Dec 17 / Todd

Dukes Destroy South Dakota St., Return to Frisco!

Someone’s starting to look a lot like a certain other heroic RB!

So it was a big, bad Missouri Valley team. And the Dukes were banged up. And they were underdogs in the desert by kickoff. And they turned an insane FIVE first quarter turnovers into just seven points.

And none of that meant a darned thing to the boys in purple! Needless to say, we are beyond thrilled that this team stepped up in an enormous way, with a big assist from a raucous Bridgeforth December crowd, and silenced all the doubters. Wait, what’s that you say? The defending champs riding a 26-game winning streak, including a true road game at the team they face next, are an early 3 point dog? Haha, well we’ve got 19 more days to worry about all that. Today we’re here to celebrate Saturday’s surreal performance with the good, bad, and ugly.

The Good

10 – That’s right, there are two digits in the number of turnovers JMU caused on Saturday. When the Dukes scored only one TD off the five in the first quarter, we were nervous that would haunt them. Little did we know they were just getting warmed up! This number is obviously the thing that made this game surreal, but it was a HUGE credit to Bob Trott’s game plan.

Outpost Buttons – TeeDee the Squirrel making a tiny cameo on this week’s button was outstanding and for those that collect them, seems sure to make this one a favorite.

Next Man Up – No doubt I’m going to go on way too long talking about these guys on the pod tonight, but Bryce Maginley,  Justin Bethea, and Landon Word were absolutely outstanding filling in for numerous injured Dukes. Filling in for Curtis Oliver, the fifth-year senior Bethea held up beautifully in one-on-one coverage all night, including a great play on SDSU’s all-everything Tight End when the game was still competitive. Kyre Hawkins was shaken up for a while in this game and Word didn’t miss a beat. That’s another transfer getting comfortable. And oh by the way, Maginley made arguably the biggest play of the night with that massive hit that caused the fumble that set off the avalanche of turnovers and set the tone for what JMU was willing to give physically to win this ballgame. Also, his pops is also going to be a fixture of “cool” at Dukes games for the next few years!

Pass Rush – In case you forgot JMU has some athletes that, when turned loose in the game plan by Bob Trott’s masterful scheming, can wreck havoc. We’ve seen the Dukes consistently play their base defense without a lot of blitzing most of this year. But they clearly decided to show SDSU QB Taryn Christion he wasn’t the only one with quicks. Carter, Ankrah, Urquhart, Robinson were fantastic and it was fairly clear early in the game that Christion was shook that he was getting run down from behind by linemen and linebackers. Brown, Moreland, and Robinson all got their own chances so the Jacks never knew where the rush was coming from. Yes, rushing so many opened lanes for the running game and an occassional slant pass, but as fans this was so so so much fun to watch the Dukes attack all night.

Raven Greene – If you’re gonna break the all-time JMU record with your 14th career interception, might as well do it in style! Raven’s interception return for a long TD was the icing on the second half BFS party.

Riley – The Dukes would love to get John Miller back in three weeks, but with Alls and Eldridge cranking it up lately, this offense is starting to hum the last two weeks. And oh yeah, almost overnight Riley Stapleton has gone from in/out of the lineup to a near-unstoppable force of 6’5″ FCS beast!

Jimmy ‘effin Moreland – There are many reason Jimmy is one of our all-time favorite Dukes players, and all of those reasons were on display this week. Get a PI call? No worries, just make a one-handed pick 40 yards downfield next. Get beat inside for a TD? Again, just forget it and put it behind you like all the great DB’s, then go back out there pick off two more, get a half a sack, and spend most of the night in one-on-one press man coverage against the 1st team All American WR. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Jimmy was probably the player most responsible for crushing the souls of the Bunnies this week when the realized JMU’s #2 corner was better than anybody on their team.

Marcus Marshall – Not sayin’, but just sayin’, these last two weeks sure did look a hell of a lot like playoff Khalid didn’t they? And his biggest play of the night wasn’t even on offense, but rather the huge 40 yard kickoff return after SDSU had closed to 14-10 right before the half. That return set the stage for the biggest score of the night as the Dukes marched right down (thanks Riley) and punched in another TD in less than a minute.

JMU’s in-stadium media/music person – Whoever you are, that stroke of brilliance at the start of the fourth quarter was breaking out the old Alabama classic “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” (you gotta have a fiddle in the band) was next level stuff!

Students! – Again, that was incredible work by the students on attendance and involvement.

The Bad

Injuries – When you only have 63 scholarships and you play 15 games two years in row, there’s simply no way to get through unscathed. But JMU has a lot of question marks we’ll all be following over the next two plus weeks.

The Ugly

Frisco ticket crunch – It just sucks. No way around it. When the Frisco Stadium is smaller than Bridgeforth and you’re matching up with an equally great fanbase like NDSU, there’s just gonna be a lot of disappointed and/or priced out fans. Yes, we wish against wishing there was some way they could move this game to SMU or the Cotton Bowl or hell, sell out the lower bowl of Jerry-World, but the NCAA cabal, as usual, doesn’t give one single shit about FCS or fans or anything else except making the most money with the least effort ever. It’s already a joke that the stadium is hot garbage compared to either BFS or the FargoDome. It’ll be awesome that it’s sold out and will be as intense as any FCS/1-AA title game has ever been, but it sucks for fans.

 

12 Comments

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  1. Rob K / Dec 18 2017

    Amazing game! It’s safe to say that I’ve never witnessed a defensive performance like that before at JMU – or anywhere else!

    Here’s hoping we get back Oliver, Miller and Hawkins for the championship. But note that the Bison are dealing with their own injuries from their semi-final game as well, with both cornerbacks and an RB going down:

    http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/21786319/north-dakota-state-bison-likely-starting-cbs-fcs-title-game

  2. JMU80 / Dec 18 2017

    Lets share the phone number to the NCAA decision makers and move this game to Cowboy stadium I looked and the Stadium is open for that day…why not make some more money are they stupid…

  3. Rob / Dec 18 2017

    @JMU80 while that would be wonderful, they can’t move the game out of Frisco. The city won the bid and it’s the game is a huge source of revenue for the local businesses. Denying them this dream match-up would be a complete slap in the face. Based on our own experience, Frisco is one heck of a host as well.

  4. JMU80 / Dec 18 2017

    I saw one of our ex alum say that half the stadium is under construction is that true?

  5. Drake / Dec 18 2017

    A lot has been said about Marshall’s 2 big runs, and rightly so. His kick return just before half was a huge reason they were able to score so quickly and ultimately put the game out of reach. Give this defense a 2 score lead and it’s hard to come back on them. Last year’s NDSU game was 1 sided for the first half in their house. While I respect the hell out their program and players, I don’t think our team is scared the way others are when playing them or teams from the Valley. I just wish the game was later than noon.

  6. KB / Dec 18 2017

    Hopefully this game will open the NCAA eyes that
    1. Frisco is not warm in January (18 degrees at 8 am tailgating last year)
    2. 20k is not big enough for a championship game
    3. Only 13 total FCS teams are west of Dallas (http://www.championshipsubdivision.com/fcs-team-map/)
    4. FAU stadium in West Palm beach would be a much better place to have this game. Great weather, 30k stadium, beaches, true destination people are excited to go to, and multiple airports (MIA, FLL, PBI)

  7. Gene / Dec 18 2017

    KB’s comment X100. NCAA, if you want the FCS championship game to be a true event, and it looks like you do with the stand-alone date, neutral site in an “event” destination, and three weeks of build-up, then have it at a legit facility. You want the Metroplex? Fine, have it at SMU’s or TCU’s stadium. South Florida? OK, use FAU’s field as KB suggests. Heck, have it in New Orleans at Tulane’s new and very nice stadium. Rotate them around so you don’t conflict with the FBS playoff championship game. Simple.

    As for the game, well, it spoke for itself didn’t it? Obviously the sequence at the end of the 2nd quarter and beginning of the 3rd was the difference. I appreciate Coach Houston’s candor in saying that he would have considered taking a knee at the end of the 2nd if it weren’t for Marshall’s return. I for one like the idea of using your best offensive playmakers to return kickoffs – look how well it works at Penn State with Saquon Barkley.

    Can’t wait for the championship game y’all!

  8. OBXDuke1983 / Dec 18 2017

    Great recap and comments.
    One thing I kept wanting the announcers to say is that points off of turnovers is not the only way to look at the 5 turnovers in the first quarter. I think the turnovers keeping them off of the board was just as big as scoring off of their turnovers. They had to be looking at the yards they were piling up and yet having no points to show was a big deal. Those were squandered opportunities against the best defense in the country.
    I know this was not as exciting of a game as Weber State, but I must admit I am really happy about that.
    I say keep the Dukes as underdogs. Imagine that pregame speech.
    Go Dukes!!!

  9. Chris / Dec 18 2017

    I was very happy to make the trip, some problems with tickets but they were resolved. Ended up with tickets in section 109. I never want to sit anywhere again. Roudy af. Had a great time. Can’t wait till Jan. 6, wish I could be there, but I’ll be rooting from home. GO DUKES!

  10. Oz / Dec 18 2017

    When Marshall flows, the offense goes. And how about the patched-up JMU O-line doing a great impression of last year’s road graders? Bring on the Bison!

  11. Andrew / Dec 18 2017

    Bryce is a starter. He wasn’t a backup

  12. Shrowder / Dec 18 2017

    Couldn’t agree more with Marshall starting to look like Khalid last year. I wonder if the coaches have implanted some changes in their schemes, or if Marshall is just more comfortable in the offense after a full season.

    This championship game is going to be incredible…

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