JMU Plays to Its Considerable Potential, Beats Maine
Finally! At long last, and just when many in JMU Nation had nearly abandoned hope of it happening, the Dukes came to play for 60 minutes (well, 59, but who’s counting?) in all phases of the game, destroying Maine 31-7 on the road and setting up an exciting final two weeks!
Defense. Pitched a shutout (that was only ruined by the offensive coaches ridiculous over-aggressiveness in the final minute when the Dukes gave up a fumble return td). Pressured the QB consistently. For the most part, finally seemed to play tighter on receivers. By far their best performance of the season and the Dukes were simply dominant, holding Maine to 104 yards of total offense for the game and creating three turnovers. If the D plays like that, JMU can win. And keep winning for a while over the next six weeks.
Specials. Kick coverage continued its consistent play. And after missing an early one, Killa Cam Starke got back on track in the kicking game. Despite an occasional scare with ball security, Ryan Smith is also beginning to provide a spark in the return game and he made some big plays on D as well. Nice to have another new big-play contributor.
Certain elements on offense. Namely the use of multiple RB’s and involving Brian Barlow throughout the game. While DaeQuan Scott went over 100 yards again, it was nice to see some of the other backs in the mix as the game went along. Brodie, Anderson, and Latney had 15 carries between them including some very solid play from Brodie, something Rob’s been begging for for weeks now.
JT. Came back from the doghouse and turned in his best effort of the season. This was exactly the kind of performance he’s always seemed capable of, but rarely delivered. Running, passing, and dare we say it, leading. It’s not even that Birdsong was terrible, going 5-8 when he was in there, but JT sparked the team and we can only dream it continues.
Seriously, the east/west running plays are just beyond painful to watch at this point. You’ve got an All-American Left Guard leading a veteran and relatively healthy OLine, a top RB, and when JT is in there, a tough running QB. Just line up and hit people in the mouth and for the love of everything decent stop going shotgun on short yardage plays.
Michael Birdsong’s seemingly ugly sprained ankle. Word is no major, long-term damage, but it was the dreaded high-ankle sprain so it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be replacing JT again anytime soon. That said, given that the other QB’s have zero experience, the Dukes will feel a hell of a lot better if the Ginger Giant can heal up quick.