Oct 14 / Rob

JMU Welcomes New Hampshire to Bridgeforth

It’s Homecoming Weekend at JMU. In my younger days that would have meant rushing out of work on Friday afternoon, piling into a car with friends, and driving straight to the ‘Burg ready to spend my weekend drinking obscene amounts of Beast Lite, and striking out with an untold number of young co-eds. Now, Homecoming mostly serves as a reminder that I am old. Very old. There is a big football game however, and I’m way more excited about that than I ever would have been years ago.

Match-up: #7 JMU Dukes vs #16 New Hampshire Wildcats

Records: JMU (4-1, 1-1 CAA), New Hampshire (3-3, 1-2 CAA)

Kick-off: 3:30 PM


Weather Forecast: 68 and Sunny

Other Previews: One from the bad guy’s perspective and one from the good guy’s perspective (written by our commenter JMU Rugby!).

Let’s Get Down to Business

Just like many Wildcat squads from the past, this year’s team throws early and throws often. QB R.J. Toman sets the pace for the leading passing offense in the CAA, which averages 238 yards a game in the air. They’ve also got the conference’s receptions leader, in senior wide receiver Terrance Fox, who averages 6 catches a game. They struggle running the ball though and currently sit last in the CAA in rushing offense.

The Wildcats Play D Also

Taking a quick look at the stats, it appears that New Hampshire has a pretty stout defense. They only give up 15.8 points a game, good for 4th best in the conference. They also force a lot of turnovers, with 3 fumbles recovered and 15 picks. Dig a little deeper however and the Wildcat D doesn’t exactly seem like the 85 Bears. Throw out the blowout over not-quite-a-powerhouse Central Connecticut State in which UNH only gave up a field goal, and last week’s shutout over Richmond in which the Spiders’ punter played QB (and threw 5 picks!) and the points against climbs to 23 a game.

The Dukes’ Defensive Stars

It’s no secret that the strength of JMU’s team is its defense. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that Stephon Robertson is the real deal. The redshirt freshman linebacker leads JMU in tackles and has the 9th most in the CAA. Fellow linebacker Pat Williams ranks 14th in the same category. DJ Bryant has been an absolute monster on a D-line led by senior Ronnell Brown. And while this year’s secondary doesn’t have a Tony Lezotte type dominant force, the group collectively is just sick.

The JMU Stars on Offense



No. We kid because we love. Sure, there might not be a Rodney Landers sort of superman presence on this offense, but collectively there is a ton of talent. Coming into this season I thought this Dukes team potentially had more game-breakers than any JMU team of recent memory. Drew Dudzik, Justin Thorpe, Kerby Long, Scott Noble, Dae’Quan Scott, Jamal Sullivan, & Griff Yancey all have big play ability. Unfortunately Justin went down, just when it appeared Mickey had figured out a way to use him effectively and Barlow is now out. We all know that the offense hasn’t found its groove yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually.

There’s Always a But

I’ve spent a lot of time breaking down tape and conducting in-depth analysis of the JMU attack and I can’t figure it out. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration (actually it’s a complete lie), but I’ve watched the games while drinking beer and screaming “open up the damn playbook!” and I’m still stumped. So I’m forced to look at the stats. JMU is 3rd in the CAA in rushing offense, but dead last in passing. JMU has given up the fewest sacks in the CAA, but also has the fewest first downs. JMU is 3rd in the league in red zone efficiency, but they don’t get in the red zone often and only Rhode Island and Towson have fewer red zone TDs. JMU has scored 103 points this season for a respectable 21.2 points a game average, but 48 of those points came against Morehead State, a team that is just awful.

That Didn’t Help

Yeah, the stats paint a hazy picture at best. Is this just another JMU power rushing attack that doesn’t emphasize passing or is this just a plain old struggling offense? I still haven’t figured  it out. It does seem like the coaches are calling the game not to lose, instead of to win though. That’s fine if for teams that play shut-down defense (check) and limit mistakes (no check, not even a half check). The Dukes are killing themselves, averaging almost 70 yards a game in penalties!

Ugh, This Offense Makes Me Want to Drink

Makes sense. Since its Homecoming and I’m once again reminded how old I am, we’re gonna go old school this week. The JMUSB Beer of the Week is Liberty Anchor Steam. Beer geeks know that this was the beer that started the craft beer movement in America, yet I feel like it’s often overlooked. Maybe it’s because it’s ubiquitous and people sleep on it the way hipsters pretend to hate bands that make it big. It’s a damn good beer though. Get some. Drink some. Repeat.

JMUSB Prediction

As we told you in our New Hampshire preview, we think this is the year the Wildcats take a step back. We also tell you every week that this could be the week the offense starts clicking. We’re nothing if we’re not stubborn. Dudzik gets ’em rolling on Saturday.

JMU Dukes 24 – New Hampshire Wildcats 13


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  1. Todd / Oct 15 2010

    I was going to suggest Eastern Shore Brewing’s Knot So Pale Ale, but it’s just bad. Still, Eastern Shore’s tasting room is a pretty cool diversion if in St. Michael’s.

  2. Herb / Oct 15 2010

    If JMU loses, the beer for the ‘Nova game should be Mt. Pleasant Brewing Train Wreck Ale.

  3. Ryan / Oct 15 2010

    Good article guys. Trying to head up there to meet Dross and the queen with my little princess for the game.

  4. JMU Rugby / Oct 15 2010

    Thanks a lot for the link! Good preview, where are you guys gonna be in the parking lot? I’m sippin on nattys in ashby right now…real good to be home!!!

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