Apr 12 / Rob

JMU Spring Football Game Preview

It’s been 96 days since the JMU Dukes last played a football game. And we’ve missed them. A lot. Sure we’ve been able to see some reasons for optimism with hoops and enjoyed some stellar play from lacrosse and softball, but we miss football. Thankfully, our boys are back in action this weekend.

The Basics

Match-up: Some of the JMU Dukes 0-0 (00) vs. Some of the Other JMU Dukes 0-0 (0-0)
Kick-off: 1:00 PM on Saturday, April 14 at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, VA
Weather: Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 70s
Broadcast: Unavailable (program ain’t that big yet)

How We Got Here

Coach Houston and the Dukes began Spring practice on March 13. They’ve had two intrasquad scrimmages, but otherwise we’re just talking about practice. However, reports indicate that Houston has been pleased with what he’s seen from some of the younger players and the newcomers. Not sure if it makes sense to draw too many conclusions (if any) from Spring ball, but Dukes are crushing.

The Top Stories

I’ve tired of even pretending this a real preview, so I’m gonna assume you have too. Or you stopped reading and clicked elsewhere. In any case, here are the top 3 stories (in my opinion at least) heading into Saturday’s “game.”

QB Battle

The Dukes need to replace Bryan Schor, one of the all time great JMU QBs. Spring ball started with an open competition between Gage Maloney, Hunger Etheridge, Cole Johnson, and Pitt transfer Ben DiNucci. While DiNucci and Johnson appear to have made this essentially a two man battle, we’re not expecting a starter to be named until later this summer. Both guys are reportedly playing well and showing pretty good accuracy. And DiNucci has even shown some wheels. We’ve got zero insight and can’t even guess who’ll eventually win the job. Based on what we’re reading though, we’re not concerned about JMU having a drastic drop off at the position. Fortunately, there are plenty of offensive weapons to support whomever becomes QB1.

Percy Agyei-Obese

After a season where he saw action as a true freshman, Percy has been the featured back during the spring. Returning studs Trai Sharp, Marcus Marshall, and Cardon Johnson have all missed Spring ball. In their absence, Percy has stepped up and taken advantage of the increased carries. Based on the limited view we got of him last Fall, he’s clearly got talent. He ran for over 100 yards against Norfolk State and almost hit the century mark again at URI. By all accounts though, he’s taken a step forward since then. We get the feeling JMU will use a running back by committee approach in 2018 and ride the hot hand. Agyei-Obese has the potential to give the Dukes a deadly 4 headed monster in the backfield.

The Defense

JMU had a historically good defense in 2017. The Dukes gave up only 11 points a game and had 51 sacks and 31 interceptions. To call it dominating doesn’t do it justice. But they’re replacing a lot of players next season. They’ve got some younger guys who’ve been waiting for a chance. They’ve also got a number of transfers, including Matt Terrell (UVA via junior college), Paris Black (Wake Forest), and Juwan Moye (UVA) all vying for playing time on the defensive line. Of course they’ve got a linebacking unit anchored by Dimitri Holloway, who has been stellar in some big games. And a defensive backfield lead by Jimmy Effin’ Moreland. We don’t expect the D to shut teams down from day one, but we’re confident that Bob Trott will get the job done. 

JMUSB Beer of the Week

It’s not a real game, but fans can still tailgate. Or they can just read about the game Monday and enjoy a nice beer doing something else on Saturday. No rules people. Since it’s April, we might as well take advantage of the opportunity to pick a Spring beer. Let’s go with Bell’s Oberon Ale. It’s become ubiquitous, but that’s a good thing. If it’s not the G.O.A.T of warm weather beers, it’s in the running.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Fans tailgate, enjoy the weather, and act giddy while we watch a re-loading Dukes squad take a step forward to get ready for a march to Frisco. Then we all make WAY too much of the game, convince ourselves that we know exactly who should win the QB job, and pretty much count the days until the season kicks off. Enjoy the game everyone!

One Comment

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  1. Tripp / Apr 13 2018

    +1 on the Oberon, such a good one for this time of year, and as always GO DUKES!

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