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JMU College GameDay draws biggest crowd in history

James Madison University football head coach Curt Cignetti joins ESPN College GameDay in Harrisonburg, Va., with a record-breaking crowd.

On Saturday, November 18, 2023, the Quad at James Madison University was buzzing with excitement as ESPN's "College GameDay" descended upon Harrisonburg, Virginia. The crowd began to gather as early as 6 a.m., with several thousand students and alumni eagerly awaiting the start of the show.

By 8:30 a.m., the crowd had swelled to a record-breaking 26,000, filling the Quad to its capacity and creating an electric atmosphere. ESPN personalities Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, and Lee Corso had to raise their voices to be heard over the roar of the crowd, but they were clearly energized by the enthusiastic response.

The show featured the typical array of College GameDay signs, with many addressing JMU's bowl eligibility. Despite their impressive 10-0 record, the Dukes had been denied a waiver to participate in a bowl game due to their transition from FCS to FBS. This decision was met with frustration and disappointment from the JMU community, and the signs reflected their desire to see their team compete on a larger stage.

Former JMU football running back Percy Agyei-Obese, who was in attendance at the show, echoed the sentiments of many when he expressed his belief that the Dukes deserved a spot in a bowl game. As the show came to a close, the crowd erupted in cheers as Lee Corso donned the Duke Dog mascot head, signaling his prediction that JMU would emerge victorious in their upcoming game against App State.

The energy and passion of the JMU community were on full display throughout the show, and head coach Curt Cignetti made a brief appearance to share his excitement for the upcoming game. The atmosphere was electric, with the crowd united in their support for the Dukes and their unwavering belief in their team's ability to succeed.

Overall, the 30th anniversary show of College GameDay at James Madison University was a resounding success, showcasing the incredible spirit and dedication of the JMU community. The record-breaking attendance and the passionate support for the Dukes served as a powerful testament to the impact of college football and the unifying power of sports.

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