November 5, 2012
Birdsong Out For A While
Justin Thorpe is back as James Madison's starting quarterback.
Coach Mickey Matthews said Monday that Thorpe would start this week at Villanova after losing his starting job two weeks ago to true freshman Michael Birdsong, who got hurt Saturday at Maine.
Thorpe was named the Colonial Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Week on Monday after completing nine of 12 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown (no interceptions) and rushing 16 times for 111 yards and two touchdowns coming off the bench against Maine.
Birdsong left the game with 30 seconds to play after severely injuring his right ankle. He was helped off the field and put no weight on the ankle as he left. On Monday, Matthews said Birdsong's ankle wasn't broken, but that Birdsong would be out for a while - possibly the the season depending on how long JMU plays.
The Dukes (7-2 overall, 5-1 in the CAA), up to No. 9 from No. 10 and receiving one first-place vote in The Sports Network's I-AA poll, have two regular-season games left, at Villanova next week and home against Old Dominion the week after.
Matthews said Thorpe, a fifth-year junior, would have started against Villanova even if Birdsong did not get hurt. On the play Birdsong was hurt, he was not supposed to be carrying the ball. Matthews said JMU ran the wrong play out of the wrong formation, and the result was Birdsong keeping it on an option.
Matthews said the plan was to have Birdsong just hand off to end the game.
With Birdsong hurt, redshirt freshman Lafonte Thourogood, a Vanderbilt transfer who has battled strained hamstrings all season, will be the No. 2 quarterback, and walk-on redshirt freshman Mack Spees would be the No. 3 quarterback. Tailback Dae'Quan Scott, a former high school quarterback, also is an option in emergency situations as a wildcat QB.
Another injury note: Matthews said that wide receiver Marquis Woodyard (PCL) could play this week against Villanova. Woodyard has been out since the Towson game.
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