James Madison to play in a bowl game

James Madison wide receiver Elijah Sarratt runs for a touchdown against Coastal Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Conway, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond) (Nell Redmond, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison football is headed to bowl season for the first time in program history, as announced by the bowl alliance on Sunday morning.

JMU, which is in year two of its transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, was officially declared available for selection into a bowl game according to NCAA bylaws of not enough eligible teams.

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JMU finished its second FBS season with unprecedented success for a transitioning team, going 11-1 overall with a 7-1 mark in Sun Belt Conference games. The Dukes turned in both the best overall and conference record in the SBC.

The Dukes lead the country in rushing defense (61.5), tackles for loss (9.1) and yards per rush allowed (2.09) while ranking second in both sacks (3.75) and blocked punts (2). JMU ranked top 25 in both scoring offense and defense, as it averaged 35.2 points per game while conceding 18.5 to its foes.

JMU began the season with a 10-0 record and built a 13-game win streak dating back to last year. The Dukes ranked as high at #18 in the AP Top 25 and ranked #24 entering the final week of the regular season.

A total of 82 teams will be part of Bowl Season, which begins on Dec. 16. The full bowl schedule will be announced next Sunday, Dec. 3 on ESPN.