Jordan Anderson rushed for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Dukes (4-1, 2-0) beat the Spiders (3-2, 0-2) for the first time in Harrisonburg since the 2003 season and snapping a three-game winning by Richmond at Bridgeforth Stadium.
But the Spiders seized the early momentum by holding the Dukes to a punt on their opening possession and redshirt freshman DeShawn Holmes busted through the line to block a David Skahn punt.
Evan Joseph scooped up the loose ball and returned it 15 yards to set up first-and-goal at the three-yard line. Three plays later, Kendall Gaskins punched in a one-yard TD to put the Spiders on the board first and stun the JMU Homecoming crowd of 25,742.
But the Dukes got things going on the ground, while keeping the Spiders' high-octane offense in check.
Jauan Latney capped off an 11-play, 62-yard drive to draw the Dukes even early in the second quarter. Two possessions later, Jace Edwards scampered in from 20-yards out to give JMU a lead it would not relinquish.
Junior LB Darius McMillan led the defensive effort with a game and career-high 15 tackles, while junior S Cooper Taylor matched his career-high with 14 stops. Senior S Colin Pehanick and junior LB Derek Mayo set career-highs with 13 tackles each.
Richmond is back in action next Saturday night at Towson. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m.