Dec 12 / Todd

2019 Quarterfinals Preview: UNI at JMU

The Basics

Matchup: #6 Northern Iowa Panthers (10-4, 6-2 MVFC) at #2 JMU Dukes (12-1, 8-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. Friday, Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, VA

Weather: As rough as it gets. Seriously, pretty sure we can all agree that 29 and snowing would even be way preferable to 35 and raining, but here we are. The good news is that we don’t think the heavy stuff is going to come down for a few more hours!

Broadcast: ESPN2 – with the very solid Anish Shroff on the call.

Boys in the Desert: JMU – 19.5 O/U 47, ML -1250. This line has gone up all week and seems inflated based on the dummy public underrating of UNI. In any case, the high spread doesn’t match the money line so stay away.

A Bit About Northern Iowa

A regional public in the Cedar-Falls/Waterloo area, UNI is about the same size JMU was 25 years ago with just over 10,000 students. And similar to JMU, they began as the “Iowa State Normal School” and then the “Iowa State Teachers College.”

They play in the very cool “UNI-Dome.” Oddly, they’ve been a 1-AA/FCS powerhouse since just about the time JMU became one – losing the title game in ’05 to App. St. and spending most of ’07 at #1. But the teams have never met before. As we all know, Kurt Warner led the Panthers before his HOF career in the NFL. Like JMU, UNI is fairly well-rounded with their Athletics’ program, frequently near the top of Valley’s strong hoops’ conference and having authored a memorable upset of Kansas in the big dance a few years back. And like seemingly all Iowans, they care more than anyone else about wrestling, where they compete in the Big 12 with some of the true big boys of the sport.

Finally, for the old-heads on the message boards, one unfortunate fact is that UNI has one of the single-worst posters on the internet. He makes Soft Houston’s PodKnows look alright. He’s really right on par with ODuh’s Razor and the guy who almost ruined Montana’s whole program in terms of being a true ignorant douche-canoe. It sucks cause otherwise their fans seem pretty cool and it’s always hard to believe in FCS when one guy spoils a whole community’s opinion of a fanbase.

How UNI Can Win

The Panthers need to ride their legit Top-10 defense and the bad weather to an ugly win. Really it’s the same blueprint they followed last week when they recovered from a slow start and just generally mucked up the game in upsetting South Dakota St. 13-10 on the road. Even in the first round, they basically followed that script when they suffocated San Diego’s high-flying offense in a 17-3 snoozer.

UNI created turnovers in both games, most notably what became the game-winning pick six in their first rounder against the Toreros, and they’ll likely need to so again. Their 7th ranked Defense has given up just 10 points or less in six of their last seven contests.

On offense though, the Panthers have scored 30 just three times all year and scraped out 20 only once in their last five after losing so many of their weapons to injury. Pre-season All-American TE Briley Moore has been out since Week 1 when he was hurt at Iowa St. (though notably he could return this week and still redshirt). Top RB Hoosman has been missing for some time. And they lost top WR Isaiah Weston last week (questionable for this week). But they’ve been grinding the clock with Senior RB Trevor Allen and elusive r-Fr. QB Will McElvain. Nothing explosive – especially if they’re without Weston – but UNI has shown they’re capable of surviving.

How JMU Can Win

Protect the football. Hate to simplify this too much and really don’t mean to disrespect a gritty UNI team that has played arguably the toughest schedule in the country (Weber and Iowa St. out of conference plus NDSU, SDSU (2x), and ISU in the Valley. But they can’t score. And they’re massively banged up on offense. And JMU doesn’t haven’t anyone suspended (yet) for targeting this week. As good as UNI’s defense has been, it’s going to take more than 13 points, maybe considerably more, to beat the Dukes in BFS. If the Dukes protect the football, they should win this game. Forget the weather and handle their business and JMU will be back with better weather and a way better crowd a week from now. Really the best thing the Dukes beyond taking care of the ball is show just how dominant they are capable of being on the defensive side against what could be an overmatched unit in that matchup.

Beer of the Week

Bourbon. Cold. Dark. Perfect. Nuff said.

Official JMUSB Prediction

JMU 30, UNI 9

Ugly. Ruthlessly effective.

Dec 11 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. UNI

The Dukes are moving on. They took care of business in their 2019 playoff debut by crushing Monmouth. Now they’ll take on Northern Iowa and its well regarded defense. And we’d like to know how you think it will play out.

Leave a comment below with your prediction for Friday night’s game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. It’s that simple. So leave a comment below with your prediction and Go Dukes!

Dec 10 / jmusport

Guest Post: The Prodigal Son Returns to the Fold

Matt Uliana won the prediction for the regular season finale. Here’s his fantastic guest post about his JMU fandom returning long after he played his last game for the Dukes.

The author taking down Georgia Southern QB Raymond Gross in pre-Bridgeforth JMU Stadium (1989)

I’ll start off my guest post by thanking Rob and Todd for giving me the opportunity to make this paltry contribution to their excellent blog. I was told that I could write about whatever I wanted (provided I play nice and don’t slag any players or coaches too bad), so I figured I’d write about the thing I like the most and know the most about…. me. Be advised – this post is long and completely self-indulgent, though I did my best to keep it relevant to the spirit of the blog. 

Like many of you reading this, I am not only a JMU sports fan, but also an alumnus. But unlike most of you, I’m also a former JMU football player – I was a member of Coach Joe Purzycki’s inaugural recruiting class, I played from 1985 through 1989 as a defensive lineman, and I started every game of the 1989 season at D-tackle. Oh, and I lead the team in quarterback sacks my final year (and if you don’t believe me, check out page 172 in the 2014 JMU Football Media Guide). 

Most college graduates I know look back fondly on their school years – it’s always about how it was the best time of their lives, how much fun everyone had, how they wish they could go back, etc. I have never once regretted my decision to go to JMU, but I don’t mind saying here that my undergraduate experience was, quite frankly, not all that great. Sure, I had lots of friends, there was quite a bit of alcohol and random debauchery, and I graduated with a good, marketable B.S. degree, but overall it really wasn’t fun. The main reason for that? Football. 

People occasionally ask about my playing experience, and they generally seem surprised when all I can say is that, in the end, I got more out of football than football got out of me. On the plus side? First of all, it paid for college – I graduated with a solid degree from a damn good school with zero debt. Second, it played a big role in my formative years and the experience made me a much stronger person in all aspects of my life. Finally, I had some truly memorable moments on the field my senior year, I ended my career knowing that I earned the respect of at least some of my opponents, and I was able to walk away from the game with a clear sense of closure.

So what was the downside? First of all, people don’t realize how much playing football at that level monopolizes your life. I won’t bore you with the details but trust me – playing college football takes a lot out of you and significantly limits your available time for scheduling classes, studying, and doing important things like beer slides with your friends in Shorts Hall or road-tripping to UVA on a Saturday to see Hüsker Dü’s final tour. That was all compounded for me by an injury in my freshman year that was initially mis-diagnosed, resulting in a string of setbacks that kept me on the sidelines for my first four seasons. On top of that, we were a perennially .500 team that was not terribly appreciated by the students – sure, people showed up for games, and they seemed to like it when we won, but nothing like the way it is today. The typical attitude other students had towards the football team in those days was generally somewhere between indifference and outright resentment because they thought we had it easy and got all sorts of free money and concessions just for playing a sport. 

Please don’t get me wrong and think that I’m whining or looking for sympathy here – as I said, I got more out of it than it got out of me and I don’t regret sticking with it to the end. But I didn’t have those feelings of gratitude at the end of my career, and when I was done at JMU I blew out of town as fast as I could and never looked back. I didn’t keep in contact with any of my teammates, coaches, friends, professors, anyone. Not only did I not follow JMU football, but I didn’t watch another football game on TV for well over a decade. To me, football and college were just a chapter in my life that no longer mattered, and I was onto bigger and better things. 

I ended up in Austin, got a couple of graduate degrees, met and married the love of my life, and started a career. I hardly thought about JMU at all in those years; in fact, I only found out about the 2004 national championship when I noticed JMU on ESPN playing Bill & Mary in the middle of December. Even after they won that first national championship, I still didn’t care enough to follow the team or even reach out to anyone from those days. 

Then around 2013 I heard that my nephew Andrew, at the time a senior in high school, was dead-set on going to JMU for college. Suddenly I had a direct connection back to the ‘Burg, and I started looking into the current state of my alma mater. What a surprise it was to find that

  1. JMU is a helluva lot bigger! More than twice as many students and extensive development on the other side of IH-81
  2. It’s still one of the best public universities in the state, if not in the country
  3. The football team knows how to win, has made regular playoff appearances since 2004, and – most surprising to me – has a rabid fan base that creates a hostile environment for visiting teams. 

Andrew introduced me to this blog and to jmusports.com, and he let me know about the first ESPN Gameday. Then he got a job with the team and spent his junior and senior years working as the videographer. Suddenly I was not only connected to, but legitimately interested in my old team. I started following the games, streaming video when available and, if not, following the ESPN gamecasts on my phone. I went on-line and bought official JMU Football t-shirts and wore them proudly. I followed the 2016 season religiously and told all my friends and coworkers about how JMU is now the Alabama of FCS. I watched the semifinals at the bar in my friend’s basement, shouting with delight as the mighty Bisons got taken down and as everyone else in the room tried their best to ignore me. Then, after the first of the year, I headed up IH-35 to Frisco, met up with some old friends, reveled in the drunken ocean of purple in the parking lot, and watched the Dukes do something that I once dreamed of doing, back when I was young and still loved the sport. And when it was over, I rushed the field along with everyone else, found my nephew, and managed to get the perfect shot:

Then as I stood on the field, watching those kids celebrate what may be the greatest moment in their lives, I had something of an epiphany. I realized that I am a part of the history of this team. Those years I spent on campus giving up a big part of my life (and my right knee) for this team has, in some small way, helped to lay the foundation for what has become a legendary sports program that is helping to create life-changing experiences for young men, guys that are not too different from the man I was 30 years ago. I’m really proud of that now, and I’ve come to realize that those days I spent on the Quad and on the field actually were some of the best of my life. 

So I’ll end this now by saying thank you to Andrew Uliana for reconnecting me to an important part of my past, to Rob & Todd for keeping me informed and entertained, to Joe Purzycki and all the my former teammates and coaches for playing such an important part in my formative years, and to all of you in the Duke Nation for building the best fan base any school could hope to have. I will see you all on the field in Frisco this January, either in person or in spirit, and I will keep rootin’ till the end!

Dec 9 / Rob

Three Thoughts On JMU 66 – Monmouth 21

Monmouth came to Bridgeforth Stadium ready to shock the world in the second round of the 2019 FCS Playoffs. The Hawks did not shock the world. Instead, the JMU Dukes weathered a lighting fast start by Monmouth and won going away. Things started off kind of bleak for Coach Cignetti and the boys when Pete Guerriero took a handoff on the first play from scrimmage and proceeded to go 93 yards for a TD. Then after Ben Dinucci and the JMU offense answered with a 5 play 73 yard TD drive of their own, Monmouth took the ensuing kickoff back for 6. It was not an ideal start for JMU. The teams traded scores and ended the first quarter tied at 21. Long story, short, the Dukes absolutely crushed from that point forward. Here are three quick thoughts on JMU’s big 45 point win.

Steady as She Goes

We were both in the stands for the game. Maybe the vibe was different for folks watching on TV, but I swear, nobody lost faith even after Monmouth’s fast start. There was plenty of frustration in the stands, for sure, but nobody was panicking or worried that the Dukes were giving the game away in the first quarter. And that’s because there were no signs of panic by any of the players or coaches.

We’d be lying if we said we could tell you the players were thinking after Monmouth went to house on its first play. And we’re not even going to attempt to guess how they felt when the teams ended the first quarter locked at 21. But we sure didn’t see anyone who looked like they’d given up. And we didn’t see players or coaches losing control. We just saw a bunch of guys going about their business.

We’ve said all season that Cignetti’s no-nonsense approach, might not make fans want to run through brick walls, but it pays dividends when the team hits adversity. Yesterday was another perfect example. The Nooch and the offense kept going out there and marching down the field to answer Monmouth. It was as if they knew as long as they did their jobs, the D would eventually get it together, then they’d run away with it. This team is just so steady and determined. It’s a joy to watch.

Weapons and Weapons and Weapons

This is one of the most diverse offensive units that we can recall JMU having. Brandon Polk has done enough in his only season for the Dukes to be considered one of the greats. He caught 6 passes for 83 yards against Monmouth and became only the second Duke ever to exceed 1,000 yards receiving in a season. His battery mate Riley Stapleton did typical “Riley in the Playoffs” things, catching 7 balls for 87 yards. Jake Brown made a few big grabs and Devin Ravenel only had one catch, but it was a great grab that moved the chains on a wonderfully aggressive fourth down call. Oh, and Dylan Stapleton has also become a consistent and dangerous outlet for Nooch. There is so much talent in the passing attack that defenses are routinely forced into bad matchups that JMU can exploit.

And the running game is just punishing teams. JMU’s offensive line has been perhaps the most underrated reason for the team’s success. They’ve manhandled opponents all season, particularly deep in games when lesser units can fade. Juwon Hamilton and Percy Agyei-Obese keep defenses up at night by themselves. Throw in secondary options like Soloman Vanhorse and lately, Erik Kirlew, and it’s not a fair fight.

Hit Pause on the Attendance Shaming

First off, we admit that we’re guilty of stoking this particular fire with some of pregame comments during pretty much every JMU playoff run. Trust us when we tell that we do it more in attempt to rally the troops and encourage folks to go to games, than to actually knock folks who can’t make it to Bridgeforth week in and week out.

We’ve seen the griping online about how many (how few?) people attended this particular game. We were both fortunate to be in the stands though and we’re telling you, the numbers might have been light, but the atmosphere was still fantastic. We didn’t hear anyone griping about empty seats or wasting much effort even thinking about it. We all just rooted and enjoyed the day.

We’d all love the stadium to be packed for these playoff games. But we shouldn’t get so worked up about attendance, that we start taking swipes at each other or doing things that distract us from enjoying this run.

I’ve been a season ticket holder for over a decade and yesterday’s game was the first I was able to attend all year. Yeah, I feel sort of bad about it, but life happens. I’ve got a wonderful wife and two great kids. Weekends fill up fast and sometimes I can’t make the drive to the ‘burg to watch the Dukes. That’s true for a lot of people, especially this time of year. It does nobody any good to get all worked up about it.

I get it. I’ve gotten really worked up about poor attendance in the past too. Ironically enough, I’m 99.99% sure every time I’ve complained about the stadium looks, it’s been from the comfort of my own couch as I watch on television. I know how hypocritical that is. But I have a feeling I’m not alone. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe we personally accept the completely valid reasons we have for not attending a game, while simultaneously discounting that others might have their own valid reasons and hoping they’ll drop what they’re doing to make up for our absence. I don’t know. The human mind is a weird thing.

When I’m in the stands like I was yesterday though, I’m having too much fun and not really concerned with much else beyond what’s happening on the field. So maybe the solution is that we all just root. If we’re sitting in front of our TVs, root. If we’re out running errands watching on our phones, root. If we’re in the stadium, root. Screaming about what everyone else should be doing or where they should be doing it from, isn’t going to do anything than take away from our own enjoyment of the games.

Dec 6 / Todd

2019 Round of 16 Playoff Preview: Monmouth at JMU

The Basics

Matchup: #14 Monmouth Hawks (11-2, 6-0 Big South) at #2 JMU Dukes (11-1, 8-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 1:00 p.m., Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, VA

Weather: Sunny, High 44. Can’t ask for much better, but it’s playoff time and you know how the Valley gets at halftime when it’s dark so bring all the handwarmers (and the bourbon).

Broadcast: ESPN3. Thankfully, this is the free service for those with a cable package, not the ESPN+ so Dukes everywhere should be able to tune in.

Boys in the Desert: JMU -28.5 O/U 64, ML -7500 (YIKES!). This line has gone up all week and seems inflated based on the dummy public underrating Monmouth. Hope we’re wrong though!

How Monmouth Can Win

Do what they do on offense and disrupt the Dukes enough on D. Monmouth has scored with everyone they’ve played (including Albany and Montana) all season. Monmouth has wins over two more teams still alive in the tournament than the Dukes do (Albany, Kennesaw St.). They’re good. And any Dukes fans that think otherwise are the casual RVA fans who will be angrily yelling about the halftime score and pining for Houston while they’re checking the score on their phone in the bathroom while they’re making the turn at CCV on Saturday.

But what Monmouth really needs here is to take advantage of a Dukes’ defense that will be without DT Adeeb Atariwa for the first half thanks to the joke that is the CAA. They probably need their track superstar, and the nation’s leading rusher, Pete Guerriero to get untracked and stake them to a lead they can hang onto. Their dual-threat veteran QB Kenji Bahar, is really solid too, but he looked like maybe he was banged up in their blowout of Holy Cross last weekend so they’ll need to somehow come up with a way to protect him.

It’s really hard to see Monmouth completely shutting down the JMU offense, but if they can force turnovers to add to their own total, they could really put pressure on the Dukes and wake up the echoes of Colgate.

How JMU Can Win

Limit mistakes, hang tough mentally, and let talent and depth take over in the second half. Monmouth is legit. Monmouth will probably break off a big play or two in the first half. The Dukes need to keep their heads up and have a “next play” mentality. If they can take of the ball on offense, the Dukes line and talent should wear the Hawks down in the second half like we’ve seen so many other times this year. It may take a little longer against a veteran and motivated team with nothing to lose, but if JMU hasn’t shot itself in the foot, it will happen.

They also need to win the special team battle. Both teams have shown a penchant for less-than-stellar kick coverage at times this year and the Dukes would be well-served to be the ones to get it right this week. Also a spot where JMU athletes like Juwan and De’Angelo could do big things.

Lastly, it’s going to be really fun to watch the JMU defense try to rise to the challenge against the nation’s leading rusher. If they can survive the first half without Adeeb, the Dukes could give us die-hards in the stands the chance to yell our faces off this week.

Beer of the Week

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery’s Fat Boys Imperial IPA. It’s big and tasty and high ABV and it’s time for the fat boys to take over. Also, Vanish is amazing and you should make the trip out to Lucketts as soon as possible.

Official JMUSB Prediction

This game feels sooooo much like the UNH game to open the playoffs in ’16. We’re all a little skittish off last year’s Colgate debacle (same). We know the opponent is very capable and highly skilled but we “think” the Dukes are probably an order of magnitude better. And we’re watching our new coach that we’ve come to love and hoping his team can prove it when it counts.

Houston waited till pregame for the infamous and emotional war cry of “Lock the Damn Gates!” That was fitting for his style. Coach Cig just matter-of-factly tweeted out “No, it’s not” on a Monday. Seems fitting for him. As they say, different strokes. But let’s just hope the very different methods lead to the same iconic outcomes.

JMU 45, Monmouth 22

Dec 4 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Monmouth

It’s playoffs time and JMU is finally ready to take the field in round 2. The Monmouth Hawks will be the Dukes’ opponent. They’ll bring the FCS’s leading rusher to Bridgeforth and attempt to pull off the upset. And we’d like to know how you think the game will play out. Leave a comment below letting us know who you think will win and what the final score will be. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Now get ready to root and Go Dukes!

Dec 1 / Rob

Monmouth It Is Then

The JMU Dukes spent the opening weekend of the 2019 FCS Playoffs resting up and waiting to see who they’d play. Monmouth took care of business by beating Holy Cross 44-27, and now the Hawks will head to the ‘burg to take on JMU in round two. In the win, Monmouth jumped out a 23-0 lead, before Holy Cross rallied to make it a game (on paper). The Hawks were the better team and the deserving winner. It was Monmouth’s first ever FCS playoff win. The Dukes will aim to make it their last one for a while when the teams face off on Saturday in Bridgeforth. Monmouth isn’t a household name in the world of football (or anything else really), but it’s a solid program. Here are a few quick facts about the Hawks to get you ready for the big game this week.

Going Streaking

Monmouth’s win over Holy Cross was its 9th straight. The Hawks went undefeated in conference play to win the Big South and haven’t lost a game since all the way back in September, when they lost to Montana in Missoula.

Lighting Up the Scoreboard

Monmouth can put some points on the board. During the Hawks’ 9 game winning streak, they’ve scored 35 or more points 8 times and have averaged 42 points a game.

Run, Run, Run

The Hawks like to run the ball. And they’re good at it. Their running back, Pete Guerriero is an absolute stud. He entered the first round game against Holy Cross as the FCS’s leading rusher averaging 139 yards a game. Then all he did was run for 220 yards and 3 TDs. It was his third straight game with over 200 rushing yards.

Slightly Banged Up

Monmouth loves to run, but they can throw it too. QB Kenji Bahar has completed over 65% of his passes for 3,511 yards with 29 TDs and only 8 picks. But he pulled up with what appeared to be some sort of leg injury during the first half against Holy Cross. He stayed in the game, but had limited mobility. His health could be a huge factor, especially with JMU’s ability to get the quarterback.

Nov 22 / Rob

2019 JMUSB Game Preview #12: JMU at Rhode Island

When I was probably about 9 or 10 years old, we took a family trip to Rhode Island. There’s not a lot that I remember about the trip, but a few things stand out. First, my sisters and I thought Del’s Frozen Lemonade was the greatest thing ever. I can assure you that Del’s is still great as an adult. Second, there was some sort of tropical storm or hurricane brewing off the coast. My dad decided that made it the perfect time to go body surfing. The waves were huge and it wasn’t exactly, um, safe. But it was a blast. Right up to the point where the lifeguards called us (the only swimmers) in and closed the beach. That instilled me with the parenting instincts I rely on today. And finally, I picked out a t-shirt that said “Rhode Island, the Biggest Little State in the Union.” Grade school aged me thought it was the cleverest thing I’d ever seen. And it kind of reminds me of the 2019 Rhode Island Rams football team, which might be the best last place team you’ll ever find.

This is not to say that Rhode Island is good or that JMU needs to be fearful. JMU should win this game. The Rams are 2-9 overall and 0-7 in CAA play. But they’re no pushover. Aside from a couple of lopsided losses to William & Mary & Elon, they’ve been in most games. They took UD to OT, lost to Stony Brook on a miracle last second run, stayed within a touchdown of Albany and Maine, and dropped a close one to UNH by a field goal. This is nothing like the Rhody teams from the past, that wasn’t even competitive. With any degree of luck, the Rams could be a middle of the pack CAA team. Of course, JMU has shown it’s capable of beating pretty much any CAA team.

How Rhode Island Can Win

The Rams need to go for broke and sling it around. Rhody has a dangerous passing attack. Quarterback Vito Priore has thrown for more yards than any quarterback in the CAA. And he’s got a pair of stud receivers in Aaron Parker and Isaiah Coulter. They each average 15 yards a catch. Parker has racked up 1,158 yards and Coulter has 974. And those numbers aren’t due to any sort of gimmick offense. It’s just consistent pitching and catching.

The Ram defense on the other hand, is not very good. Rhode Island can’t count on shutting down the Dukes offense. They’ve traded punches with most CAA opponents all year and tried to win shootouts. It hasn’t work yet, but it’s the approach they’ll take again Saturday. They’ll just try to air it out, match JMU score for score, and hope to have the ball last.

How JMU Can Win

Pressure the QB on D and establish the run on offense. This sounds like a cliche straight out your 1980s football guide book. It’s true though. You might wonder how a team can go winless in conference with a passing attack like the Rams’. Well, it’s because the defense stinks on ice. They’re not bad against the pass, but they can’t stop anyone running the ball. Teams have averaged over 6 yards a carry against Rhode Island. The JMU offense has shown it can put the pedal to the metal and score on pretty much anyone. And they can do it quickly. But this might be a week where they decide to just run it down the Rams’ throats and keep Priore off the field.

When Priore and the offense are on the field, the Dukes need to be all over him. He’s a good QB, but he’s not particularly mobile. Rhody isn’t going to run on JMU. They should have a much easier time throwing the ball. So it’s absolutely critical that Carter, Daka, and the rest of the Dukes don’t give Priore time.

A Few Recommendations for JMU Fans Making the Trip

I’ve spent a lot of time in the Ocean State, particularly in Newport. It’s a special place for my family. And if you’re going to the game this weekend, you really should be staying in Newport. Here are a few spots I’d recommend hitting up.

Brick Alley Pub

My top pick for a post game meal and night cap. It’s not super fancy, but it’s good food and good drink. For DMV folks, the best way I can describe it is as the Old Ebbitt Grill of Newport. And the lobster bisque is my wife’s all time favorite dish from any restaurant on earth. Order it. Don’t sleep on the Portuguese clams though.

Winner Winner

I’ve had the Popeye’s chicken sandwich. It’s good. It’s not worth waiting in line for. Winner Winner makes a much better version. Drop your Southern bias and give it a shot. Great option on Sunday for anyone who might have been over-served Saturday.

Fluke

Make a post game reservation if you’re trying to combine rootin and date night. And ask to sit upstairs with a water view.

Midtown Oyster Bar

Fun place. Great oysters. I’ve celebrated multiple birthdays here and have never been disappointed.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Last regular season game of the year. First place JMU squad against a last place URI team. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but this might call for a celebratory beer. Let’s go big and make HammerTown by Three Notch’d Brewing our JMUSB BOTW. It’s a big, big IPA with a lot of grapefruit flavors. And it will definitely put you in the right mood should JMU take care of business and lock up the #2 seed for the playoffs.

Official JMUSB Prediction

The Rams throw it around and make a few big plays, but Daka, Carter and the boys disrupt Rhody’s offense while The Nooch and the O keep humming. JMU rolls and secures a top seed for the playoffs. JMU 45 – URI 14.

Nov 21 / jmusport

Guest Post: More Spider Stomping Memories

Rick Deloney won last week’s prediction contest. Here is his guest post all about his favorite victories over RU.

Hello, good evening, and welcome!

I am the Director of Marching Percussion at JMU, and I’m currently in my 20th year of teaching for the Marching Royal Dukes. I’ve been to many JMU VS Richmond football games, and have seen quite a few in the old City stadium in Richmond. Now that they play in that little sandbox they have on campus, the band is no longer allowed to attend.

Three of my favorite moments of JMU beating Richmond happened in that stadium all at the same game. October 11, 2008. (Credit given to all videos)

The Jump Pass

Rodney Landers jump pass to Mike Caussin was special. Still early in the game, and for as long as I have watched football, I’ve never seen this executed so well.

I happened to be standing on the other side of the field (from this video), so I got to watch this close up.

It was pretty amazing!

The Comeback

Both teams were ranked very high (JMU #1, and UR #5), played well, and it took a little bit of JMU magic and ball control from Field Marshall Landers to get us back into a tie at the end.

Don’t kick it to Scotty!

And the number one play on ESPN the next day. The return. All they had to do was kick it away from him. But no, right down the middle. Right to him. (Warning: Lots of yelling on the first clip)

I was back in the end zone with the band when it happened. We saw the whole play come right to us.

Yes, we love beating Richmond, our biggest rival (in my opinion), and I’m happy to have seen it happen many times! Congratulations to the Dukes for the 48-6 butt whooping we they handed to Richmond last Saturday. Now on to Rhode Island!

Thank you to the JMU Sports Blog for allowing me to share a few memories. See you at the playoffs.

Nov 20 / Rob

Prediction Contest: Dukes vs. Rams

Saturday’s game at Rhode Island is the regular season finale for JMU. Can you believe it? Feels like the WVU game was about a week ago. Anyway, y’all know the drill by now. It’s time for our JMUSB prediction contest. Leave a comment below letting know who will win and what the final score will be. The person who come’s closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Now start wearing purple and root for Dukes!