Renner opened up on the Dukes early, rolling out on the second play from scrimmage and finding redshirt senior tailback Ryan Houston for an eight-yard pickup.
It wasn’t as impressive as Yates’ first completion, a 65-yard touchdown sling, but it did jumpstart a 22-for-23 showing, in which he tallied 277 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
“He had a command about him today that for a first start was pretty impressive,” Interim Coach Everett Withers said.
No ball Renner threw found the turf, and he tied the single game record for consecutive completions with 14. His 95.7 completion percentage is an ACC record for quarterbacks with more than 20 attempts.
Renner’s only blemish came in the second quarter. While trying to find Jones, Renner’s pass was picked off by safety Dean Marlowe.
“He probably would have been 23 of 23, except he threw that interception toward me,” said senior wide receiver Dwight Jones. “I should have went up and got it. It would have been a perfect day for him.”
In the first quarter, Jones was on the receiving end of Renner’s first career touchdown pass, a 34-yard toss.
“I was the first read on that deep ball. He has to read the safety first,” Jones said. “I made a move around the (defensive back), went outside of him. He just threw it up top of the safety. He just made a great throw so I could make a good catch.”
In the 2007 37-14 rout of the Dukes, Yates connected on 13 of 18 passes for 218 yards with three touchdowns and a pick. But Renner had more help on the ground than Yates did, as Giovani Bernard ran for two scores and Houston had a touchdown as well.
“If we play good around Bryn, Bryn Renner will play well,” Withers said. “I think that showed today in the numbers.”
Yates’ performance against JMU was the start of one of the most successful quarterbacking careers in program history. For Renner, beating James Madison was just the first step down a long road.
“We can’t take any hour off,” Renner said. “We need to go study Rutgers right after this so we can keep the thing going. But it was a great day today, and we played well.”
Contact the Sports Editor