Nov 24 / Rob

Vad Lee Wins 2015 CAA Offensive Player of the Year

CAA Football announced its award winners and All CAA teams today. JMU QB Vad Lee won the Offensive Player of the Year. Fans of other CAA teams (cough, Richmond) might cry foul because Lee missed 3 games due to injury. They might have a point.

With 3 fewer games under his belt, voters were forced to estimate how productive Lee would have been over the final 3 games, and then compare those estimates against the rest of the league’s full season results. Otherwise, they’d be forced to simply go off the fact that Lee only had 1 more yard of total offense than his closest competitor. That’s right, despite missing over a quarter of the season, Lee had more total yards than any other player in the CAA. He averaged 375 yards of total offense per game. That’s 102 more than anyone else. Game set match. Lee was as deserving as any CAA player in recent memory. His injury also leaves us with one particularly painful “what if?” scenario, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Lee was also recognized as first team All CAA. Joining him on the first team was WR Brandon Ravenel and OL Mitch Kirsch. On the defensive side, DL Andrew Ankrah and CB Taylor Reynolds were selected to the All CAA first team. Cardon Johnson, Deane Cheatham, Alex Mosley (ed. note: Saturday’s jumbotron video of Mosley stating that the first time he walked into D-Hall was his favorite JMU memory, immediately became one of my favorite JMU memories from the 2015 season) and Raven Greene earned second team honors. Punter Gunnar Kane earned a third team nod. All in all, a pretty good haul for the Dukes.

Nov 22 / Rob

JMU Awarded 5 Seed for 2015 FCS Playoffs

The JMU Dukes are going dancing. We all knew JMU had done enough to earn a bid to the 2015 FCS playoffs. We just didn’t know who’d they’d face first. The FCS Playoff selection committee made it official this morning and granted the Dukes the 5th seed. With the seed, the Dukes earned a bye next week and the right to host a home game next week. They’ll face the winner of the match-up between the CAA’s own New Hampshire Wildcats and Colgate from the Patriot League. Here are a few quick thoughts on the bracket. read more…

Nov 22 / Todd

Dukes Big Plays Beat Villanova 38-29, Ticket Punched

We’re writing this just before the Selection Show so we’ll have bracket breakdown later, but of course we’ll be on Twitter @JMUsportsblog during the announcements if you want our real-time reactions (or at least us retweeting funnier people than us).

The Good

Well really these first two should go in “Great.” First, the Defense and Special Teams with HUGE, game-changing, game-winning, (possibly seed-clinching) plays! Brandon Ravenel ran the opening kickoff back for a TD with some great blocking and his own great vision and speed. Needless to say, when the Dukes spotted the Wildcats the customary first-drive TD right after this, the blow was softened. Then CB Jordan Brown made a great break on a ball to the outside, stayed in bounds after making the interception and returned it for a pick-six. And then to seal the game just when it looked like we might be headed for another last-second nervy finish, the Dukes caused a fumble by the Villanova QB and Taylor Reynolds scooped and scored from distance. Say anything you want about poor tackling, soft schemes, and all the rest, but when you get three scores from your D/ST, you lose the right (at least for a week) to complain about them. And these were “made plays,” not fluky things. And that doesn’t even take into account another great play by Raven Greene with an interception or the beautifully designed and executed surprise onside kick the Dukes recovered. It was also clear on both INT’s that the players understood what the offense was trying to do and baited the QB into the mistake – and that deserves full credit to JMU’s defensive coaches. We’ve been arguing in the stands for weeks that if you’re going to give up huge yardage and points playing a base defense, you might as well take more chances and hope you make enough big plays to balance out the negatives. That worked to perfection on another day the offense looked more than mortal.

So good to see these old friends (and all of their future Dukes - talking to you Miles!)

So good to see these old friends (and all of their future Dukes – talking to you Miles!)

The Duke Club – we’ve always wondered whether they love or hate us, and maybe we’re still not sure, but when you’ve been members a long time, you’re bringing 20-25 friends and family (including  a dozen future Dukes), and it’s a week with no students, they can help you out! Huge thanks to them for a parking upgrade that allowed a lot of old friends from around the country (NY, TN, NC, etc.) to have a memorable day in the Valley!

The season – Pretty sure most of us had an expectation between 8-3 and 9-2 before the season. Check. An FBS win? Check. Overcoming the loss of one of the nation’s best players? Check. Earning a decent spot in the playoffs? Likely check. And that’s without mentioning the preseason loss of three players on defense, two of whom likely would have been enormous contributors. Coming back from the Lee injury/UR-loss-on-Gameday low to right the ship? Check. So quit whining and get ready to ROOT as hard as you ever have in the tourney.

The Crowd – All things considered – lower stakes, students on break, potential home game next week – the crowd was pretty great. Filled in nicely on Godwin side and in the end zone where we moved today to accommodate the day care we were running as you’ll notice in the above picture. It was a beautiful day and of course the MRD alums helped a bunch, but we were very pleasantly surprised by the solid turnout. Gotta imagine actual ticket sold were really strong to make up for the missing 7k students or so. We’ll appeal to them about playoffs later in the week.

The Bad

The offense. Schor was just fine with an open playbook vs. UR and W&M. The last two weeks it feels a bit like he’s being protected by a timid scheme. Take the training wheels off and see what happens. As the missed read on a  3rd and goal to Ravenel shows, it might not work, but as the game winner last week and the late throw to Ravenel this week show, the upside is there.

Villanova’s backup QB. Look, Schor and the offense have struggled the last two weeks (although Villanova is legit good on D and we shouldn’t be so quick to jump ship), JMU played a very strong offensive game at fellow co-champ W&M and managed to get the wins they desperately needed to get the season back on track for greatness the last two weeks because they had a capable and prepared backup. Villanova lost Robertson earlier so that makes it harder, but they just didn’t have the backup they needed that could have hit a few open receivers downfield yesterday and other games along the way to turn it all the way around. We should be thankful.

The Ugly

Tackling. The scheme actually seemed to put Dukes defenders in position to make plays yesterday, but when they got there, ugggghhhhh.

Nov 21 / Rob

Gameday Open Thread: JMU vs. Villanova

It’s a heck of a day for a college football game. Hopefully we’ll see many of you in the ‘burg. The rest of you can tune in via Madizone and root from the couch. Enjoy the game wherever you are. Consider this your official open thread for all pre-game, in-game, and post-game chatter. Go Dukes! Beat Nova! Keep Rootin!

Nov 20 / Rob

JMUSB Game #11 Preview: JMU vs. Villanova

CUDkpMqUwAA7GY0The Dukes close out the 2015 regular season on Saturday with a home game against their old friends the Villanova Wildcats. Prior to the season beginning, most fans thought this one would likely decide the CAA crown and maybe even clinch the Payton Award for one of the QBs. But life sometimes throws you curveballs. Star QBs Vad Lee and John Robertson both went down with injuries, but this game still has playoff implications. A win and some help could give the Dukes a seed, while a win and some breaks could help Nova snag a bid. It might not be the game of the year, but it’s still a big one.

The Skinny

Match-up: #12 JMU Dukes (8-2, 5-2 CAA) vs. Villanova Wildcats (6-4, 5-2 CAA)

Kickoff: 12:00 PM at Bridgeforth Stadium

Weather: High of 51 and mostly sunny

Broadcast: Streaming via Madizone

Tell Me About Villanova

Surely, you all know who the Villanova Wildcats are. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll immediately recognize them as the scrappy little basketball team that rode the play of a cocaine fueled point guard to one of the most stunning and improbably NCAA titles ever. Of course if you’re a little younger, you probably know Villanova as an immensely talented hoops program that consistently plays great basketball year and year out from November right up until the first weekend of the NCAA tourney. The school also has a football team. A very good one in fact, having won a national title of its own. The students seem to prefer supporting the hoops program, but that’s their loss. Nova is well coached and dangerous program year in and year out. Despite the fact that reigning Payton Award winning QB John Robertson went down with a season ending injury, this year is no different. Nova is a dangerous team.

Bizarro Dukes

With ten games in the books, we all know what JMU is. The Dukes are a team built to play fast and outscore their opponents. Nova is not. The Wildcats are pretty much the opposite. They beat teams by playing shut down defense and grinding it out on the ground on offense. Nova is only giving up 16.4 points per game. Lately, that defense first formula has been very successful. After struggling to find their footing without Robertson, Nova has heated up and won 4 of its last 5. Last weekend, the Wildcats managed to knock off Richmond in a 21-20 thriller.

Late Breaking News That Sucks But Actually Might Be a Factor Nonetheless

Injuries suck. They just do. They’re part of the game of football though. As JMU fans, we were bummed when Vad Lee went down. But we were also pretty disappointed when Nova’s John Robertson got hurt. Players on both teams stepped up and helped carry the load after the loss of the star QBs though. One such player for Nova, was Matt Gudzak. The running back shined in a win over Rhode Island and has averaged 7 yards a carry. Unfortunately, he was hurt in last week’s game against Richmond and has been declared out for Saturday. The loss will put more on the shoulders of QB Zach Bednarczyk. He’s certainly up to the task, but like Bryan Schor, he would probably be more effective with a strong running game behind him.

How Nova Can Win

By doing what Delaware did last week, but doing it just a little bit better. JMU’s offense was downright mortal last week. Much of that might have been due to the fact that the Blue Hens pass rush was able to get to Bryan Schor. They had him on his heels and managed to disrupt the offense’s rhythm. Nova will also try to win by rattling Schor and forcing mistakes. The Cats D doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses, but it’s particularly good against the pass. So expect them to try to shut down Cardon Johnson and Khalid Abdullah, and force Schor to try to beat them with his arm.

How JMU Can Win

By going back to basics. Without Vad Lee, maybe we shouldn’t expect the Dukes’ offense to reach its record breaking levels (although it might). As we saw against William & Mary however, the Bryan Schor lead offense can still be pretty damn explosive. The key is getting into a rhythm, playing fast, and spreading the ball around. We’ve all seen how it’s supposed to work. JMU keeps its opponents guessing by utilizing its many weapons, ups the pace, and the D eventually cracks. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s how the Dukes offense was made to play though. The Dukes don’t need to revamp the offense or dumb it down to make it easier for Schor. They’ve got to put him in a position where he can mix things up and get the ball to his teammates who can make plays.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Duckpin Pale Ale. I tried this brew from Union Craft Brewing for the fist time a few weeks ago and it struck me as a perfect tailgate beer. It comes in cans (key for pre-football imbibing) and is an almost session beer like 5.5% ABV. As Todd mentioned last week, we’ve been a bit biased toward IPAs in our weekly selections (go try Stone’s Sorry Not Sorry IPA btw), but it’s not all we like. Sometimes a slightly less hoppy beer with a crisp finish hits the spot. Duckpin Pale Ale definitely does.

JMUSB Prediction

Senior Day. Regular season home finale. Beautiful fall weather. It’s all set up to be a perfect day. Provided JMU gets the win of course. We think the Dukes come through. Schor builds on last week’s confidence building final drive, the defense takes another baby step forward, and JMU gets to 9 wins. Dukes 35 – Cats 24.

Nov 19 / Todd

Q&A with Villanova Gurus at

VillanovaHelmetHuge thanks to Brian Ewart from SB Nation’s for running it back another year with us on this Q&A. Tons of good stuff in here explaining this week’s matchup from the other side. We also did the same for them and you can check that out here. We always enjoy interacting with Villanova because their media coverage is so strong based on their hoops program, but they really do have a few football fans too. Enjoy!

1) We caught a few of the first post-Robertson games and it looked like the new QB1 was really struggling – has he turned it around or the team just rallied or has the schedule eased up at all to create this great, late run by Villanova back into contention? (and yes, it’s really sad for both fanbases to miss out on the Lee/Robertson matchup we all dreamed of and it couldn’t have happened to two better kids from everything we know about Vad and have heard and read about JR)
I think the team had to find the right formula to start winning games. Villanova’s defense is the best it’s been in recent memory this season, but in the first couple games after Robertson’s injury, they may have been a bit gassed, spending a lot of time on the turf. Zach Bednarczyk is a guy who has some potential to become a good fit for Villanova, but I think the team benefitted from the coaching staff taking a step back, and refocusing the offense to it’s strength in the running game.
With Robertson on the field, the play calling was designed to be more balanced between the pass and run; partially because Robertson was capable in both areas, and partially as a way for the senior QB to prove that his arm was good enough. Bednarczyk is still getting used to the speed of the game, and an offensive line that was in flux early on (a lot of shuffling around) didn’t help him keep his wits in the pocket.
… and yes, it did help tremendously to get a game in against lowly Albany to help Nova find its confidence and a little bit of momentum. The Richmond game last weekend, however, proved that Nova’s resurgence wasn’t just a matter of beating up on the dregs; they aren’t the powerhouse that they were expected to be with a healthy John Robertson, but the pieces are there to hang with the top of this league.
2) Speaking of contention, are Villanova fans back on board and excited again about the chance to punch their playoff ticket this weekend?
It was a rough couple of weeks after John Robertson went down for the count. Expectations were very high entering the season, but I think a pretty good homecoming result against Richmond does have the football faithful fired up heading into this Saturday. It didn’t seem plausible when the ‘Cats dropped that game to Penn, but they’re looking like a team that can compete once again.
3) One huge problem last year for ‘Nova was in the kicking game. At least from the stats (3-10 on FG’s) it looks like maybe more of the same. Is that “accurate” and if so, has Coach Talley been going for 2 or just going for it on 4th even more than usual? (both of which could be very successful against JMU’s suspect defense)
Last year, and earlier this year, the decision to go for it on 4th down was pretty easy: You have the best player in the game at QB, and one of the least-reliable players in the game at kicker — you take your chances. Steve Weyler lost the kicking job a few weeks back to walk-on freshman Gerrard Smith, and while Smith hasn’t been 100%, he’s been reliable enough to trust with some reasonable-length chances. Without Robertson, Talley may still go for it on 4th down, or try for two, in the right spots, but he’s much more likely to let Smith line up a kick than he would have been last season.
4) Who are the big names for VU that JMU fans should keep an eye on Saturday?
Offensively, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Matt Gudzak at tailback, who had a huge game against Rhode Island (okay, sure, yeah), and has been taking on a bigger and bigger role for the Wildcats as this season has progressed. He’s part of a multi-faceted rushing attack along with Gary Underwood and freshman Aaron Forbes, that helps the offense grind out yardage. QB Zach Bednarczyk has also had some moments as a runner, and slot-receiver/running back Jarrett McClenton has also been taking carries.
McClenton is kind of a utility player for the ‘Cats, lining up at slot receiver and having the third-most catches on the team this season. He’s a potential playmaker for the Wildcats. When it comes to receiving, however, Kevin Gulyas has been the key player all season, averaging 15.7 yards per catch.
Defensively, Villanova is stacked with talented players. Tanoh Kpassagnon is an athletic freak on the defensive line who will create trouble and try to collapse the pocket. Cameron McCurry is the big playmaker in the secondary, lining up at safety, he has a nose for the ball, and leads the team in interceptions, tied for third in sacks, and is third on the team in tackles. Linebackers Don Cherry (last year’s runner up for best defensive player in FCS) and Austin Calitro are the top two tacklers for the ‘Cats and both are also playmakers who get into the backfield.
5) Finally, we heard Coach Talley make some comments about JMU on one of the CAA pressers early this season. In particular he seemed awful sure the Dukes would slow down against better competition later in the season. Despite last week’s fairly dreadful effort at UD, JMU has managed to keep the hammer down even in their losses (49 in loss to UR and 41 in loss to WM). Do you think Villanova is still confident they know how to stop the Dukes?
The one thing I know about Coach Talley, is that he certainly respects his opponents. This obviously isn’t the same JMU team that Nova had its hands full with last season, but the Dukes have rarely been a pushover in recent years, and I’m sure that Talley understands that. That said, if there is anything that Villanova is confident in this season, it’s the defense. The ‘Cats may not stop the Dukes, but they’ll walk into Bridgeforth Stadium confident that they can slow them down.
Lastly, this isn’t a question but we just wanted to say what a great thing it is that VU’s work with Be The Match has turned into a larger effort. We generally do our best not to laud the CAA because we kind of hate it (remember we have to watch  this conference in every sport), but we’ve got nothing but love for this effort and huge thanks go out to Coach Talley for his decades of work on this project and of course to former Wildcat great Matt Szczur for providing the spark towards the partnership with CAA Football.
I’ll take the opportunity presented by this non-question to note that two Villanova football players missed time this season to donate marrow as part of that program. Offensive lineman (and starter!) Jake Prus donated marrow early on, and returned to action quickly (thankfully for Bednarczyk) and wide receiver Jacob Gribb was selected to donate a few years later. Matt Szczur has certainly been a great story for the league and the marrow program, but there are countless others who have donated marrow and saved someone’s life.
6) Bonus question: Jalen Brunson – good enough to make the difference and get over the early exit curse?
He’s real good, you guys… I think as long as he keeps growing his chemistry with this team, he will make everyone around him better — which is exactly what you want to hear about your point guard. So far, so good.
Nov 18 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Villanova

CUDkpMqUwAA7GY0It’s time for our last prediction contest of the regular season. JMU and Villanova face off this Saturday in Bridgeforth Stadium. When it was announced, many people thought this game would feature the two front runners for the Payton Award trying to lead their team to a CAA title. With Vad Lee and John Robertson both injured, it will not. But it’s still a huge game with playoff implications. And we want to know who you think will win. Leave a comment below with your prediction. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Go Dukes! Keep Rootin!

Nov 15 / Todd

JMU Salvages Win, Playoff Berth With Last Second Victory at Delaware

The Good

Earl getting some great run on Sunday Night Football too!

Earl getting some great run on Sunday Night Football too!

Men’s Hoops! Let’s just start here before we get to football. Such a sweet, sweet morsel of revenge against the tourney-hopeful Ticks to start the men’s hoops season Friday night. Now let’s hope we get a shot at the main course somewhere down the line in the postseason on the gridiron (although incredibly The Ticks have played themselves onto the wrong side of the bubble the last two weeks and might need a win over the Nerds to even make the field, not that we’d mind!). Check out the highlights here and let’s hope this team can keep building as they wait for Yohanny Dalembert to recover. The boys have arguably their most marquee game of the non-conference schedule Monday night in Charleston (“neutral” site) vs. WVU.The Women’s team also won their opener but it was a blowout of Longwood so nothing to get excited about just yet.

The Dukes locked up a playoff a berth. It may have been ugly and it may not have done a thing to calm our nerves about the season’s trajectory at the moment, but in beating Delaware and getting their eighth win, there’s no doubt now that JMU will hear their name on next Sunday’s Selection Show on ESPNU at 11 a.m. If JMU can beat Villanova this weekend to get to 9-2, there’s still an outside chance at a seed and avoiding the first round. Here’s the ticket info from JMU.

Purple Helmets are back, though “satin” instead of chrome this time. Thank goodness we can get out of the white-helmet rut.

Bryan Schor led his first comeback in dramatic fashion! And he sort of had to throw two great TD passes to do it after a drop on the play before the Ravenel score (by the way, how great is Ravenel playing?!). Schor and the offense struggled a lot on Saturday for really the first time all year, but you can’t deny they never quit and produced when it mattered most.

The Defense. No really, the defense earned their way into The Good for really the first time all year and their timing couldn’t have been better with the Offense finally flailing a bit. They weren’t perfect, although Kyre Hawkins and his 17 tackles were darn close, but after allowing their customary first-drive TD to open the game, they really settled in. They allowed only 14 points (UD’s third and nearly game winning TD was the long fumble return), none in the fourth quarter after JMU fell behind, and Raven Greene, who seems to be in on every big play when the D actually comes up with one, made a huge stop to give JMU the one last chance it needed. As Coach Withers noted after the game, let’s not all forget the Chickens beat William & Mary and UNH this year, so let’s take the win and move on.

Only two penalties. Nice to see that get cleaned up during the bye.

Gunnar Kane – it’s never a good sign when the punter makes The Good section, but he did do a great job considering how often he was called upon during a blustery day.

The Bad

Bye Week preparation – Well so much for the idea that the bye week would allow the staff to cook up something special and the kids to reenergize. This was right up there with the Albany game as the sleepiest and least crisp this team has looked all year. Let’s hope a normal schedule gets them in a better mindset last week.

The offense. We’re not going to over-analyze what went wrong because it’s the first time all year they’ve struggled so mightily, but it wasn’t the Death Star that was still blowing up planets even during the two losses. It will be interesting to see if Andy Talley, who earlier this year said essentially “ain’t played nobody PAWWWLLL” about JMU, can get his team to replicate UD’s performance.

The Ugly

ANOTHER blocked FG. Maglio does occasionally kick a low ball, but after the debacle at W&M a few weeks back, it’s tough to fault the kicker when the line looks like a sieve.

Delaware’s passing game. Thank goodness the Chickens QB can’t throw. Needed all the help we could get in this one.

Nov 13 / Todd

Gameday Open Thread: JMU @ Delaware

Man that felt good! Thanks Brady and company!

Man that felt good! Thanks Brady and company!

So happy we’re going to be able to add some sweet sweet revenge on the Ticks in the men’s hoops’ opener tonight into Sunday’s Good, Bad, and Ugly but here’s the open thread for what we all hope will be the Dukes’ magic win #8 tomorrow. We’ll be a bit out of touch today (Todd’s hosting watch party and Rob’s traveling this weekend) but will catch up with you all late night!

Nov 12 / Todd

JMUSB Game #10 Preview: JMU @ America’s Taint

Two sides of the enormous, three-sided, world-famous Delaware "Piss Wall." Seriously, this is the men's room at The Tub. Also, do you know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to try to snap a photo in this situation?! Talk about awkward visiting fan.

Two sides of the enormous, three-sided, world-famous Delaware “Piss Wall.” Seriously, this is the men’s room at The Tub. Also, do you know how difficult and uncomfortable it is to try to snap a photo in this situation?! Talk about awkward visiting fan.

Well time to pack up the tailgate and head north to the place that gives the other Newark a good name. And don’t forget the extra money for tolls. Normally we’d advise puke-bibs for the Preakness trolls and general Baltimore/Philly hellhole corridor denizens, but everyone under 75 years old has abandoned all support and hope for the once proud Blue Chickens program, so just make sure not to get caught in the long lines for the early-bird special at Old Country Buffet.

The Basics

#9 James Madison Dukes (7-2, 4-2 CAA) at Delaware Blue Hens (3-6,  CAA), 3:30 p.m. at Tubby Raymond Stadium in Newark, Delaware.

Coverage: Comcast SportsNet but SPECIAL NOTE: In at least Virginia and North Carolina, Comcast is not scheduled to pick this up until 4 p.m. following the 12:30 Virginia/Louisville game so don’t adjust your set or give up on the game if you tune in at 3:30 and the Dukes aren’t on. Patience grasshopper. Plus you should be able to watch the start on MadiZone (and/or CAA.TV) and then make the switch after the Hoos lose.

Weather: Getting brisk out there. 49 degrees, mostly sunny at kickoff. Wind 17 mph WNW and could be some factor.

Line: Dukes are favored by 19.

Why We Should Worry About the Chickens

Because Delaware somehow beat William & Mary and New Hampshire.

Why We Shouldn’t Worry About the Chickens

Because Delaware scored six (yes, 6) points total in three losses to Albany, Towson, and Rhode Island. Seriously, they were shut out at RhodeI and also lost to non-scholly Jacksonville (not Jacksonville St., just plain Jacksonville).

Honestly, we have no idea what to make of this team and there seems to be no logical pattern to this schedule:

9/4 L Jacksonville 20-14
9/12 W Lafayette 19-9
9/19 L @ VU 28-21
9/26 L @ UNC 41-14
10/3 W W&M 24-23
10/10 L @ URI 20-0
9/24 W UNH 31-14
10/31 L @ TU 19-0
11/7 L Albany 17-6

We do know they are woefully uncoached by what is shaping up to be one of the all-time CAA dud hires in Dave Brock, though it’s hard to blame just the HC when the AD seems way over his head and not in on the conversation with a school president and a state legislature dropping all pretense of even giving a shit about athletics in general. It seems like only yesterday we were hoping UD would get its act together so we could move to FBS together and now they stand as a constant reminder on multiple levels that for all of our frustration with the CAA and JMU’s inability to find (or accept) a way out, it can always be worse, and at least we should take heart that JMU not only hasn’t quit on athletics, but has actually doubled down in a lot of ways, especially the ways those only paying attention to football and men’s hoops don’t always see.

What We’re Looking for from the Dukes


Freshness and some new wrinkles. Coming off the bye week, we’re really looking for the Dukes to look re-energized after there incredibly draining weeks that ended with the W&M loss. And of course with the extra time to prep both scheme and Schor, we fully expect to see some creative new stuff on both sides of the ball. But mainly we want to see that they quickly shake off any rust or lethargy from the bye and that the Dukes have the ability to recapture the swagger they had earlier in a post-Vad, post-gameday world.

Tailgating Notes and Watch Parties

Delaware is tailgate-friendly and the weather looks good. Having made this trip before, I can vouch that the oldsters (yes, even older than us) being good sports so we strongly recommend this trip.

Also, I’ll be hosting the second-ever Triad Dukes Watch Party at Old Town Draught House in Greensboro, NC this weekend if anyone is in the area (you might be one of four of us so feel free!). Let us know in the comments if you know of other spots.

Beer of The Week

So we had been all-IPA early on, then got called out on it and switched for UR. We blamed the BOTW of course for that debacle and went back to an IPA for W&M. Clearly it’s not about the beer. So we’re going back to one we’ve discussed in past years, but it’s so far and away the best example of a style and it’s just that time of year. Founder’s Backwoods Bastard is darn near perfect. This is the Bourbon Barrel aged Ale from one of the country’s best breweries and it proves two things: 1) most people have no idea what they’re doing with bourbon or bourbon barrels mixed with beer and 2) when you do mix them, it’s cool to use an ale and not a stout. This year’s version is an enormous (but still beautiful) 11.6% so maybe save it for the second half.


Dukes 41, Delaware 17 – For all our wailing and the defense’s struggles, the Dukes have scored 49 and 41 in back-to-back games against top 10 teams and the CAA’s best. And everything we’ve seen from Schor and the relatively healthy (otherwise of course) offense gives us no reason to doubt they’ll keep up the pace. While Delaware should, like everyone else, be able to top their recent putrid averages, with two weeks for the Dukes to prepare and the Hens likely mailing in the end of a season of discord, there’s also no reason to think this will be nearly as bad as the last two. Hopefully we’ll all be talking playoffs Saturday night as the Dukes would almost surely clinch a bid with a win.