Nov 18 / Rob

JMU Drops Towson, But Misses Out on Playoff Seed

Well, there’s pretty much nothing that could dampen fans’ enthusiasm after JMU’s outstanding win over Towson yesterday. What’s that? The playoff bracket came out. And JMU wasn’t seeded? Oh.

More on the playoff situation later, but let’s take a moment to appreciate the Dukes’ awesome performance on the road to close out the regular season. Nooch and his teammates put together their most impressive game of the season, defeating Towson by the score of 38 to 17. After a quick start by both teams, it looked like were headed for a “defense optional” type shootout. That wasn’t to be however. JMU’s offense kept scoring, but the defense made adjustments and put the clamps on QB Tom Flacco and the Tigers. Townson managed a garbage time TD, but were otherwise kept the Tigers off the scoreboard for the final 3 quarters.

On offense, the JMU running game we all hoped to see this season, finally showed up. Better late than never. We all know how talented JMU’s running back corps is. Yesterday, the world saw it. Cardon Johnson had a vintage performance, breaking off a 76 yard TD run in the first quarter, on his way to a 162 yard day. Trai Sharp and Nooch eclipsed the century mark as well, running for 107 and 104 yards respectively. The o-line, not to mention the receivers, did a great job blocking and opening up holes all day. It was an impressive effort all around. For the first time in weeks, maybe all season, the Dukes actually played up to their potential. There’s no comparing this performance against Towson, with some of the earlier efforts. JMU looked like a team on a mission to put its troubles behind it, and earn a playoff seed.

And then the bracket was released. It’s evident the committee probably wasn’t as impressed with yesterday’s win as we were. At the very least, the committee didn’t think it made up for the Dukes’ earlier missteps. Objectively speaking, it’s not outrageous that JMU isn’t seeded (ducking for cover). Had JMU beaten New Hampshire, the Dukes would probably be looking at a top 4 seed, maybe even the 2nd overall. But they lost. They lost pretty handily, turning the ball over 7 times.

Coach Houston went on tv and said he felt disrespected by the committee. His logic was that JMU lost to a healthy New Hampshire team, a team that was completely different than the Trevor Knight-less team that other squads managed to beat. That’s true, but let Trevor Knight didn’t force 7 turnovers against JMU. And Rhode Island, a team JMU stomped, defeated Trevor Knight and the Wildcats in their season finale.

Sign me up for a disrespected and extra-motivated JMU team though. Instead of having a seed and the bye that comes along with it, the Dukes will play host to fellow CAA team Delaware next Saturday. That’s a pretty tough draw (especially considering Towson gets to host Dusquesne…thanks regionalization), but not impossible. The winner gets to go on the road to Hamilton, NY to face Colgate and its lights out defense. From there, the path would likely go through Fargo. And well, that’s not terrible. In fact, I think I prefer a chip on its shoulder, people are doubting us, let’s crush everyone, sort of JMU team to a seeded JMU team anyway. We’ve seen what JMU can do with its back against the wall the past few weeks. And that was just with some buzz from the fanbase questioning the team. Now the committee doesn’t think the Dukes are a contender and put as much in writing. Seems like some serious motivation to us.

9 Comments

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  1. RB / Nov 18 2018

    Bad look by Coach Houston – sounded like a whiny b****. Just shut up and go to work. Your team didn’t deserve a seed, if you want a chance to get back to the championship game, quit sniveling and go earn it.

  2. Culucko Swish / Nov 18 2018

    @RB the NDSU trolls are out early this play-off season. See you in Fargo soon.

  3. JMU2K1 / Nov 18 2018

    Houston didn’t look like a bitch, but I also don’t get the surprise and anger over not being seeded. Don’t get boat raced by New Hampshire and/or lose at home to Elon. I was more bothered by getting paired with Delaware while Towson got Duquesne. Either way it’s survive and advance-just beat the team across from you.

  4. RB / Nov 19 2018

    swish, nope, just an objective fan who doesn’t buy into the attitude of entitlement that is permeating this program. The fact you’ve been to the championship game for the last two years gives you a pre-season ranking, it doesn’t mean you should be gifted a seed in the playoffs. Your play during the season dictated why you weren’t seeded.

    No idea why they were pissed off, maybe they bought into Brian McLaughlin’s ridiculous bracket. Regardless, you don’t whine and make excuses on the selection show – you say you think the committee got it wrong and you’re excited to prove them wrong.

    They will likely squeak by the Hens and will beat an over-rated Colgate, but the NDSU game will make the UNH game look like a nail-biter.

  5. Tuna / Nov 19 2018

    @RB Its not entitlement to have a legitimate grip over not being seeded when a team like UC Davis gets blown out by the only playoff team they played still gets a seed, Colgate did not beat a team with a winning record, and all the polls having JMU significantly higher than Maine. The committee is supposed to seed the 8 best teams and judging by the surprise of most everyone in the football community, they did not do that.

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion but judging by your Towson score prediction, I’m not sure youre the best person to be giving analysis.

  6. Rob K / Nov 19 2018

    Who else got ahead of themselves and made plans this weekend thinking that we would have a bye? OK, maybe just me. It will be very tough to miss a playoff game.

    As far as the game, I would like to give a shout-out to Riley making two pancake blocks on the DB as Nooch was scrambling downfield. And the stretch play where our O-line pulls was good all game. Finally, I thought it was strange that they did not have a counter to our rush-three-with-a-spy defense. They came out of halftime still with no answer for it.

  7. RB / Nov 19 2018

    Tuna, you missed the point. Not arguing whether the committee got it right or not, but to your points — Maine won the CAA and deserves to be seeded, Colgate is a conference winner, undefeated in conference play and beat a UNH team that took JMU to the woodshed — so how exactly do you rank the Dukes over them? And my guess is the UC Davis seeding resulted from geographical considerations for first two rounds, which like it or not, is a factor in the committee’s decisions.

    Whether or not JMU received a seed isn’t the issue. The point I’m making is that Coach Houston’s indignant attitude on the show and his comments immediately after is an indication, to me, of how this program believes they deserve preferential treatment because they had two good previous years. Don’t get housed by a New Hampshire team that went 3-5 in conference play or get stifled by a mediocre 4-3 Elon team and you can have all the expectations you want. But you did, so accept it put your head down and go to work. I appreciate Houston’s passion but think he should have saved the anger and disrespect talk for the locker room instead of a national TV audience.

    I’ve attended all three National Championship games and will be at the fourth whenever it happens. It will be a very tough path this year but not harder than 2004 when they won every game on the road.

  8. CJ / Nov 19 2018

    Great win for the Dukes. Finally got back into their groove against a worthy opponent. I admit I was a little unsure about how things would go when Flacco broke that big run early in the game, but we obviously made the necessary adjustments and more or less contained him after that. The big difference was the establishment of the running game and giving DiNucci the protection he needed…both attributable to our offensive line.

    If this same team shows up on Saturday, we should be able to dispatch Delaware with little concern.

    When I think Colgate, the first thing I think of is that 2015 playoff game when they marched into Bridgeforth and spanked us. That was a very good JMU team as well, one that I think could have made a championship run if Vad Lee stayed healthy. I’d love to see a little payback by us re-paying the favor on Colgate’s home field.

    Zero chance of us beating NDSU. Sorry, just calling it like I see it. In fact, I see zero chance of anyone in FCS beating NDSU. Those guys are just too good in so many respects. I’ll be happy to eat crow if a miracle happens, but you won’t find me putting any money on it.

    That first round bye would have been great, but I agree with our seeding. I don’t think you can explain away those losses to Elon and New Hampshire.

  9. ZH / Nov 19 2018

    RB,

    I didn’t think coach’s comments were out of line, or “whiny”; in fact I thought he was spot on and was proud that he didn’t mix words and dance around it. The Committee chairman, who was on just before Houston, explicitly said the CAA was the toughest/best (paraphrasing) team out there, and in the same breath basically said but the CAA was only good enough for one seed. I don’t share your opinion that the program feels entitled; coach said we have nobody to blame but ourselves for the losses we had.

    I like the draw.

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