Oct 21 / Todd

Marshall @ JMU: Official JMUSB Game #7 Preview

Let’s get this resiliency back again this week!

The Basics

Matchup: Marshall Thundering Herd (3-3, 0-2 Sun Belt) at JMU Dukes (5-1, 3-1 Sun Belt)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EDT. Saturday, October 22, 2022, Bridgeforth Stadium, The ‘burg

Weather: Sunny, warm, still a tad humid. 71. But cold early and late so get the options/layer ready.

Broadcast: ESPN+

Boys in the Desert: JMU -13, O/U 53.5

How We Got Here

The Dukes are 5-1 and have fallen out of the AP poll but despite last week’s crash landing are still very much a balanced and complete team that still has the nation’s best rush defense and a dynamic offense.

The Herd has(have?) been one of the weirdest teams to figure out this year. They have THAT win, an unforgettable 26-21 win over Notre Dame in South Bend back in the Sun Belt’s wild Week 2. Otherwise, they have two FCS wins; one a 28-7 affair that was closer than that score reflects against Gardner-Webb and the other a JMU-esque 55-3 drubbing of Norfolk St. Then they have three BAD losses. They followed up the ND triumph with a gag-inducing 34-31 OT loss to a putrid Bowling Green team. They’ve only played two Sun Belt games to date, a 16-7 loss at Troy and last week’s weird weather-effected 23-13 Wednesday night 23-13 loss at home to Louisiana.

How Marshall Can Win

Rockfight. Marshall has scored 20 points TOTAL in their two Sun Belt games. Their offensive line is massive and RB Khalon Laborn is outstanding. But they are extremely limited in the passing game and cannot afford to get into the kind of track meet JMU is capable of. Coach Huff suggested the Herd will have a two-QB system this week and we all know what it means when you have two QB’s – you really don’t have a QB.

But on the other side of the ball, as Coach Cignetti noted, and this wasn’t just coach speak, in this week’s Sun Belt presser, Marshall’s defense is extremely tough and talented. The Herd need to lean on them to muck this game up and force turnovers the way they did in the win over the Irish. Even in their losses to Troy and ULL, the defense was a pain. If Marshall wins, an ugly, physical contest where neither team exceeds around 20 points seems the most likely recipe.

Adding to this need to keep this thing a tight rockfight throughout, Marshall’s roster features 50+ transfers out of the portal in the new staff’s attempt to ride the university’s juco-esque tradition (not meant as a shot, just a fact) towards an ultra-fast turnaround. Early results had them rocking in Huntington on the way home from South Bend, but at 3-3, 0-2, what does this freshly-acquired group do if the Dukes start humming again? Like we said, the Herd need to avoid letting a Homecoming crowd at Bridgeforth start feeling itself.

How JMU Can Win

Cut down on big mistakes, be patient, and ride the Bridgeforth energy when they get momentum. Marshall’s strong rushing attack will be arguably the first giant test for a Dukes rush defense that has yielded basically NOTHING all season. But Marshall, who has yet to score more than 28 points in regulation against non-Norfolk St. competition (including another FCS game), seems unlikely to simply run away with this game if JMU can limit the huge mistakes that hurt so bad last week but had been uncharacteristic before that (keep in mind that JMU’s LOWEST point total of the year was 32 at App). Against Marshall’s tough defense, this may require some patience from both the offensive players and play-callers and a revved up Homecoming crowd. 10-3 good guys at the half would not be a disaster. But this week, if/when the Dukes ever stretch the lead to two scores and a Bridgeforth crowd that is fully ready to celebrate this fun-filled start to FBS life gets rocking, JMU has to lock in and ride that momentum. No letting anyone have hope like last week. A 14-point lead for a Dukes team with some wounded pride on defense and a more limited offensive team like the Herd is a formula for some rollicking good times in Section 210 and all around the happiest place on Earth this Saturday!

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Commonwealth Brewing Marvolo Imperial Chocolate Nitro Stout – This is the like the old man version of Hard Mountain Dew and perfect for Homecoming. Nitro coffee, chocolate, coconut, 8.7%. Let it rip.

Official JMUSB Prediction

The Dukes finally face one of the other Sun Belt newcomers this week when the Herd make the trip east on 64 across the Mountain State and up the Valley on 81 (Douthat! ifykyk). With all the excitement about renewing hostilities with ODU and App, and now unfortunately being reminded to hate Georgia Southern quicker than we’d hoped, the fact there’s a green team with a certain animal logo that’s not too far in a different direction has gotten a bit lost. But make no mistake, this one’s going to explode in multiple sports at some point and I don’t think we’re alone in being excited for a reasonably drivable and passionate fanbase in a new spot. Marshall’s time as a 1-AA power barely overlapped with JMU’s real ascendance. While the teams only met twice (both in Huntington), they were notable moments for JMU. In JMU’s first 1-AA playoff appearance, the Herd won in 87 and then in 94 a very good Dukes team (Jordan/Lee/Brooks/Jeter/etc.) lost in OT in the second round to the then #2 Herd (coincidentally after beating fellow SBC member Troy in the first round in Harrisonburg).

Our bet this week is the Dukes rally big-time after last week’s disappointment and meet what is certain to be a physical challenge in the last game before a break in front of a raucous BFS crowd. Marshall may be able to grind this game to a standstill for a bit, but we don’t think they can score consistently enough to hang with JMU for 60 minutes.

JMU 30, Marshall 16


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  1. Steve Brown / Oct 21 2022


  2. CJ / Oct 21 2022

    Although it’s a big disappointment, I’m actually not feeling too bad about the loss to GSU. Aside from that special team disaster and some exploitations of our secondary, I think we performed pretty well. This may be a controversial position but I’ll give credit to the coaching as well — Cignetti has never had our team thoroughly beaten, we’ve always been in striking distance to win in all of our losses. Bottom line, I think the Top 25 ranking was just too much to bear. Hopefully we’ll get back on track now that the big #25 target is off our backs.

    This could be a turning point, however, because the schedule only gets tougher from here on out. Marshall may look vulnerable on paper, but they are still a very good team and very capable of hitting us hard. Louisville and Coastal, of course, are also heavyweights and I think ODU could be a dark horse as well that could give us problems. Again, no more Rhode Islands or Maines to give us a few ground balls between slugfests.

    I also think that up until last weekend Centeio should have been legitimately in the Heisman conversation. Boom.

  3. Hart / Oct 22 2022

    I thought it would be low scoring and close, but now that TC is out it will be even lower scoring. Gotta scratch this one out with a first time starter at QB and hopefully no turnovers with lots of field position football.

  4. OBXDuke83 / Oct 22 2022

    Where is Todd Centeio?

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