Sep 26 / Todd

2019 JMUSB Game Preview #5: JMU at Elon

The Basics

Matchup: #2 JMU Dukes (3-1, 0-0 CAA) at #24 Elon (2-2, 1-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 2 PM Saturday, September 28

Location: Rhodes Stadium, Elon (really Burlington), NC

Weather: Partly Cloudy with a 40% chance of afternoon showers/storms. High 90.

Broadcast: FloFootball Only. Yup, we all finally have to bite the bullet and punch ourselves in the face with CAA Commish Joey D’s moron network. Guess we’ll see. Side note, as hoops preseason emails and hype got going the last week or so, it’s been funny to see our non-football CAA friends at Northeastern, Drexel, etc. start to realize what a hideous thing paying 12.99 per month is for something that was hard enough to get casual fans that you need to build a fanbase watching when it was free despite the fact it was their AD’s that voted for this nonsense over the reported objections of JMU and W&M.

Friends in the Desert: JMU -13.5 (-560 ML), O/U 51

How the Fightin’ Christians Can Win

Stands to reason that Coach Trisciani and the remaining Elon staff have a pretty good idea what Coach Cignetti and the departed Elon coaches want to do. So Elon needs to win what is sure to be a fascinating chess match in terms of scheme and play exactly the kind of sharp, mistake-free football they did last year when the kicked JMU’s ass at BFS. The Phoenix really really need to find a way to run the ball a bit on JMU, as much to limit JMU’s offensive possessions against a not-as-strong-as-last-year’s Defense as to score. It’s tempting against a Dukes team that has shown vulnerability in the secondary and a surprising inability to rush the passer to want to lean on Davis Cheek and the passing game, but Elon cannot afford to try and win a track meet with the Dukes. Their three strong running backs, led by All-CAA preseason pick sophomore Jalen Greene, have to find at least some daylight against a beastly JMU front seven.

How the Dukes Can Win

Tune out the noise and do their jobs. With all the storylines this week it’ll be easier for young players on both teams to get distracted by things that don’t matter to the play in front of you. Who left who, who ended whose streak, who has a chip on their shoulder. None of those things we fans might care about actually matter when it’s 3rd and 6 in a crucial situation in the second half. And the Dukes have got to a better job focusing only on the play in front of them. At WVU and again this last week at Chattanooga, the Dukes seemed to get a little ahead of themselves after decent starts. They have to learn to avoid that tendency, and this week it’ll be super important to do so.

On defense, the Dukes have got to find a way to get pressure on Davis Cheek without exposing themselves to the savvy vet who picked the Dukes apart late in the game last year. JMU’s secondary has shown that youth and injury have had them susceptible to breakdowns and Cheek, along with WR Kortez Weeks and TE Matt Foster, will light them up if they can’t force the action.

On the other side of the ball, the Dukes would be well-served to continue the power-running game they found in the second half at Chattanooga last week. The Phoenix’s best defensive players are likely their DE’s so anything that slows the rush down will open the playbook for all kinds of things.

Record Watch

After a few years of JMU teams laden with players who had started for years and become some of the all-time program legends seemingly in position to break records every week, this year there are very few individual all-time records in jeopardy. But one is likely to fall this week as Ethan Ratke sits tied with John Coursey (93-96) atop the all-time list for Field Goals with 39.

Beer of the Week

Elder Pine Brewing and Blending Co. Dense Brume American IPA. I had never heard of this prior to a very fortunate meal in Frederick, MD last week. But this beer from right over in Gaithersburg is simply outstanding. I mean so, so good and worthy of a trip up 270 to the farm.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Davis Cheek is a good QB and these teams know each other so well that they’re both almost certainly going to make some plays this week. But the Dukes D-Line is absolutely too much for Elon and come the second half, the pressure will arrive. We’re actually optimistic versus the line this week and think the Dukes focus on a team they know they must respect could produce the most important result of the season to date.

JMU 31, Elon 13

3 Comments

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  1. Drake / Sep 27 2019

    I know stats don’t show everything but when you look at Elon’s overall stats, they don’t jump off the page. Defensively and Offensively. Cheek is throwing around 58%. If we don’t make any mistakes, I don’t see this one being close.

  2. Deacon Danny / Sep 27 2019

    FloSports TV package (or whatever you call it)… smh. I’m sure none of us on this site will say “I told you so”! I’m not sure how this can be better when last year most away games could be found on some sort of broadcast for free!

  3. CJ / Sep 27 2019

    I watched part of the Elon – Wake Forest game last weekend, and despite a blowout by a very good Wake team, I thought Elon showed some flashes of talent at a few points. They’re a good team, but I still think the Dukes should win by a few scores. Hopefully there won’t be any surprises…

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