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

8 Comments

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  1. Chirs / Oct 5 2018

    Can somebody please like go all Russian, and plant some fake news story about how the Elon players and coaches are disrespecting our beloved Dukes? ‘Cause Houston don’t take kindly to disrespect, ask Richmond. Please, somebody make some shit up.

  2. Dukie95 / Oct 5 2018

    Some interesting stats to keep an eye on.

    Elon leads the conference in TOP (33:46) and JMU is last (24:10). It’s clear that Elon uses the run to slow things down and JMU is happy to strike quickly. If Elon is unable to manage the clock to their liking, they’re in for a long day.

    Elon has converted 100% of their red zone trips into points. It will be interesting to see if JMU is able to snap that impressive stat. (Elon has only had 14 chances to JMU’s 28)

  3. Oz / Oct 5 2018

    Todd, this is spot on: “Really, really tough grinders (Weber, NDSU) are the one thing that gives JMU a hard time.” Hope Elon doesn’t fit that bill Saturday. Thanks for keeping the purple nation informed. I’ll keep on rootin’!

  4. M@ / Oct 5 2018

    @Dukie95…is it bad that I hope we don’t snap the streak by simply never letting them into the red zone? 🙂

  5. Jason / Oct 6 2018

    Madizone isn’t working here in the Pacific Northwest

  6. T2008 / Oct 6 2018

    I think the madizon link from jmusports.com is messed up, i was getting a bad gateway error. But when I just went to the audio link instead and then clicked the menu on the top left there in madizone and selected “live events” and found the video event there it worked fine.

  7. JMUJoe / Oct 6 2018

    Worse game of Houston’s three year tenure at JMU. Team lacked energy from get go. Playing #10 team in FCS who was same team we blew out in 2016. Gut check time with possibly of losing 4 of last 5.

  8. Ducky Q / Oct 7 2018

    Oops! 🙁

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