Sep 12 / Todd

2019 Game Preview #3: Morgan St. at JMU

The Basics

Matchup: Morgan St. Bears (0-1) at #2 JMU Dukes (1-1)

Kickoff: 4:00 PM Saturday, September 14th

Location: Zane Showker Field at Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, VA

Weather: Mostly Cloudy. Stray shower or thunderstorm possible (20-40%). High 80. Light wind.

Coverage: NBC Sports Washington in-market. FloSports streameing everywhere else. Last week the NBC feed was “accidentally” blacked out by mistake for out-of-market DirecTV folks. This week (and Villanova for Family Weekend) that will apply on purpose. So for many Dukes, it may finally be the week to get raked over the coals by the CAA!

Head Coach Tyrone Wheatley and Other Cool Morgan St. Things

Tyrone Wheatley, yup that one, is Morgan St.’s new Head Coach. Fantasy players certainly remember Wheatley being at top pick for the Giants and as a big ole goal-line touch vulture for the Raiders in his heyday after a stellar college career at Michigan. What we didn’t know was he’s truly paid his coaching dues, having started coaching high school at his alma mater in Detroit, then DII at Ohio Northern and then stops at Eastern Michigan, Syracuse, and Michigan in FBS and NFL assistant jobs in Buffalo and Jacksonville. He and his wife have five children, one of whom is sophomore RB at Virginia Tech. Hopefully his name and experience can really boost a program like Morgan St., so long as that starts after this week.

The Bears actually have a long and pretty cool history as a school and as a football program. Morgan St., located in Baltimore, is one of the oldest HBCU’s in the nation, founded in 1867. The football program is also one of the country’s oldest, having started in 1898. And their most famous player is inarguably one of the sports’ all-time greats, Chiefs Hall of Fame Linebacker Willie Lanier.

How the Bears Can Win

They probably can’t. Morgan St. hasn’t played since opening the season at FBS Bowling Green over two weeks ago so they should be fresh, and potentially much improved from that day. Note that a 46-3 FBS loss is really not unexpected or all that bad for a MEAC squad with a new Coach coming off a 4-7 season. The Bears haven’t won a non-conference road game since 2014 though so while there’s a first time and place for everything, Bridgeforth against a monstrous Dukes’ defense seems unlikely to be that place.

Keep in mind though that Morgan St. did go to Greensboro last year and knock off a then-#4 NC A&T team 16-13. That Aggies team had already beaten Jacksonville St. and ECU and would go on to win the MEAC and the Celebration Bowl (and oh by the way, start this season off with a win over CAA Elon). MSU also played CAA Albany very tough last year in a 30-27 loss up in New York. Plus the Bears feature quite a few Virginians on the team (particularly Prince William and Stafford counties) who are familiar with some of JMU’s roster and 17 returning starters from last year, so there’s little chance of them being intimidated.

But they’ll need to follow the same playbook as any really heavy underdog and play a clean (no penalties, no turnovers) game and hope to capitalize on JMU mistakes. It’s really hard to see Morgan St. matching the Dukes up front or in the speed department (at least not up and down the lineup) but the Dukes have got to clean up the mistakes that have nagged them the first two weeks.

How JMU Can Win

Play cleaner. The Dukes have fumbled on offense and specials, kicked off out of bounds, committed untimely penalties, and failed to score red-zone TD’s all in the first two weeks. An FBS opponent and a new regime provide excuses. Frisco expectations and 19 returning starters do not. JMU simply needs to clean things up and they can roll in this one.

Also, we’re convinced on Vanhorse, but it’d be reallllly nice to see the returning contributors Percy and Jawon find a rhythm with the line and in this scheme. Gonna need those heavy hitters here soon.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Funky Buddha Florida Hefeweizen – An old-school light, tangy, hef is not our all-time favorite beer, but THIS is just a classic summer beer, and it’s widely available. After all the awfulness – and let’s be honest, nilihism – we’ve entertained this offseason from the Truly/Naturdays/Claw crowd, it’s time to break out something that fills their cries of “good summer beer” while actually being a) beer, and b) good.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Dukes Devastation. Faster, stronger, and hopefully better coached. JMU played “alright” against a better team in St. Francis last week and still cruised. While MSU has individual talent at certain positions to make a few plays, a full 60 minutes or any significant production on offense seems unlikely. We’re just hoping no thunderstorms causing some of the crazy weather delay/cancellations we’ve seen in this slot on occasion.

JMU 59, Morgan St. 10

One Comment

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  1. 2004 duke / Sep 14 2019

    Eastern Washington is playing Jacksonville State this weekend, and we scheduled this garbage. JMU owes the fans better than MEAC schools

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