Dec 7 / Todd

JMUSB 2017 Playoff Preview #2: Weber St. @ JMU

The Basics

Weber St. Wildcats (11-2, 7-1 Big Sky) at JMU (12-0, 8-0 CAA), 7:00 p.m. Friday at Bridgeforth Stadium

Coverage: ESPN2. Dukes get the national spotlight as the only football game on that night!

Weather: 32 degrees, overcast, light wind (basically perfect Valley December football and whiskey weather!). Rob says bring a stadium blanket or a seat cushion for the bleachers. I say no need for a big coat if you layer enough under a purple hoodie, have a neckwarmer or scarf, hat, gloves, hand warmers, and whiskey.

Weber St. FAQ’s

WSU is bigger than you think with over 26,000 students. It’s also a public despite originally being founded by the LDS Church (it was later transferred to the state of Utah). It’s located in the beautiful Wasatch mountains. Hotelier J. Willard Marriott, Trailblazers star Damian Lillard, and the bassist from Panic! at the Disco appear to be it’s most famous attendees. It was named “Weber” after the county in which it resides with the county itself being named after some old fur trader. Overall, the timing of WSU’s growth from Normal School to University in many ways mirrors that of JMU.

How Weber St. Can Win

By sticking to their gameplay. ¬†Honestly, this is the first team all year that we can say if they are better able to execute their own gameplan the Dukes, JMU could be in trouble. One of the most important things for Weber is to control the clock and the pace of play. They are time-of-possession monsters and if they can keep from turning it over and keep JMU’s offense off the field, things could get dicey. As we’ve seen all year, the Dukes offense will eventually- given enough chances- find their way to a scoring drive or three. But if they only get 5-7 chances all night, that bodes well for the Wildcats. They need to put QB Stefan Cantwell on schedule and in a position to use his savvy playmaking ability to succeed.

Weber St.’s game defensively is very similar to JMU’s. They have talented depth in the secondary so they’re willing to let those guys play and commit to stopping the run. If they can a) stop the run and b) actually hold up against Alls, Stapleton, and co. on the back end, JMU will have to get creative.

Lastly, Weber is strong on special teams and they need to keep that up. There coach is off the Urban Meyer coaching tree and takes this element of the game as seriously as JMU. Both teams, but especially Weber on the road, need to avoid any big mistakes in the kicking and return game.

How JMU Can Win

This uni combo is back. Hopefully the replicate the UNH performance and this is the last week with black in the combo!

Executing the gameplan and winning the turnover battle. Do those two, and avoid any crazy fluke plays, and the talent and home-field advantage should win out. That said, “executing the gameplan” on offense HAS to involve finding some semblance of a running game. Even if it’s Schor and some end-arounds, they’ve got to find a way to not get in 3rd and longs and force everything onto Schor and the downfield passing game against this team. With Weber’s talented secondary and JMU’s struggles rushing, it also might help to find Kloosterman and Cheatham in some matchups with linebackers over the middle.

Defensively, JMU needs to just do what it does, with a particular emphasis this week on avoiding letting any huge plays (think Maine, UD) break. Keeping Cantwell in the pocket will be big too.

High hopes for Amos and Ratke to step up this week and for O’Kelly to just keep it rolling mate!

Beer of the Week

We’re going with a little something special this week. Pod listeners know one of us had the good fortune to have a great time in Nashville, Tennessee over Thanksgiving weekend. And the beer highlight was definitely getting the chance to visit Bearded Iris brewing over in the Germantown neighborhood. This is a true hidden gem of American beers right now – basically the Veil or Aslin of Nashville for our Virginia hopheads. And this week’s selection is a silky glass of 8.2% goodness, the “Attention Please! DDH w Vic Secret & Mosaic.” Yup that whole thing is the name but don’t bother trying to figure it out, just enjoy a ridiculously tasty Double IPA if you ever get the chance.

Whiskey of the Week

But of course this is also a December Friday night in the Valley. Temps will be below freezing throughout the game which calls for a special addition. In this case, it’s a Monkey Shoulder night. Ahh, who are we kidding, it’ll be Dickel in the flask. As always, as much as we joke, don’t be an @sshat and don’t overdo it (at all) if you’re driving after the game.

Official JMUSB Prediction

We’re rolling with Vegas this week. The smart guys say an O/U of 38.5 and Dukes by 10 and a hook. That equates to about 24-14. We’re thinking with the cold weather and what’s on the line, this might be a tad high. We’ve got 23-13 Duuuuuuuukes!

7 Comments

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  1. maddukes98 / Dec 7 2017

    Is it just me or is the hype too much considering they play in a fairly weak Big Sky and we play in the much more competitive CAA? Just because they have good numbers its against inferior opponents. I’m just saying is there something I’m missing about these guys?

  2. M@ / Dec 7 2017

    @maddukes98, it’s hard to compare. The CAA seems down this year and the Sky seems high (see what I did there?). Per the Sagarin rankings this is the toughest opponent all year. I like our chances, but it wouldn’t be the biggest upset ever for the Wildcats to escape with a win either. I’m a little nervous. Hopefully I’m wrong.

  3. Drake / Dec 7 2017

    Every week I’m nervous when everyone picks us to win. Hero Sports panel, Stats, and basically everyone says that JMU wins. I’ve been proven that it’s silly to be nervous everytime.

    Oddly enough. The color of the year has just been announced and it’s purple. Normally, I could spin that to be pro Dukes, but they also rock the purp.

  4. Kenny / Dec 8 2017

    Veil is like the fourth best IPA brewery in Richmond

  5. Crysta / Dec 8 2017

    So glad we’re wearing purple jerseys tonight. I know the all black looks intense but I love the purple and gold and miss seeing it! Go Dukes!

  6. Rob K / Dec 8 2017

    That was the most amazing game I’ve seen in the last few years. I’m emotionally exhausted.

  7. OBXDuke1983 / Dec 8 2017

    Wow.
    That was draining.
    Go Dukes!

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