James Madison Dukes Overview

Fast facts

League: Division I FCS

Head Coach: Curt Cignetti

Team Mascot: Duke Dog

Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 24877

City / State: Harrisonburg / Virginia

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

James Madison Dukes vs William & Mary Tribe

Rival Team: William & Mary Tribe

The rivalry between James Madison and William & Mary dates back to 1978 and has been going strong ever since. There is no love lost between these two Virginia-based conference rivals, and every matchup is a can’t miss as conference supremacy and bragging rights are always on the line. The Dukes lead the all-time series 22-17, so come out and support them as they try to extend their lead this season.

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James Madison Dukes vs Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens

Rival Team: Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens

You won’t want to miss it when James Madison and Delaware square off. These two Colonial Athletic Association rivals first met in 1983, but the rivalry didn’t take off until the two schools became conference rivals in 1993. The Blue Hens hold a 14-10 lead in the all-time series, but the Dukes will look to draw nearer when the two meet his season.

James Madison Dukes vs Richmond Spiders

Rival Team: Richmond Spiders

No matter where the two teams are in the standings, the JMU-Richmond game is always one of the best games of the season. Matchups between these two Virginia schools have produced many memorable moments over the years including the Spiders victory over the Dukes when College Gameday was in town in 2015.

James Madison Dukes Tailgate Guide


Tailgating is a big part of attending football games at James Madison, and it shows. The reserved parking lots open at 8 am so no matter how early the game starts you’ll have plenty of time to tailgate before the game. Tailgate lovers with reserved parking passes will especially be in luck if they’re attending a night game as they’ll have all day to tailgate before the game. The one downside to tailgating at a Dukes game is that the general parking lots don’t allow as much tailgating since tailgating is only permitted in general lots starting four hours before the game.

Everywhere you look on game days you’ll see Dukes fans decked out in purple and gold grilling and throwing back drinks. Whether it’s the alumni or students, Dukes fans go all out on game days making a James Madison gameday an unforgettable experience.

Finally, make sure to attend the Dog Walk as it’s an excellent way to get into the game day spirit when attending a Dukes game. The Dog Walk takes place 2 hours and 45 minutes before kickoff and allows you to greet the Dukes as they make their way to the field.

Tailgating at James Madison is a fantastic time for any college football fan or just anyone who loves tailgating, so arrive early to get the most out of your trip to James Madison.


Dog Walk

Before the game, make sure to greet the team as they make their way into the Athletic Performance Center. The Dog Walk takes place 2 hours and 45 minutes before kickoff and is an excellent way for you to get into the JMU spirit before kickoff.

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Fan Zone

The Fan Zone is located on Godwin Field and is a great place to hangout before the game starts. Here you’ll find all kinds of activities including inflatables, football toss, face painting and much more.

Where to tailgate

James Madison Dukes Stadium Guide

In Game

The Dukes just won the FCS National Championship in 2016, so you better believe you’ll be in for an exciting game when attending a JMU football game. JMU is home to one of the best football teams in the country, and as a result, you’ll get to see some of the best players take the field when attending a game at Bridgeforth Stadium.

The team’s recent success has also helped make the atmosphere at a Dukes game incredible as well. Fans and students come out in large numbers to support the Dukes and cheer them on to victory. Students and alumni especially have a lot of pride in their team, and all throughout the game, you’ll see fans throwing streamers and cheering.

The band, which is known as the Marching Royal Dukes, is also no slouches when it comes to putting on a good show. They won the Sudler Trophy for best marching band in 1994 and are one of the best parts of any Dukes game. You won’t want to miss any of the band’s three performances, so make sure to arrive early and stay until the end of the post game show to get the full JMU game day experience.

James Madison is home to one of the best game day experiences in the FCS, so start planning your trip to Harrisonburg today.

Things to check out

Milestone Murals

Stop by the lower concourse and see the murals dedicated to the biggest moments in Dukes football. The murals are a must-see for any JMU fan or college football fans, so check them out during your trip.

Team Stores

Check out the team stores on the upper and lower concourses if you’re looking to get some Dukes gear at the game. The team stores sell a wide selection of merchandise meaning you won’t have to worry about leaving empty-handed.

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Marching Royal Dukes

You won’t want to miss the performance of the Marching Royal Dukes when taking in a JMU football game. The Marching Dukes are one of the best bands around having won the Sudler Trophy in 1994 and put on an incredible pregame, halftime, and postgame show.

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Duke Dog

Duke Dog made his first appearance in 1982 and since then has become a staple of JMU sporting events. He’s one of the best mascots in college sports, and he was even a finalist for the Capital One Mascot Bow in 2004, so you won’t want to miss any of his antics, which include barking during the singing of the “JMU Fight Song.”

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Purple and Gold Streamers

Following every big play made by the Dukes, you’ll see purple and gold streamers flying from the stands. Join in the tradition or at the very least get a picture or video of the streamers to show your friends when you return home.

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Join in the cheers lead by the cheerleading squad to show your support for the Dukes. You can see the cheerleaders trying their best to keep spirits high all throughout the game, so join in and how your support for the Dukes.

Fight Songs

  1. JMU Fight Song

    Madison, James Madison,

    We are the Dukes of JMU

    Madison, James Madison,

    The fighting Dukes of JMU

    Fight for Glory– Honors Won

    Brighten the Lights of Madison

    Madison, James Madison,

    Show your Colors

    Proud and True

    We are the Dukes of JMU

  2. JMU School Song

    Madison, James Madison
    We’ll Be Forever True
    Our Loyalty Will Always Be To JMU
    While Friends Remain Within Our Hearts
    And Knowledge Guides Our Way
    James Madison Will Lead Us On
    To Conquer Each New Day

James Madison Dukes Bars & Restaurants

  1. The Golden Pony

    The Golden Pony

    Specializing in scratch-made American cuisine, The Golden Pony offers high-quality pizza, burgers, salads, subs and an inspired children's menu.

    181 N Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  2. Billy Jack’s Wing & Draft Shack

    beer Billy Jacks Wing Draft Shack Roost Great American Pub

    Billy Jack's Wing & Draft Shack has an excellent food menu and a great selection of drinks.

    92 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  3. Jimmy Madison’s

    Jimmy Madisons

    Prepare yourself for a special blend of soulful music, modern southern cuisine, and premium whiskeys.

    121 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  4. O’Neill’s Grill

    ONeills Grill

    O'Neill's is your spot for the best food, service, and atmosphere in the Valley!

    221 University Blvd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  5. Finnigan’s Cover Seafood Bar

    Finnigans Cover Seafood Bar

    We offer an extensive menu including fresh seafood, salads, steaks, sandwiches, wraps, and our own homemade soups that have become very popular with patrons from all over the state.

    30 W Water St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  6. Capital Ale House

    Capital Ale House

    Capital Ale House is VA’s beer authority, welcoming guests with the best food, most knowledgeable staff and the largest selection of craft & imported brews.

    41 Court Square, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - european - $$

  7. Clementine Cafe

    Clementine Cafe

    We Exist to provide quality food, live music, creative drinks, art, films and community events in a comfortable urban atmosphere.

    153 S Main St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  8. Thomas House Restaurant

    Js Homestyle Cooking Thomas House Restaurant Stone Sparrow Cafe breakfast Donzelles

    Good quality comfort food at a very reasonable price and the service is great!

    222 Main St, Dayton, VA 22821, USA

    Bar website

    american - bbq - $

  9. Local Chop & Grill House

    Local Chop Grill House

    Local Chop & Grill House strives to provide creative meals with locally sourced products from our neighbors.

    56 W Gay St, Harrisonburg, VA 22802, USA

    Bar website

    american - steakhouse - $$$

  10. Vito’s Italian Restaurant

    Vitos Italian Restaurant

    Family-friendly, private room, patio, 16 beers on tap, wide selection of fine wines, and delicious pizza, salads, pastas, entrees and more!

    1047 Port Republic Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA

    Bar website

    italian - pizza - $$