Oct 28 / Rob

JMU Takes on UMass

The JMU Dukes and UMass Minutemen clash in Bridgeforth Stadium this Saturday. Like the Dukes, the Minutemen got off to a hot start and had their fans thinking about a deep playoff runs. Just like JMU however, UMass has stumbled lately and now just making the playoffs is going to be tough. Both teams enter Saturday’s game in the midst of 2 game slumps. It’s possible a 4 loss CAA team could make the playoffs, but not likely. Therefore there is a good chance the loser of this game will see its playoff dreams go up in smoke.

Match-up: #15 JMU Dukes vs #20 UMass Minutemen

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

Kick-off: 3:30 PM

TV: TSN/CSN-NE, but if you can’t watch, then just follow us on “Tweeter or twister or whatever”

Weather Forecast: 59 and Sunny

What I Know About The University of Massachusetts

I know absolutely nothing about UMass the school. I kind of imagine it as a school full of girls in JUICY sweatpants who describe everything as “wicked awesome” and guys who put creatine in their Four Loko while wearing Red Sox shirts with the sleeves cut off. Maybe it’s actually a picturesque campus populated by engaging students eager to make the world a better place. Since I don’t want to do any research or fact checking, let’s just go with the former description.

What I Know About UMass the Football Program

It’s pretty good, having won the National Championship in 1998 and losing in the championship game to App State in 2006. Former Head Coach Mark Whipple racked up a 49-26 record in his tenure, before departing to become the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Miami before last season. Under Head Coach Kevin Morris, UMass went 5-6 last year. It was the Minutemen’s first losing season since 2001. As we explained in our season preview, in good years, UMass contends for championships. In bad years, the Minutemen are still a very tough out.

The Highs and Lows of the UMass Season

Earlier in the season, UMass was my semi-dark horse (you can’t call a CAA team a real dark horse) to make a run. They opened the season by beating W&M and almost stole a road win at Michigan. They’ve really come back to earth lately, losing an ugle 11-10 game to Richmond and then getting embarrassed 39-13 by the suddenly dangerous New Hampshire Wildcats in front of  the largest crowd ever for a CAA game (nearly 33,000 fans at Gillette Stadium!)

UMass Weapons

The Minutemen have a pretty scary passing attack, led by senior QB Kyle Havens. Havens threw for 450 yards last weekend in the loss to New Hampshire. He’s got 9 TDs this year for what has become the top passing offense in the CAA. UMass also has 2 of the CAA’s top 3 rushers. John Griffin and Jonathan Hernandez split carries and combine for 160 yards a game.

How UMass Can Win

Hmm, If UMass can take advantage of JMU’s banged up d-line and establish the run, it should open things up for Kyle Havens and his favorite target Anthony Nelson to start stretching the defense. Or I guess they could take advantage of JMU’s banged up secondary to open things up for the rushing attack.

How JMU Can Win

Obviously, JMU needs to overcome their many injuries, especially on defense. And it wouldn’t hurt to actually get out to an early lead. However, I really think it comes down to eliminating all the damn penalties. I’ve been harping on it all year, but the Dukes have really beaten themselves with stupid, untimely penalties. Without them their is a good chance they’d be heading into this game 6-1. Keep them to a minimum on Saturday and there is a good chance they’ll emerge 5-3.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Let’s go with something for the hop heads out there, Terrapin Hopsecutioner. Terrapin is a cool brewery out of Athens, Georgia. Useless fact: the brewery’s name is a bit of a nod toward the Grateful Dead and the album Terrapin Station. I’m drinking one as a write this and it’s good. As you’d expect from the name, it’s got some strong hop flavor and a bit of a piney taste, but it’s well balanced by the malt and not overwhelmingly bitter. Plus the name Hopsectutioner is pretty bad ass. Good beer.

Our Prediction

JMU 17 – UMass 13

The offense isn’t going to light it up, but it takes a baby step forward. The defense gets the job done. Playoff hopes remain alive. Go Dukes!


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  1. Jamie Mottram / Oct 29 2010

    Terrapin Hopsecutioner is excellent, and they sell it at the grocery right next to my house!

  2. Todd / Oct 29 2010

    Last minute change of plans and I can’t make it to the ‘Burg tomorrow. It’s obviously late notice, but if any of our readers need tix tomorrow from the NoVa/DC area, they are free of charge. I’ll check comments in the morning or shoot us an email to jmusportsblog@gmail.com.

    That said,I’ll now be at Bailey’s sporting Old Guys Leave and there is a free beer for the first reader I haven’t previously met to say hi.

    Let’s Go Dukes!!

  3. JMU Rugby / Oct 30 2010

    Excellent write up, and even better write up of the UMass student body. I went there last year to see the Dukes win, as usual, and went out with a few friends of friends who still attended UMass. Long story short, I made 10 bucks from some drink kid offering it to the first person who punched him in the face, and about 50 bucks playing silo in the basement of a house on a farm. It was pretty sweet.

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