Johnson, Palmer help James Madison eliminate Montana 28-6

FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_06040 Montana linebacker Braxton Hill (35) reacts as a flag is thrown against James Madison for unnecessary roughness during the second half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_21734 Montana quarterback Robbie Patterson (10) gets wrapped up by James Madison safety Francis Meehan (49) during the second half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_25975 James Madison coach Curt Cignetti, left, shakes hands with Montana coach Bobby Hauck after an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_11314 James Madison quarterback Cole Johnson (12) fumbles the ball as is tackled by Montana linebacker Jace Lewis (37) during the first half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_08609 The ball pops loose from Montana running back Junior Bergen (5) after Bergen was tackled by James Madison defensive lineman Bryce Carter (15) during the second half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_50598 James Madison coach Curt Cignetti watches the team during the first half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game against Montana in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_45951 Montana coach Bobby Hauck meets with his players on the sideline during the first half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game against James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_42324 Montana cornerback Corbin Walker makes the tackle on James Madison wide receiver Scott Bracey (1) during the first half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
FCS_Montana_James_Madison_Football_06535 James Madison running back Lorenzo Bryant Jr. (26) gets wrapped up by Montana linebacker Braxton Hill during the second half of an NCAA FCS football playoff game in Harrisonburg, Va., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — Cole Johnson passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns, Latrele Palmer rushed for 167 yards and a score and third-seeded James Madison eliminated No. 6 seed Montana 28-6 in the FCS quarterfinals on Friday night.

The victory, witnessed by 14,690, was No. 100 for JMU coach Curt Cignetti.

Montana (10-3) lost starting quarterback Cam Humphrey and top receiver Sam Akem to early injuries. Akem had Montana’s first reception of the game for 35 yards but was later seen on the sideline with his arm in a sling. Humphrey left the game after taking a hit while scrambling early in the second quarter.

The Dukes (12-1) have won eight in a row and next face either No. 2 seed North Dakota State (11-1) or No. 7 seed ETSU (11-1) in a semifinal on Dec. 17 or 18.

Johnson connected with Devin Ravenel on an 82-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter; Palmer reeled off a 50-yard scoring run in the second to cap a 96-yard drive; Kris Thornton caught a 3-yard pass from Johnson in the third; and Lorenzo Bryant added a 9-yard rushing TD in the fourth.

It was only the second time this season the Grizzlies allowed two rushing touchdowns.

Kevin Macias had field goals of 51 and 38 yards — for a school-record 19-straight makes for Montana. The Grizzlies had five straight drives end in punts from the time Humphrey left until the second Macias field goal late in the third quarter.

Humphrey was 7-of-12 passing for 88 yards, mostly in the first quarter. Backups Robbie Patterson and Kris Brown combined for 55 yards, completing 8 of 22.

Patterson was intercepted twice, ending Montana’s last two possessions.

JMU held the Griz to 302 yards of offense while gaining 487. The Dukes’ 192 yards rushing was the most given up by Montana this season.

___

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