Dec 3 / Todd

Great, Good, Bad, Ugly from Dukes Round of 16 Victory

No automatic alt text available.The Great

We’re adding an opening “Great” category because one bit of unprecedented wondrousness happened on Saturday that deserves it’s own category.

Touchdown Squirrel! – The Touchdown Squirrel set career marks in every way yesterday. Over the years Touchdown Squirrel has made intermittent appearances but never before has she won the crowd’s heart like yesterday. During a break in the action in the second half she appeared out of nowhere and made a defender-dodging run for the end zone like we’ve never seen before, complete with hesitation moves, spins, and all the flair of peak Reggie Bush. And of course, the best part was when the line judge positioned himself on the goal line and triumphantly and emphatically threw up the TD signal when she crossed the plane. Streamers flew and all was right in the world. Way to go TD Squirrel and you’re welcome back anytime!

The Good

Five Interceptions – That helps. A Lot. By tying the Division 1 record for most interceptions in a game, the Dukes pretty much made Joe Carbone, the poor man’s Jeremiah Briscoe, look like exactly who we all hoped he was and snuffed out all chances for a Stony Brook upset. And the fact the interceptions came from five different players (Brown, Robinson, Oliver, Moreland, and Greene). Jimmy ‘effin Moreland’s pick was a typically Jimmy highlight-reel play. And Raven Greene’s pick tied the all-time JMU mark for interceptions (he nearly had the record-breaker too).

D-Line – This group was the underrated star of this one! Stony Brook brought a big, strong O-Line and rushing attach to BFS and got absolutely smacked down but this entire unit. They controlled the line of scrimmage and despite the lack of eye-popping sack numbers we’ve grown accustomed to, consistently collapsed the pocket and made SB’s QB’s look hideous.

Terrance Alls – Like Touchdown Squirrel, the senior WR had a career day and generally looked like the best player on the field. He had 10 catches for 94 yards and a TD plus another solid 9-yard run on an end-around. Mostly, he looked like playoff-Ravenel from last year in leaving no doubt who the alpha-target is when it matters and that’s a huge positive going forward.

DeAngelo Amos and Riley Stapleton – With John Miller getting hurt yesterday, these two picked up the slack in resounding fashion. Stapleton, who’s seemingly been in and out of offensive gameplans this season, backed up Alls outside as a great target for Schor and showed some flashes of why those inside the program think he’s special. And then of course backup Safety Amos filled in at punt returner where he only managed to turn in the game’s backbreaking play with a 49-yard return in the second half (where he was assisted by Bryce Maginley who picked up not one but two key blocks downfield).

Bryan Schor – The senior quarterback broke another record yesterday, this time Justin Rascati’s career completions record, and went a ho-hum 24-35 for 255 yards and 2 TD’s. And it really is crazy that we were texting each other with nits to pick on his play which seems to be what happens every week with this amazing kid. Any time he doesn’t look like Superman out there we all quietly grouse and then you look up and the Dukes have beaten another strong opponent by multiple scores in large part thanks to his consistent excellence.

Crowd – It was small, but by no means the smallest playoff crowd JMU has had over the years. But those that were there were fantastic as we’ve come to expect from playoff crowds which are made up almost entirely of football fans, not just Homecoming or Family Weekend bloat. Our guess is it’ll be even larger this week with the Friday night kick being tough to make on time, but much less weekend-killing when it comes to holiday commitments for the RVA and Nova fans. (also note Friday is the last day of classes before exams but students will still ALL be in town)

The Bad

Stony Brook coaching decisions – You punt on 4th and 4 in plus territory but throw a  desperate fade on 4th and 11 in the same situation the next time? And while it looked like Carbone got nicked up early, when they went to the more run-oriented backup, they didn’t even try to give the appearance of throwing the ball which allowed the Dukes to stack the box and shut them down. I mean, he couldn’t have been worse than the guy who threw five pickles, right?

The Ugly

Injuries – Dukes look like they may have lost a couple important contributors yesterday in WR/PR John Miller and Guard AJ Bolden. Every team is facing these issues this time of year (and it’ll be interesting to see how healthy Weber St. is after grinding out two tough wins over WIU and SUU), but these two give us pause. Hopefully Amos, Archie and co. that filled in for Miller can be the next man up. And guys like Bethea and Fornadel have gained valuable experience this season to fill in for Bolden, but the left side of the line has been the one consistent with that group and they’ll need to get right with Stinnie and Patrick before Friday. It was great to see Curtis Oliver come back in the game and look good after he was banged up. And while we believe in Ratke, the missed XP and the shorter kickoffs early served as a reminder that Tyler Gray remains out.

6 Comments

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  1. Duke Of Richmond / Dec 3 2017

    If y’all don’t have a Touchdown Squirrel t-shirt designed by Friday I’m going to be incredibly disappointed..

  2. OBXDuke1983 / Dec 4 2017

    Do we know anything about the injuries to Miller, Bolden, and Gray?
    Glad we finally settled the CAA championship controversy. Oh wait, we didn’t beat Albany. Bet that coach is biting his tongue.
    Go Dukes!

  3. zac / Dec 4 2017

    I heard Bolden was fine they took him out as a precaution.

  4. NegativeButRealisticDuke / Dec 4 2017

    First I want to agree with you that our defense is amazing! Hats off to those guys bc they are winning these games. But I do have concerns.

    On offense my concerns have been growing all season and I am affraid its going to finnaly bite us in the butt in the playoffs. And its not just the lack of a running game (but thats a huge part of it), its also the mental mistakes that we just ignore bc our defense is so good that the mistakes never end up hurting us.

    For example: taking sacks on third down, taking sacks that take us out of field goal range, being inside the 1 yard line and losing yards 3 straight plays and settling for a field goal (can we please go under center on the 1 yardline?), and although it didnt happen last week, in the past we have had wayyy to many turnovers in the red zone and leave points on the field. Again, these mistakes have yet to hurt us bc our defense is so dominant. But I think simply ignoring them and relying on our defense to win every game is not a good idea.

    The problem is that we do not know how we line up with a NDST or a SDST team. If we play any team that can move the ball on our D and the game shifts to our offense to outscore our opponent, I dont know if we can win it the way we are playing right now.

    Also can we give Agyei-Obese more carries? He averages over 6 yards per carry and Woods averages about 3. And yet Woods gets way more touches. I understand not wanting to get Sharp or Marshall hurt, but when Woods is in it seems like wasted carries. Agyei-Obese is being underutilized bc he has potential to be a game changer.

    Rant over. Just wanted to voice some concerns to some fellow fans who care.

  5. M@ / Dec 4 2017

    Thank you for mentioning Bryce Maginley’s blocks. Often missed in big plays are important blocks.

  6. Drake / Dec 4 2017

    In regards to running on Saturday, I think they realized early on they didn’t need to do too much to win. They ran their 3rd and 4th backs way too much. I think it was on purpose in order to save Trae and Marcus, and prevent injuries. In games when the running hasn’t been there early, it’s been successful late in those games because teams are so tired. The weather is going to be cold and I think our defense is going to lay it on Weber to where they don’t want to get hit.

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