Austin Kendall threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns to lead West Virginia past stingy James Madison 20-13 on Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.
The Big 12’s Mountaineers improved to 20-0 all-time against FCS (Division I-AA) opponents.
Evan Staley’s 43-yard field goal gave West Virginia a 13-10 lead with 10:26 remaining in the fourth quarter. The kick culminated a drive kept alive by Kendall’s fourth-and-2 completion to Sam James for 8 yards to the Dukes’ 27.
On the ensuing drive, James Madison’s Ben DiNucci was intercepted by Keith Washington Jr., who returned the ball to the Dukes’ 30. Three plays later, Kendall hit Tevin Bush with a 22-yard scoring pass that gave West Virginia a 20-10 advantage with 8:43 to go.
Ethan Ratke’s 31-yard field goal pulled the Dukes within 20-13 with 4:33 left.
Kendall, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma where he backed up Heisman Trophy winners Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, completed 27 of 42 passes.
DiNucci finished 13 of 20 for 156 yards and one interception.
James Madison outgained West Virginia 328-294, and the Dukes allowed only 34 rushing yards.
Ratke kicked a 29-yard field goal to tie the score at 10 with 6:34 remaining in the third quarter.
Kendall connected with George Campbell on a 28-yard scoring pass to put the Mountaineers ahead 10-7 with 12:32 left in the third quarter.
James Madison led 7-3 at halftime.
Solomon Vanhorse ran 9 yards for a touchdown with 1:47 left in the first quarter. Vanhorse finished with 55 yards on 12 carries.
Staley kicked a 38-yard field goal at 12:33 of the second quarter to cut West Virginia’s deficit to 7-3.
The game marked the debuts at their new schools for both head coaches — West Virginia’s Neal Brown and James Madison’s Curt Cignetti, who played for the Mountaineers.
—Field Level Media