HARRISONBURG, Va. (Courtesy: JMU Sports)– James Madison opens its 52nd season of football and second as a member of the Sun Belt Conference when it hosts Bucknell on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Kickoff from Bridgeforth Stadium is set for 6 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+. Pregame radio coverage on the Morris Insurance & Financial JMU Radio Network begins at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s game is sponsored by Glo Fiber, and the 2023 season is presented by CarMax.

James Madison (0-0) vs. Bucknell (0-0)
Saturday, September 2, 2023
Kickoff: 6:00 PM ET
Harrisonburg, Va. | Bridgeforth Stadium

Game Information
Online: ESPN+ (subscription required)
Radio: WSVA 92.1 FM/550 AM
Listen: Morris Insurance & Financial JMU Radio Network
Live Stats
JMU Game Notes


Dating back to its inaugural season in 1972, the Dukes are 28-22-1 all-time in season openers.
JMU has won three consecutive season openers, which included a dominant 44-7 triumph last season against Middle Tennessee State. That was JMU's first home game ever against a FBS foe.
The Dukes also won the previous two openers in 2020 and 2021 against FCS Morehead State by an average score of 60-5, winning 68-10 in 2021 and 52-0 in 2020.


With last year's convincing win over Middle Tennessee, JMU improved to 40-11 all-time in home openers.
The Dukes have won 20 straight home openers at Bridgeforth Stadium, dating back to 2003.
During this current stretch, JMU wins its first home game by an average score of 49.1 to 8.7.
JMU has produced north of 40 points in 16 of those wins, which includes a home-opening record 80 points in the 2016 opener - also against Morehead State.

The last opposing team to win a JMU home opener was Hampton, 31-28, back on Aug. 31, 2002.


Saturday marks the first meeting between JMU and Bucknell.
This matchup also serves as JMU's ninth all-time against a Patriot League squad.
JMU is 3-5 against PL members, and this is the first meeting with that league since the second round of the 2018 FCS playoffs.


Curt Cignetti enters his fifth season leading the JMU football program and his 13th as a head coach Saturday.
He's amassed a 108-34 career record (.761) between JMU (2019-present), Elon (2017-18) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2011-16).
With the Dukes, Cignetti is 41-8, which includes a 24-3 mark in conference play.
He guided JMU to Colonial Athletic Association titles from 2019-21 and led the Dukes to an East Division crown in year one in the Sun Belt Conference in 2022.
Last season, he became the first head coach to coach a team into the AP Top 25 (#25) in year one of a transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision.


JMU opens the season with preseason recognition in both major football polls.
The Dukes received one vote in the AP Top 25 and a single vote in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll.
JMU is one of four Sun Belt teams to receive votes in the AP media poll and one of three SBC squads to earn a nod in the coaches poll.


New subdivision, same result.
Since 2016, JMU has been incredible at the friendly confines of Bridgeforth Stadium.
Over the past seven seasons, the Dukes have gone 48-3 on their home turf.
That includes four unbeaten seasons, going 9-0 in 2017 and 2019, 8-0 in 2016 and 5-0 in 2020.
During the span, JMU has scored 50+ points in 22 games, had 10 over 60 points, four over 70 and two with at least 80.
JMU's first home loss from 2016-21 came on Oct. 6, 2018, when current head coach Curt Cignetti led Elon to a 27-24 win.
The Dukes saw a 19-game home win streak end on Oct. 9, 2021, falling 28-27 to Villanova.

Online: ESPN+ (subscription required)
Listen: Morris Insurance & Financial JMU Radio Network

On the radio – WSVA 92.1 FM/550 AM
Online: The Varsity Network

Broadcast Talent

Online: Curt Dudley (pxp), Vad Lee (analyst), Corey Spector (sideline)
Radio: Dave Riggert (pxp), Drew Painter (analyst)