense (29.9), blocked punts (2) and punt-return defense (3.9).
JMU was one of four CAA schools to make the field of 24, as it was joined by Stony Brook (9-2, 7-1 CAA), Elon (8-3, 6-2 CAA) and New Hampshire (7-4, 5-3 CAA). JMU is coming off a 31-3 victory just yesterday in the regular-season finale on the road, beat UNH 21-0 on Oct. 28 and has not played Stony Brook since 2015.