Mar 25 / Rob

2021 Spring Football Game #4 Official JMUSB Preview: JMU at W&M

In normal times, we have “spring football.” You know what we’re talking about. A few weeks of practice for the coaches to run everyone out there and maybe light a few fires of around some key position battles, before everyone suiting up for a pseudo-competitive exhibition with indeterminate scoring to wet the fans’ appetites. The entire experience is towing the line between being worthwhile preparation and a complete farce. Most fans get very excited about the notion of “spring football” in the weeks leading up to it. But then it comes and goes without the majority of the fanbase even realizing it. It’s a tradition that matters very much in the mind of college football coaches, but ultimately offers very little in terms of entertainment value for fans. 

Now in 2021, we have Spring Football. Unlike with “spring football,” this new version has full schedules and games that count. And much like with “spring football” it’s something that excited most fans in the weeks leading up to it. But without fans in stadiums, the assurance that each scheduled game will actually be played, or any consistency regarding how conferences have chosen to operate, this Spring Football has felt much more like “spring football” than anything real. 

However, that’s likely to change this weekend. JMU is all set to play William & Mary. With its full complement of players and superior depth, JMU struggled mightily against Robert Morris and Elon. Now thanks to Covid issues, JMU has had limited practice time the past two weeks. And multiple players, reportedly including key ones, are expected to be out due to Covid protocols. To top it all off, William & Mary comes into the game full of confidence after dominating an Elon team that gave JMU fits. Whether it’s Spring Football or “spring football,” things are about to get a bit more real.

The Basics

Matchup: #1 JMU Dukes (3-0, 1-0 CAA) vs. William & Mary Tribe (1-1, 1-1 CAA)

Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. EST. Saturday March 27, 2021, Zable Stadium, Williamsburg, VA

Weather: Partly cloudy. High 74

Broadcast: Cox Yurview or streaming on Flo

Boys in the Desert: JMU -15.5

How William & Mary Can Win

Pounce on JMU early and then control the clock. The Dukes’ play out of the gates its last two games has been, um, underwhelming. The offense has been slow to get going and while the defense has been outstanding in the second half of games, it’s been more vulnerable in the first two quarters. Both Robert Morris and Elon took advantage of JMU’s slow starts to jump out to early leads. Their inability to control clock and generate offense ultimately contributed to them coughing up leads. William & Mary has a rushing attack that can move the chains and keep JMU’s offense on the sidelines. Despite being down to their third string running back, the Tribe ran for 242 yards against Elon. True freshman Malachi Imoh went off for 132 of those on his own. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Expect them to try to pound the ball on the ground and squeeze the JMU defense until it cracks and Imoh can use his breakaway speed. 

How JMU Can Win

Stick to the gameplan. We’re not going to even attempt to tell you what the Dukes’ gameplans were for Robert Morris and Elon. But we’re pretty damn sure that whatever we saw in the first half of of both games, was not what the coaches drew up. Quite frankly, JMU looked ill prepared and maybe like they weren’t taking their opponents seriously. 

We have the utmost confidence in Coach Cignetti and his staff ability to create a winning approach. And it’s easy to imagine how players might have been distracted by everything going on around them the past few months. But nearly losing to two lackluster teams showed that while talented, the Dukes can’t just run out on the field and freelance their way to wins. They need to execute. No more dumb penalties. No more bad decisions. With key players missing, it’s more important than ever that the guys on the field do their jobs and stick together. 

We don’t even know who is starting at QB, but regardless if it’s Gage or CoJo, the running game is going to be key. JMU needs to establish the run and then the QB needs to minimize mistakes. The Dukes don’t need a 300 yard passer on Saturday. They need a QB who makes the right reads, puts the ball where it’s supposed to be, and doesn’t throw into double coverage. If JMU can do that on offense and the D can control the Tribe’s ground game, and the Dukes should win.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Let’s get right to the point. The JMUSB BOTW is Zombie Dust by 3 Floyd’s Brewing. We’re not breaking any news when we say this is a great beer. But while it’s long been a favorite of craft beer drinkers, it only recently became available where we live. We’re late to the party. We get it. But this is a delicious brew and a welcome change from some of the hazy juice bombs flooding the shelves. 

Dukes Helping Others Week 4

As a reminder, each week we’re choosing a charity to donate to in honor of that week’s football game. And we’re asking other Dukes fans to join us. We’ve been overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity thus far and hope the momentum continues. With JMU playing William & Mary we’re asking folks to donate to the Williamsburg Area Meals-on-Wheels. We set the base donation at 5 bucks, but feel free to give more if you can. Text “ROOTIN” to 707070 or click here to donate.

Official JMUSB Prediction

The Dukes are ranked #1 in the country, but have looked anything but dominant. They’re probably going to be missing at least a few key players and they haven’t had a full week of practices in a bit. It’s a tough set of circumstances. But it might be just what this team needs to snap into focus and start playing to its potential. We believe. The D puts together a full game. QB TBD plays smart football and the Dukes get out of Williamsburg with a W. JMU 27 – W&M 13. 

2 Comments

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  1. Deacon Danny / Mar 26 2021

    Anything less than complete focus and dominance will be concerning. Looking forward to seeing what Gage can do in a complete game situation.

  2. Prof Nahabu / Apr 9 2021

    Anything short of complete concentration and strength will concern. Anticipating seeing what Gage can do in a total game circumstance.

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