James Madison Football: 3 Most Intriguing Games on 2024 Schedule

Sept 9, 2023; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; James Madison Dukes mascot Duke Dog cheers on his team against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first second at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Hannah Pajewski-USA TODAY Sports
Sept 9, 2023; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; James Madison Dukes mascot Duke Dog cheers on his team against the Virginia Cavaliers during the first second at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Hannah Pajewski-USA TODAY Sports / Hannah Pajewski-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Chesney was hired this offseason to help James Madison maintain the proud football tradition shown under previous head coaches like Curt Cignetti and Mike Houston. He'll do so with over 90% of last year's production playing in the pros or at another school. Needless to say, it's yet another highly anticipated season with the Dukes now being full FBS members. The program exited the FCS two years ago.

On the one hand, all those outgoing transfers are a massive loss. On the other hand, Chesney has a proven track record as a coach at multiple levels of the game and manage to secure commitments from high-level transfers like former Washington starting quarterback Dylan Morris.

When looking at the Dukes' schedule, these three matchups in particular stand out for Chesney's first season at the helm.


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Charlotte - August 31 (Away)

Two teams with tons of new faces get to show where they are, right out of the gate. Opening up on the road is always a challenge. Expectations for Charlotte aren't exceptionally high, but the talent from their transfer portal haul is hard to ignore. The 49ers are hoping to recover from back-to-back 3-9 seasons.

Impressions from the first game of the season can be deceiving, but it's a litmus test for the new era.

Appalachian State - November 23 (Away)

Going back to the 1980s and 1990s, matchups between the two programs with storied FCS histories usually deliver. Last season's matchup was a 26-23 win for Appalachian State in overtime. Considering this was JMU's only regular season loss last season, the few remnants of that team are going to want revenge.

App State finished 9-5 and won the Cure Bowl last season.

RELATED: App State Football: Top Transfer Portal Signings For 2024

Marshall - November 30 (Home)

There are quite a few reasons this season finale should get your attention. Marshall has had trouble playing well late in the season these last two years. Not to say that JMU will have the same type of issues, but if they can't put the pedal to the metal right away in 2024, then late season matchups become even more important.

Marshall lost seven of their last nine games in 2023.


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Joe Londergan

JOE LONDERGAN

Joe covers college sports from the Group of Five ranks and beyond. He has worked in the sports industry since 2008, earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Louisville, and a Master's degree from Seattle University.