Oct 15 / Todd

Good, Bad, Ugly from the Win at Villanova

The Dukes bounced back from their first conference loss in three years with an old-fashioned 37-0 whooping outside Philly over the previously good Villanova Wildcats.

The Good

Getting Healthy – So we’re guessing you may have noticed how much better the Dukes defense looked in all phases this week. And yes, some of that is because Villanova is average at their best and a flaming hot pile of garbage with a QB2/3 combination. But a lot of that was also due to the return to the field of a few key players. First, DT Adeeb Atariwa makes such a huge difference by helping clog the middle in the run game, something that was glaringly missing against Elon. Second, welcome to the season Landon Word! No offense to others that have been working in that backup linebacker role behind Moore and Holloway, but having Word back really beefs up that position. It also allows them to play a little heavier set to stop the run instead of having to bring Wayne Davis down into the box every play. If this defense continues bringing talent back to the field and manages to stay healthy for those already out there, they’re only going to continue improving.

Punt Return – We had to call this “Punt Return” instead of just DeAngelo Amos because he wasn’t even touched on the second of his back-to-back game-sealing punt return TD’s in the 3rd quarter. In other words, the entire return team needs full credit for winning this game. It was actually kind of funny how gassed Amos was on the second and had us laughingly thinking about whether they might need to take a timeout for the return team to “get a breather.” You don’t hear that everyday.

Jimmy ‘effin Moreland – Two of the biggest plays of the game came from JMU’s incredible playmaker. And neither of them were interceptions. Jimmy quietly forced a fumble and blocked a punt, and were it not for Amos’ returns, would easily be the talk of the week again. We’re out of words for our favorite player, but let’s hope it continues all the way to Frisco!

CAA Chaos – No idea whether anything beyond Elon losing to Delaware is good (they still need to lose again for JMU to have a shot at the title and auto-bid) or bad for JMU, but what a crazy week added on to an already crazy year. The Dukes certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to start building another streak over the last four games this year. And not playing Maine this year could even mean they don’t ever get a sniff of the autobid conversation – but as this week shows, even with only four weeks left, it’s probably way too early to talk about those things yet.

The Bad

Red Zone offense – Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Since the coaching staff knew that without their starting QB, Villanova could literally do nothing in this game it’s a little easier to understand all the settling-for-Field Goals, but this is officially a problem.

Standard Definition – Maybe those of you who streamed this online got something better, but for those of us who watched this on DTV at parties, it’s just so jarring when you get the small box these days.

The Ugly

Villanova – Well….that was….”special”? Without Zach Bednarcyzk, Villanova could do absolutely nothing on offense. Despite an FBS win over rival Temple, Nova is now 3-4 overall and 0-4 in the CAA. Their schedule actually makes it possible they could rally to 7-4, 4-4, but this is not a vintage Cats team. And scarily, just like after wins over W&M and RU, the Dukes probably need to keep their swagger in check during the bye week after this “meh” win given the opponent.


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  1. Devon / Oct 15 2018

    I am pretty sure we will get the autobid over Elon even if both teams win out (assuming Maine loses). Elon had the game canceled against W&M, so the best they can finish the CAA would be 6-1, whereas if we win out, we would be a half game ahead at 7-1.

  2. Gilmarc / Oct 15 2018

    Great observations, as always. I do believe there is an error, though. Elon’s game with William & Mary will not be made up, so they will have one less conference game. If JMU wins out the rest of the way and finishes 7-1 in the conference, and Elon wins out the rest of the way they will be 6-1, and have a lower winning percentage, and JMU would win the title (if nobody else has an identical or better record). Of course, that’s a big if, especially with the way the conference is playing out these days! Keep up the great work with your observations!

  3. Bob / Oct 15 2018

    Since JFM actually knocked the ball down before it was kicked, wouldn’t that play officially be called a forced fumble and not a blocked punt?

  4. Drake / Oct 15 2018

    I can remember back in 2016, JMU was winning and playing well, but there were some areas that needed big improvement. It was penalties and maybe O-line or something. They went in the bye week and it wasn’t really an issue after that. I believe this coaching staff will be on top of those issues for the next two weeks. The schedule does work out positively for JMU with 2 tough games at home, 1 coming off a bye, no other teams having a bye before playing JMU, and the UNH game not looking as difficult now. They can control a great deal of the CAA auto-bid except for Maine needing a loss and Elon needing another. I’m just glad the Rhode Island game is going to mean something because that’s when I’ll be in attendance!

  5. M@ / Oct 15 2018

    @Devon & @Gilmarc, what you all said about the implications of Elon not playing W&M made sense. But, because I am who I am I had to check. In the CAA Football Handbook (https://static.caasports.com/custompages/2015%20CAAFB%20Press%20Box/CAA/_Handbook%20(Web).pdf), Article IV Item 1 it states: “The team with the best conference record based on win-loss percentage shall represent the Conference as the NCAA automatic qualifier.”

    Not sure why I felt the need to share, but I did. 🙂

  6. Cory / Oct 17 2018

    Hey guys. Good article as always but personally I’m a little tired of all the Redzone talk. As someone that has gone to or seen every game I have a little more insight. JMU is 33 of 39 in the redzone this year (2 misses at NC State, 3 at W&M and 1 at Richmond). In reality they are 33 of 36. 1 miss was at the end of the N.C. State as time ran out on a pointless drive. 2 other misses were by the backups in games when the result was already determined. The adjusted percentage would put us in the top 20 in FCS. I know the concern is the lack of TD’s so let’s look at the last 6 games. The last 2 the TD percentage was 4 of 11 (again we scored on all 11). The prior 4 the TD percentage was 14 of 19 (2 removed that were the fault of backups when the result was already determined. That’s 36% and 74% respectively. Our big brother to the Northwest (NDSU) currently has a 80% TD rate. So really our concern should be over the Redzone percentage of the last 2 games, not on the season. Like everything else in a football season things will change, players will get better and coaches will adapt. If you had a section for “Meh” or “TBD” I would put the Redzone offense there rather than in the Bad section.

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