Tony Nelson had a big day running the ball for the University of Massachusetts, but it was one carry in the first quarter he’ll remember most.
Nelson turned in his 11th career 100-yard game, finishing with 117 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, but his first-quarter fumble helped James Madison build an early lead, and the Dukes hung on for a 17-14 win at McGuirk Stadium, their first win in Amherst since 1987.
With JMU ahead, 3-0, and 1:58 to go in the first quarter, Jamaris Sanders ripped the ball from Nelson and brought it back 38 yards for a touchdown.
That was enough for James Madison (5-5, 3-4 Colonial Athletic Association), which gained 212 rushing yards, led by tailback Scott Noble (105) and quarterback Justin Thorpe (89).
The fumble - one of three UMass turnovers in the first 13:01 - spoiled another excellent outing for Nelson, who went over the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season with a 6-yard touchdown to bring UMass (5-5, 3-4) within 17-14 with 3:25 left in the third quarter. The TD was the 22d of his career, tying him for sixth all time at UMass with quarterback Greg Landry.
Sophomore Jonathan Hernandez rushed for 40 yards and added a 16-yard score for UMass, and linebackers Tyler Holmes (14 tackles) and Perry McIntyre (11) led the way on defense.
Northeastern 14, Hofstra 13 - John Griffin ran for 140 yards and a touchdown as the Huskies held off the Pride at Parsons Field.
NU (2-8, 2-5 CAA) took a 14-3 lead in the third quarter after Matt Carroll’s 24-yard TD pass to Greg Abelli and a 49-yard touchdown run by Griffin, who finished with 28 carries.
Carroll was 3 of 7 for 45 yards for Northeastern.
Hofstra’s Steve Probst connected with Nick Talbert on a 4-yard touchdown with 13:45 left in the fourth quarter and the Pride (4-6, 2-5) recorded a safety on the last play of the game.
William & Mary 20, UNH 17 - Brian Pate kicked a 37-yard field goal with 2:54 left to lift the fifth-ranked Tribe (9-1, 6-1 CAA) past the No. 8 Wildcats.
UNH (8-2, 5-2) tied the game at 17 on R.J. Toman’s 35-yard pass to Joey Orlando with 8:17 left. But the Tribe used an 11-play, 52-yard drive that was capped by Pate’s winner. Toman was 18 of 37 for 199 yards and two interceptions.
Maine 41, URI 17 - Chris Treister threw five touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead the host Black Bears to the rout of the Rams.
Maine (5-5, 4-3 CAA) outscored Rhode Island, 34-7, in the second half and rolled up 507 yards of offense for its fourth straight 500-yard game against URI (1-9, 0-7).
Villanova 49, Towson 7 - Chris Whitney threw for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass from Matt Szczur, leading the third-ranked Wildcats (9-1, 6-1 CAA) past the host Tigers (2-8, 1-6) for their fourth straight win.
Richmond 49, Georgetown 10 - Seven players scored touchdowns as the No. 4 Spiders outgained the host Hoyas, 457-179, and improved to 9-1.
Navy 35, Delaware 18 - Ricky Dobbs ran for five touchdowns, moving within one of tying the NCAA record for a quarterback in a season, as the Midshipmen (8-3) prevailed at home. Jon Stiefsky kicked a school-record four field goals for the Blue Hens (6-4).
Central Conn. 20, Monmouth 19 - Aubrey Norris threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Josue Paul with 2:23 remaining as the host Blue Devils (8-2, 6-1) clinched the Northeast Conference title with a 20-point fourth quarter.
Duquesne 45, Sacred Heart 42 - Charlie Leventry, a freshman punter kicking for the first time because the regular kicker was out sick, kicked a 31-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the visiting Dukes (3-7, 2-5 Northeast) past the Pioneers. Dale Fink passed for 245 yards and six touchdowns for Sacred Heart (2-8, 2-6).
Bryant 35, St. Francis (Pa.) 12 - Jerell Smith rushed for a career-high 239 yards and three touchdowns to help the host Bulldogs (4-6, 3-4 Northeast) snap a five-game losing streak.
Maine Maritime 48, Curry 42 - Alex Coulombe caught a deflected pass in the end zone as time expired, lifting the Mariners over the host Colonels in the New England Football Conference championship game, earning Maine Maritime (9-1) its first appearance in the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
With the score tied at 42, and 32 seconds remaining, Maine Maritime took over at its 40-yard line. On fourth and 1 from the 49, Curry (8-3) was called for a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty, giving Maine Maritime a first down on the Colonels’ 36. On the next play, Tyler Angell’s pass to the end zone was deflected by Curry free safety Bobby Driscoll but caught by Coulombe for the winning score.
Jim Bower rushed for 166 yards on 37 carries and scored three TDs for the Mariners in earning game MVP honors.
Zach Cavanaugh rushed for 101 yards and two scores and also threw two TD passes for Curry.
Trinity 26, Wesleyan 23 - Tim Costello kicked a pair of overtime field goals, including the winner from 42 yards, to help the Bantams (6-2) get past the Cardinals (3-5) and extend their home winning streak to 35 games.
Middlebury 26, Tufts 7 - Donald McKillop passed for 336 yards and three TDs as the Panthers (5-3) rolled past the Jumbos (2-6) in Medford.
Bowdoin 32, Colby 27 - The Polar Bears (3-5) scored 23 straight points to start the second half and beat the visiting White Mules (4-4), forcing the first three-way CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) Championship tie since 1995. Nick Tom rushed for 114 yards and two TDs and Oliver Kell passed for one TD and ran for another for Bowdoin.