Nov 30 / Todd

JMUSB 2018-19 Playoff Preview #2: JMU at Colgate

The Basics

Match-up: Unseeded JMU Dukes (9-3, 6-2 CAA) at #8 Colgate Raiders (9-1, 7-0 Patriot League)
Kick-off: 1:00 PM on Saturday, December 1st at Andy Kerr Stadium, Hamilton, New York
Weather: 33 degrees, mostly cloudy (looks like precip will hold off till after the game – barring multiple OTs of course).
Broadcast: ESPN3 and WatchESPN App

How They Got Here

Colgate won a dreadfully down Patriot League by basically shutting out every league opponent, none of whom finished with a winning record. In fact, the Raiders didn’t beat a single team with a winning record all year, though they did beat UNH 10-3 (without Trevor Knight when he was injured) and shut out William & Mary 21-0. Their only loss was to a strong FBS Army team 28-14 two weeks ago in their last game of the regular season. Oh yeah, they also benefitted from ducking a trip to strong SoCon also-ran Furman early due to Hurricane Florence. Colgate’s defensive has been statistically historic, but in the words of SEC radio show callers, “Ain’t. Played. Nobody. Paaaawwwwwllll!”

The Dukes rode a dominant defensive performance and cruised over Delaware at home in the first round 20-6 in a game that feels like it happened three years ago after this insane week.

How Colgate Can Win

Use their crazy-fast, tough defense to take advantage of mistakes by a distracted JMU team and score with short fields. Seriously, Holl (21) and Wiesnewski (34) are fabulous players in the defensive backfield and they’ll have a chance to wreck havoc if the Dukes don’t stick to the game plan and account for them or run plays where they aren’t. If Colgate gets a lead, they’re certainly capable of running it down anyone’s throat with do-everything stud running back James Holland (2).

How JMU Can Win

Forget the bullshit and focus on the fact this janky-assed, ain’t played nobody, Patriot League group of try-harders stole their seed despite not beating a single team with a winning record. Jimmy and Trai and Rondell go full Mox/Harbor Varsity Blues and kick Houston out of his traditional motivational role and do it themselves! In other words, this team should be brimming with tension – if they can channel it the right way (for example when the ’16 team had a bunch of suspensions the week of the Fargo trip) they are absolutely capable of shocking all the doubters and haters. Guys like Cardon and Trai surely remember the sting of losing at home to many of these same players in the 2015 playoffs and if they can convince their teammates to take Colgate deadly seriously, we could be in for a fun afternoon!

Also, it would help a lot for Ratke/Gray to make every good kick opportunity they get this week as points will be precious and for Amos, O’Kelly and co. to find another huge play on specials. This could be a real advantage for JMU if they play mistake-free in the forgotten third phase.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Blue Mountain Dark Hollow. Cold. Dark. Perfect. It’s time.

Official JMUSB Prediction

This one is going to be tight. There is no result (Dukes blowout, Raiders blowout, close low-scoring game) that would surprise us. If the Houston telenovela ruins the Dukes focus, the Raiders are the type of tough, senior-laden team that is fully poised to take advantage. If the Dukes block out the noise and play for themselves with an us-against-the-world mentality, they could ride their superior speed and depth of talent to a statement victory. But most likely, the meager over/under of 34 is actually way too high for these two defensive titans and this is a close, hard-hitting game without a ton of fireworks where one or two big plays (maybe on special teams?) makes the difference.

Dukes 16, ‘gate 14

 

8 Comments

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  1. PurpleShadow / Nov 30 2018

    Colgate only scored one offensive TD against Army with 9:30 left to go in the game. The other was a scoop score off of a poorly timed and executed option play in the 2nd quarter. Holland (#2, RB) is clearly their best offensive player. We need to stop him and force them to beat us with the pass. I think for us, an up tempo, “keep the foot on the gas” offense can work in our favor to wear their best defenders down a bit. Our guys are battle-hardened and trained to go!

  2. Bryan / Nov 30 2018

    For what it’s worth, looks like the offer was rescinded or Houston waffled too much on accepting and therefore now staying put.

  3. RB / Nov 30 2018

    Bryan, first part is true, offer was rescinded, but it doesn’t mean he’s “staying put”. The UNCC AD said the offer was pulled because houston wanted to explore other opportunities while remaining in contention for UNCC. They said, bump to him!

    ECU and maybe a few other NC schools are still in contention. Although houston could play this into a nice way to charge up the Dukes team for the rest of the playoffs if he tells them he’s staying and this is really where he wants to be (until the next offer comes at least!).

  4. E-Dub / Nov 30 2018

    RB, what other NC schools have you heard are in contention besides E-ZU? UNC would have made sense but they obviously went back for Macklemore. You thinking App State if Satterfield goes somewhere? Or were you just thinking FBS in general? I wonder if he is interested / thinks he has a shot at the Maryland job. There can’t be too many top-shelf coaches looking to take over that steaming pile of poo program and he sure knows the natural recruiting area.

  5. RB / Nov 30 2018

    e-dub, ECU and ASU were the two carolina schools i’ve heard mentioned. listening to houston i do think there is something to being closer to home, so i’d say maryland wouldn’t be an option. and ecu might be nearly as far from his home as jmu (i’m pretty sure he’s from western NC).

    And I know it’s FBS, but leaving an FCS program that has a chance to compete nationally on an annual basis for a low-level FBS ECU or ASU that measures success by getting to something like the belk bowl just seems wrong. having said that, I agree with the comment posted earlier that his next stop (at a low level FBS) is meant to be a stepping stone to a bigger program like UNC. I doubt MBrown will be there long but the problem is unc has two coordinators with former HC experience at a major program that houston would be competing with for the job after mack.

  6. SunChase / Nov 30 2018

    Lots of Dark Hollow for you this week, eh Todd?

  7. E-Dub / Nov 30 2018

    RB, thanks for the info, it makes sense. I believe that Houston is from Franklin, which is way in southwestern NC near the Georgia line. Two and a half hours or so from Boone.

    I agree that if his goal is a G5 school with the occasional trip to the Belk Bowl or some such, that’s just wrong and frankly he’s selling himself short. If, however, his goal is a P5 job, then ECU makes way more sense now and he’ll have the opportunity to win big (better league, the 757 right in your backyard, etc.). I’ll feel way better if he winds up going there – to me, him going to Charlotte would have been Dithers-to-Texas State 2.0.

  8. Scott / Nov 30 2018

    Just realized all of the Dukes losses occured on the first Saturday of the month. Let’s break that bullshit trend tomorrow.

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