Oct 7 / Rob

Dukes Sneak By Stony Brook And Now We Can Breathe Again

JMU went on the road for their third game in a row. This time it was a matchup with the Stony Brook Seawolves. And it ended up being a lot closer than many people, us included, expected. Thankfully, the Dukes got out of Long Island with a 45-38 win. But it wasn’t easy. JMU had to overcome some, um questionable, officiating, a number of big plays by the Seawolves, and four turnovers to earn the victory. But they did.

The outcome of this one was in doubt until literally the final play of the game. After JMU scored in OT to go up 7, Delanta Hellams just barely missed hauling in a Tyquell Fields fourth down pass in the end zone. And when the ball hit the turf ending the game, you could hear the collective sighs of relief from all four corners of the JMU fanbase. Because in the moment, it really was relief more than joy. And now a day later, I still don’t know what to think.

I’m really not sure how to assess this one. JMU won a road game against a very tough Stony Brook team. And the Dukes did it on a night when they didn’t really have their “A” game in all three phases. Even ugly wins are wins and the Dukes showed a lot of resilience.

Stony Brook entered the game as the CAA’s second best rush defense, giving up only 88 yards/game on the ground. JMU shredded them for 328 yards on the ground. The O-line was completely dominant. And Nooch had another strong game. He not only made multiple big plays, he showed that he really has command of the offense. Brandon Polk was outstanding and the running backs kept one-upping each other with eye-popping runs. The defensive front four was sick and has made us question why we ever worried about the pass rush.

All of the above has us excited. But there are plenty of concerns. Stony Brook threw for 318 yards. Tyquell Fields is a talented QB, but he shouldn’t be throwing for 300+ yards. JMU’s pass defense is not clicking. You don’t need to be a football genius to notice guys taking bad angles or struggling to stick with receivers. And tackling continues to be a problem. Plus, there were fumbles. Lots and lots of fumbles.

The zebras really did JMU no favors. I’m not one to complain about the refs too much, but there were some truly awful calls that went against JMU. And we’re not just talking debatable pass interference flags or things like that. We’re talking about multiple instances where it really looked like the stripes were making things up. It was bad and the calls hurt the Dukes.

Despite all that however, the Dukes won. They won on the road for the third week in a row. They won against a nasty Stony Brook team that came ready to play and didn’t back down all night. It wasn’t always pretty, but Nooch and the boys got the job done.

4 Comments

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  1. Deacon Danny / Oct 7 2019

    A win is a win, but fumbles and pass Defense were the glaring holes which I know will be the focus of much attention by the Dukes this week. I hope to see all 3-phases clicking in a packed house this weekend againt Nova. Also, looks like Villanova did not run over W&M this past weekend like I would have expected. They had a tie game until the last 2-minutes of that won. Go Dukes!

  2. ShadyP / Oct 7 2019

    It was the 3rd road game in three weeks and back to back road games against ranked teams.

    Offense and OLine played a tremendous game. JMU should have put this one away a couple of times but did not.

    Given Shaky play from the secondary + fumbles + very questionable officiating I think JMU stuck together and overcame a lot of adversity to get this win.

    Work on ball security this week and get Robinson and Tutt back on the field and I think the secondary will look better.

  3. CJ / Oct 7 2019

    Not good. JMU was the better team, but Stony Brook deserved to win. I’m questioning the merit of our #2 ranking after that game.

    Stony Brook is a decent squad, but they’re a top 20 team at best. If they can move the ball 95+ yards down the field on us, and cook our defensive backs like they did, we can only imagine what an elite, top-10 team will do.

    I’m concerned that JMU, once again, has shown the blueprints how they can be beaten. Our secondary is especially vulnerable. Villanova and our subsequent opponents will be looking at those films and exploiting our weaknesses. I’ve got some big concerns about next week’s game.

    But to end on a positive note, I’ll give credit to DiNucci (whom I haven’t always had a lot praise for). I think he played a pretty good game, and I’m hoping he continues this trend of improvement. We’ll need to keep that offense firing on all cylinders if we’re going to stick around in December.

  4. Rob K / Oct 7 2019

    A couple things I took away from this game, which was a really great win:

    1. Like others have said, our O-Line is a thing of monstrous beauty. If we can run on WVU, and we can run on Stony Brook, then we can run on anybody. We are moving the ball forward on every run, and that is something that will carry well into the colder months.

    2. Along with Atariwa, Rashad may be the most important member of the defense. When he is out on the field, they can roll help coverage to the other cornerbacks. When he is not (like on Saturday), there is somebody that seems to be open on most plays.

    3. I’m obviously not a coach, but I really don’t understand why we were not in deep cover 2 or cover 3 on the last play. Why would we allow one-on-one coverage in the endzone like that?

    4. Nooch was great. Receivers had two clear drops and that deep incompletion was definitely a catchable ball.

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