Oct 16 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Talking Football With Nikki Newman

We were lucky enough to haver Nikki Newman join us on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. Nikki is a former JMU basketball star and is currently working the sidelines for the JMU football radio calls on JMU Sprint Broadcast Network. She joined us to talk about her deep love of the Dukes, being a part of a family of JMU athletes, what she sees in this year’s football team, and then offers up some thoughts on the state of both hoops programs. We had a blast chatting with her and think everyone will really enjoy listening to her.

As always, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And give us a rating if you haven’t already.

Oct 15 / Todd

Good, Bad, Ugly from the Win at Villanova

The Dukes bounced back from their first conference loss in three years with an old-fashioned 37-0 whooping outside Philly over the previously good Villanova Wildcats.

The Good

Getting Healthy – So we’re guessing you may have noticed how much better the Dukes defense looked in all phases this week. And yes, some of that is because Villanova is average at their best and a flaming hot pile of garbage with a QB2/3 combination. But a lot of that was also due to the return to the field of a few key players. First, DT Adeeb Atariwa makes such a huge difference by helping clog the middle in the run game, something that was glaringly missing against Elon. Second, welcome to the season Landon Word! No offense to others that have been working in that backup linebacker role behind Moore and Holloway, but having Word back really beefs up that position. It also allows them to play a little heavier set to stop the run instead of having to bring Wayne Davis down into the box every play. If this defense continues bringing talent back to the field and manages to stay healthy for those already out there, they’re only going to continue improving.

Punt Return – We had to call this “Punt Return” instead of just DeAngelo Amos because he wasn’t even touched on the second of his back-to-back game-sealing punt return TD’s in the 3rd quarter. In other words, the entire return team needs full credit for winning this game. It was actually kind of funny how gassed Amos was on the second and had us laughingly thinking about whether they might need to take a timeout for the return team to “get a breather.” You don’t hear that everyday.

Jimmy ‘effin Moreland – Two of the biggest plays of the game came from JMU’s incredible playmaker. And neither of them were interceptions. Jimmy quietly forced a fumble and blocked a punt, and were it not for Amos’ returns, would easily be the talk of the week again. We’re out of words for our favorite player, but let’s hope it continues all the way to Frisco!

CAA Chaos – No idea whether anything beyond Elon losing to Delaware is good (they still need to lose again for JMU to have a shot at the title and auto-bid) or bad for JMU, but what a crazy week added on to an already crazy year. The Dukes certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to start building another streak over the last four games this year. And not playing Maine this year could even mean they don’t ever get a sniff of the autobid conversation – but as this week shows, even with only four weeks left, it’s probably way too early to talk about those things yet.

The Bad

Red Zone offense – Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Since the coaching staff knew that without their starting QB, Villanova could literally do nothing in this game it’s a little easier to understand all the settling-for-Field Goals, but this is officially a problem.

Standard Definition – Maybe those of you who streamed this online got something better, but for those of us who watched this on DTV at parties, it’s just so jarring when you get the small box these days.

The Ugly

Villanova – Well….that was….”special”? Without Zach Bednarcyzk, Villanova could do absolutely nothing on offense. Despite an FBS win over rival Temple, Nova is now 3-4 overall and 0-4 in the CAA. Their schedule actually makes it possible they could rally to 7-4, 4-4, but this is not a vintage Cats team. And scarily, just like after wins over W&M and RU, the Dukes probably need to keep their swagger in check during the bye week after this “meh” win given the opponent.

Oct 11 / Rob

2018-19 JMUSB Game Preview #7: JMU at Villanova

The JMU Dukes will take a quick trip up to PA this weekend to take on the Villanova Wildcats in battle of long time CAA rivals. The game will be played in the lovely confines of Villanova Stadium. Expect the tens of Wildcat fans there to be mildly interested in the game as they kill some free time before hoops season. Despite the fact that gameday atmosphere at Nova is about as rowdy as a church picnic, it’s proven to be a difficult road test for JMU historically. In fact, JMU is only 6-7 at Nova. Let’s get on with it.

The Basics

Matchup: #6 JMU Dukes (4-2, 2-1 CAA) at Villanova Wildcats (3-3, 0-3 CAA)

Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, PA

Weather: Temps in the 50s with 40% of AM showers

Coverage: Fox College Sports (FCS…ha!) on Dish and DirecTV, Fox Sports Go app and CAA.tv streaming read more…

Oct 10 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU Dukes vs. Villanova Wildcats

Alright folks. This is a big week. Not only do the Dukes have a chance to right the ship and get back to their winning ways, but we have a chance to get this prediction contest on track again. You might have noticed that we haven’t had any guest posts for the past two weeks. That’s because we never got a reply from the JMU vs. RU winner (disappointing), and last week not a single person picked Elon to win (love you guys). Hopefully we get a big JMU W and a prediction winner who can submit something as well. By now you know the drill. Leave a comment below with your prediction for Saturday’s game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. It’s very easy. So let us know your prediction and Go Dukes!

Oct 10 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: One Streak Ends and Hopefully Another Begins

The Dukes dropped their first CAA game under Mike Houston. We discuss the loss and how it changes things in the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. The sky isn’t falling people and we’ll explain why there might be a silver lining and the season just maybe could be a little more fun now. And after football we have a little discussion about some of our favorite JMU comfort foods.

As always, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And give us a rating if you haven’t already.

Oct 7 / Rob

A Few Thoughts on Elon 27 – JMU 24

The Elon Phoenix marched into Bridgeforth and did what no other team had ever done in the Mike Houston era. They defeated the JMU Dukes. The 27-24 defeat was JMU’s first at home since all the way back in October of 2015. It was the Dukes’ first CAA loss under Coach Houston. And it wasn’t a fluke. Elon simply outplayed, outmuscled, and outcoached JMU. Quibble all you want about officiating, silly mistakes, or what might have been. Credit to Elon though. The Phoenix came into Bridgeforth and won the ballgame. We’re gonna temporarily suspend the Good, Bad, and Ugly format (too much ugly) and just riff on a few thoughts after the loss instead.

Big Plays

In our eyes, this was the biggest difference in the game. Elon succeeded on a number of big plays throughout the game. The Phoenix had 7 different plays from scrimmage go for 30 yards plus. JMU only had 3 such plays. They also had a few on defense or special teams, but they were called back due to careless penalties. For the second week in a row, JMU’s pass defense let receivers go over the top and nail completions for big yards. It concerned us when it happened against Richmond, despite the fact that the game was so lopsided. Now that we’ve seen Elon do it, we’re officially worried. read more…

Oct 5 / Todd

2018-19 JMUSB Game Preview #6: Elon at JMU

Let the hatemail flow but this is and always will be Elon!

And so the real season begins! We know the players, Coach Houston, and a whole lot of more rational folks than us would say the season started six weeks ago, but aside from the trip to Raleigh, the Dukes are really playing their first true opponent of the season this week. Till this year, we were always under the impression the Tribe and Ticks also offered schollies, but we guess something must’ve changed in their administrative policies.

The Basics

Matchup: #10 Elon Phoenix (3-1, 1-0 CAA) at JMU Dukes (4-1, 2-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, VA

Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 76 degrees

Coverage: MASN and SNY, plus Madizone (thank goodness!)

FEPO: JMU -37.5 (wtf?! Isn’t this a top 10 matchup?), O/U 49

How Elon Can Win?

The ole Fightin’ Christians have GOT to limit the Dukes big plays. Elon and JMU have catapulted upwards so much in the coaching department with the additions of Curt Cignetti and Mike Houston respectably the last few years that it’s easy to overlook things that predated these new eras. But really since the day Elon joined the CAA, when you’ve watched these games in person the talent gap hasn’t felt all that big in the way it often does with Dukes opponents. But every game in those five years has turned out with JMU putting a hurting on the Burlington boys on the actual scoreboard. And it always seems to be a few enormous plays that turn these contests from a rockfights into runaways. As we saw last week with two hundred-yard returns in the first half, no matter how “average” JMU is playing, if you make those big mistakes, the Dukes will simply murder your soul soon. Through four games, Elon has shown itself to be capable grinders. In its FBS game, they fell behind still-undefeated USF early, but fought their way to only a semi-blowout. They’ve capably but never really impressively handled their business against a much tougher FCS slate than JMU has seen so far with wins over a ranked Furman team out of the SoCon, the painful triple-option attack of the Big South’s Chuck Southern, and a slow blowout of banged up New Hampshire last week. Their game with W&M was cancelled by Hurricane Florence, but its safe to assume that while it may not have been 51-0, that would’ve been the easiest game on their schedule so far. Really, really tough grinders (Weber, NDSU) are the one thing that gives JMU a hard time. Not sure Elon is on that level, but that’s what they have to aim for. You will not beat the Dukes in a shootout (Soft Houston, RU last year). But if you a) don’t huge mistakes and b) you’re willing and talented enough to be in a real fight for 60 minutes, that’s the formula for giving the Dukes a run. If Elon can do the former, that at least get the chance to prove if they can do the latter.

A huge part of Elon’s game this week will be proving if QB Davis Cheek and their passing attack is capable of making plays against what is sure to be a run-focused gameplan from the Dukes that, as usual, will leave DB’s isolated. Aside from JMU’s five-headed monster of course, Elon running back Marcus Summers may be the best pure rusher in the conference. He’s averaging over 100 yards a game and is clearly the Phoenix’s first option on offense. But when the Dukes inevitably take chances keying on Summers, can Elon find other ways to move the ball?

How JMU Can Win?

Be fired up and ready to go at kickoff and beyond in the first quarter. The Dukes need to recognize that while it was fun beating up on old rivals the last couple weeks, THIS is the first chance they’ve had since NC State to really make a statement. We’re not going all Bobby Bowden here and talking up how Elon is the ’83 Skins or something, but they’re well-coached, motivated, and simply good, team. They’re exactly the kind of team JMU would do well not to let hang around or control the game in the first half leading to a surge of belief in the second. In other words, no dicking around. Our hope is that the challenge of stopping a touted back like Summers will have at least the Defense keyed in from the jump and that the offense will continue the growth we’ve seen game-to-game this year.

Also, Elon has some players up front on D and JMU will have to either show they can move those fellas and keep Marshall and co. rolling or show they can make not only big plays, but also ball-control shorter passes to move the ball.

Oh yeah, also, to our boy Harry, you’ve used up your one shank and one missed tackle for the year, so get back to business. We kid because we love!

Beer of the Week

There are two schools of thought on beers for Family Weekend. The decent, well-meaning among us would choose a nice low-ABV choice that family members will also enjoy regardless of their normal preferences. Maybe something like Founders Solid Gold Lager.

And then there’s us and our ilk. If we had the beer selections available today when we were in school, we absolutely would’ve taken advantage of Mom’s Visa to go to Pale Fire and pick up a few growlers of Salad Days American Saison – no shame in Mom’s Visa when you’re a student.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Dukes friggin’ roll and even we become unafraid to let the hype-train out the station! JMU 42, Elon 10

Oct 3 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Elon

It’s Family Weekend and the Dukes welcome the Elon Phoenix to the ‘burg for the biggest CAA match-up of this young season. It should be a tougher test than JMU’s previous CAA games. And we’d like to know how you think it will play out. Leave a comment below with your prediction for the game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score), will get to write a guest post. That’s it. So give us your prediction and Go Duke!

Oct 2 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Real Season Begins This Week

The Dukes crushed the Spiders. It was glorious. But it didn’t really teach us anything we didn’t already know about this team. So on this week’s edition of the JMUSB Podcast, we discuss the game, but also spend some time looking forward to the big game against Elon this weekend. It’s the first in a series of very tough CAA games for the Dukes and one we’re really looking forward to. We wrap things up with a discussion about some of the worst mascots in college sports.

As always, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And give us a rating if you haven’t already.

Sep 30 / Rob

Good, Bad, and Ugly From the JMU Beatdown of Richmond

For the second week in a row, JMU just ran away from a long time in-state CAA rival. This time it was the RU Spiders on the receiving end of an absolute beat down. JMU scored touchdowns in all 3 phases and handed Richmond a 63-10 defeat. It was glorious. Despite the fact there were thousands of purple & gold fans, it was technically an away game. And the 53 point margin was the largest on the road in JMU football history. Here’s the good, bad, and ugly from the big win.


Scoring in All 3 Phases – Juwon Hamilton got things started with a bang, taking the opening kick-off 93 yards for a TD. It got JMU out to a lead, the Dukes never surrendered. In addition to scoring on special teams, Nooch (and Gage Maloney) and the offense got in the endzone 7 times. And for the 3rd game in a row, Jimmy Effin’ Moreland had a pick 6. Fun fact, Jimmy has outscored JMU’s FCS opponents 18-17. read more…