Nov 16 / Todd

2018-19 JMUSB Game Preview #11: JMU @ Towson

A big one is here! Just like we all thought, JMU’s hugest game of the year would be at Towson on the season’s final day. Or maybe none of us actually envisioned the enormity of this one in the preseason, but as the Dukes approach this weekend’s game outside Baltimore, all of their goals are still possible. To achieve them, they really need to start on Saturday with a performance to launch them not only into the postseason on a high note, but hopefully even in the heavily advantageous position gained with a potential bye. More simply, this is a HUGE game. And this is the type of game we should all fully enjoy.

 

The Basics

Match-up: #7 JMU Dukes (7-3, 5-2 CAA) at #15 Towson Tigers (7-3, 5-2 CAA)
Kick-off: 2:00 PM on Saturday, November 17 at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson, Maryland
Weather: Sunny, high 46
Broadcast: College Sports Live (http://collegesportslive.com), free this week but prepare to switch to audio if necessary with this platform.

How They Got Here

Towson has been one of many surprises in the CAA. And of those unexpected teams, probably the most legitimate, and the most surprising, in that strength. After stints at Western Michigan and Rutgers, Tigers QB Tom Flacco moved right around the corner from big brother, and Ravens star(?) Joe when he transferred to Towson last summer with two years of eligibility remaining. His arrival supercharged the program, and in particular the Tigers’ offensive capability. Towson has varied and explosive offense with a whole crew of receivers for Flacco to throw it around to. They haven’s scored less than 20 all year (in an FBS blowout loss at Wake Forest) and not less than 29 (in a win over William & Mary) in FCS play. They’ve scored 40 plus in fully half of their first 10 games this year. Three weeks ago, Towson looked like they might be on track to run away with the CAA, but they’ve lost two straight tights ones against Delaware and Maine before bouncing back against a wounded Elon team last week.

The Dukes steadied themselves with a 48-31 win over Rhode Island after a real setback at New Hampshire the week before. Both teams have earned their 7-3 marks and the winner of this game is both a lock for the playoffs no matter what happens elsewhere in terms of the CAA auto-bid and likely a top-eight seed (with a bye), while the loser will sweat a bit before Sunday’s selection show and find themselves playing in the first round.

How Towson Can Win

39 points per game, 280 passing yards per game. Towson can absolutely sling it and light up the scoreboard. And Joe Flacco has probably played better than any QB the Dukes have seen all season. And unlike his “elite/not elite” brother, he can really run too. If Towson can follow the playbook laid out by Davis Cheek (Elon), Trevor Knight (UNH), and JaJuan Lawson (URI), they’ll likely be able to move the ball over the top and score on the Dukes. In many ways, Towson is a URI-upgrade though and they’ll need to slow down the Dukes enough to win a shootout. They also can’t afford to turn the ball over and give the sometimes-maligned JMU offense easier opportunities to keep up on the scoreboard.

How JMU Can Win

This is the most complicated version of this section we’ve written all year. First, the Dukes have to win the battle of turnovers and big plays. If they give the Tigers easier/more chances, there may not be enough bulbs on the scoreboard. Second, and probably most importantly, the JMU offense HAS to both move the ball and finish drives. 3 and outs will not cut it if you’re forcing the defense back on the field against Flacco and co. time after time. The best way to control Towson’s offense is for them not to be on the field. But the Dukes are almost certainly going to need 30+ points to win this one so they can’t be relying entirely on the defense and specials for the big plays.

On defense, this will be one of Coach Trott’s most interesting gameplans. We’re guessing a lot of the “speed package”  on the D-Line to contain Flacco in the pocket with a lot of five-DB packages featuring Tutt and Oliver. The real challenge in that setup is for Holloway, Word, and the linebacking corps to stop Tigers RB’s Shane Simpson and Kobe Young. While that’s a lot to digest, we’re really looking forward to seeing this very capable unit try to meet the challenge this week with so much on the line.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Natty Boh-er, just kidding, don’t drink that pisswater. In fact, don’t act like Towson fans in any way. The entire “Towson state university” fanbase is essentially the human embodiment of a Preakness infield port-a-john. What? Too much? Who cares, it’s time to get the real fires burning. Until the last few years when Elon entered the conference, Towson was JMU’s traditional end-of-season game/playoff clincher and it’s time to bring that soul-crushing spirit back! So grab some Blue Mountain Dark Hollow for your road trip to make sure you’ve got a bit of Virginia love with you and get ready to root!

Official JMUSB Prediction

This one is going to be tight. There is no result (Dukes blowout, Tigers blowout, close game either way) other than a low-scoring result that would surprise us. And we all better buckle up for a wild one because these two teams’ track records suggest they won’t be held down all day. But our feeling off last week’s mojo-restoring win is the Dukes step up big and the defense limits Towson as well as anyone has all year. Doesn’t mean they’ll keep the Tigers out of the end zone, but we think the offense really drops the hammer against a middling Towson D after revving back up last week and JMU gets the one big play they need on specials.

Dukes 34, Tigers 31

p.s. Enjoy the Preakness infield compilation here.

 

 

5 Comments

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  1. Drake / Nov 16 2018

    The Lights Out holiday ale from Blue Mountain is also a must have. A tad spicy, and at 7% can keep the cold temps from bothering you whilst tailgating.

  2. Hart / Nov 17 2018

    JMU is 1-1 vs the Flacco family QB’s.
    Time to break the tie in the rubber match

  3. Rob K / Nov 17 2018

    For anyone else having problems with the video, I can’t get the game on my laptop, but it works on my phone for some reason.

  4. Rob / Nov 17 2018

    @Rob K No issues for us with the stream. Pleasant surprised because CBS Sportsline has been terrible for me in the past.

  5. Drake / Nov 17 2018

    I believe that the CBS website doesn’t support Chrome. I have a Chromebook and it wouldn’t work, but like you, the app works fine. I’m glad I can watch it, but would prefer the big screen.

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