Nov 16 / Todd

The Big One: JMU v. ODU Preview

Try as we might, there’s just no denying the enormity of this weekend’s game at Bridgeforth.  We’ve talked about this game and what it means seemingly forever and there are an infinite number of angles, but as Dukes fans, let’s all agree to a short moratorium on all the “future of the program/direction of the university/fire everyone/extend contracts” talk.  How about we shelve the post-mortem reports from whenever you read this until whenever the season officially ends?  We’re good?  Alright, let’s do this.  National TV (NBCSN), night game, last meaningful FCS game of the season and it’s certain the selection committee will be watching this one like a hawk, likely with multiple scenarios already gamed out for the bracket depending on the result.  Bridgeforth in mid-November after a day-long chilly fall/winter tailgate!

The Basics

JMU has to win to get into the playoffs.  Yes, there’s a chance they could win and still not get in, but without a win here, they are out.  ODU is an in-state foe that we’d hoped would be a rival for years to come, but since they’re already moving up to FBS’ CUSA next year, this may be the last matchup for quite sometime.  This game carries with it bragging rights for fans across the state, especially those Dukes living in the Tidewater area.

ODU is ranked 3rd in the nation because they’re good.  On offense they can be downright deadly.  Maybe the best in FCS, certainly the best passing team anywhere in FCS.  Their sophomore QB Taylor Heinicke is a stud who had an historical performance earlier this season against New Hampshire, though in actuality that only means he tops the list of QB’s who have had historical performances against UNH’s pass defense this year.  Don’t be fooled though, Heinicke’s interceptions are up this year and the team has not clicked quite the way they did last year.  Not that they aren’t capable, but last year this team looked unstoppable offensively and this season they’ve looked awfully human on occasion.

On defense, well that’s another story.  Despite firing their old DC in the offseason, they have yet to stop anyone and almost always seem to keep any halfway decent team in games even while their offense keeps ringing the bell.  This has been especially true at times against read-option teams.

A Note About the Crowd

Those JMU students attending this game are to be applauded.  They are not to be hassled all day about why their fellow students gave up on the team and/or hightailed their sheltered little asses out of town and home to Mom’s house, thereby giving away a golden opportunity for what could be a legendary game and night in the ‘Burg.  Same goes for the crowd generally.  If it doens’t fill, it doesn’t fill.  Yes, that sucks.  But those that remain are smart, serious fans who are absolutely capable of creating all the electricity JMU needs!

Additionally, the ODU contingent is likely to be larger than any visiting team we’ve seen in the two years at New Bridgeforth.  Not to sound all “get off my lawn,” but while we certainly encourage good-natured taunting, mocking, heckling, and booing, don’t teabag anyone or get arrested and ruin your life like an Alabama fan.

Beer of the Week

Well, a game this big calls for something special.  So I’m hitting the retro machine and going with Colorado-based O’Dell Brewing’s 90 Shilling Ale.  This was my first “favorite beer” when I first discovered there was such a thing as “good beer.”  It’s a Scottish Ale with serious flavor, but at a mild 5.3% ABV, you can enjoy an extended tailgate!

Our Take and Prediction

Given the reaction on the blog this week (and we love that JMUSB has become such a great forum to talk all things Dukes!), it seems many in JMU land think there’s no chance this weekend.  But here are a few things to keep in mind.  First, if you remember last year’s game, JMU’s rush-only attack was unstoppable against the Monarchs before we lost THREE offensive linemen in that game.  Yes, it’s an excuse, but the Dukes still probably win the game without the pre-halftime hail mary for ODU.  Second, while JMU’s performance against Villanova was gag-inducing on all levels, ODU took a 10-0 lead against Nova and then gave up 38 unanswered at home, losing 38-10.  Third, it seems every year, even in the “tough” years we’ve seen since ’08, JMU seems to produce one magical game at home where things just click.  Last year it was the zillion-sack beatdown of Aaron Corp and then-ranked UR at homecoming.  The year before, a seriously struggling JMU team put DQS at QB, completed ZERO passes for an entire game, and upset then #1 William & Mary going away.  We just haven’t seen that yet this year in a game that meant something at home and to be honest, I’ll be horribly surprised if this isn’t the Dukes most inspired performance of the year.  Lastly, this is 1-AA, and for those of us that have been paying attention a while can tell you, don’t bet on anything being sure at this level.  So screw worrying about the playoffs, this is ODUh.  So don’t forget your hats, gloves, handwarmers, and most importantly, your flasks, and get ready to send them back to Nawfuck with a heavy dose of humility before we see them again down there in three weeks!

JMU 38, ODU 35 (if that score looks familiar, you know what a huge night game at BFS is capable of producing)

Final note: Look for our new, giant purple JMUSB banner hanging from a Dukes tent on Godwin and stop by to say hi and share a beverage!


leave a comment
  1. MRD2012 / Nov 16 2012

    What I’m doing awake at 2am, reading this blog, I do not know. Especially with an 8 am in the morning. There are some FB players in my dorm.(albeit redshirts but they’re at practice and know the gameplan) From what I hear, assuming its true, JMU is going to give ODU a run for their money on Saturday. Blitz Early, Blitz Often is what I’ve heard defensively. Get in Heinicke’s face early and make him wish he was back in Norfolk stuck in a traffic jam. Thats the key to winning. I haven’t heard much about the offensive side of the ball but I expect very few similarities to last week.

    I originally predicted an ODU blowout but I’ve changed my mind. I expect the D will keep this one close and not let it turn into a shootout, what other choice do they have? It’ll be close, and C.Starke has to be clutch. 17-14 Dukes.

    I’ll be with the band on Saturday Night, but believe me, there is NOTHING that would get me off of campus and out of BFS if I wasn’t. Its time to show VA where the Royalty lives. Lets finish this, Dukes.

  2. JMUMRD11 / Nov 16 2012

    I trust that this team is going to perform well tomorrow night. I am not even worried about the playoffs right now…actually..I do care about the playoffs, nevermind..but a win tomorrow night would be absolutely spectacular. Let’s Go Dukes, we can do this. Also, looking forward to coming by the tent tomorrow and meeting you guys.

  3. Cam / Nov 16 2012

    Making the early drive tomorrow from Charlotte NC . Ill make sure to stop by and say hi. Go Dukes!

  4. Brian / Nov 16 2012

    Rob & Todd – I’ll walk over from P Lot to see you guys. I’m evoking some of our best games from years past to get fired up – 2004 vs. Delaware, 2004 Semis @ W&M, 2004 National Championship (ODU can’t claim that!) 2008 vs. App State, 2008 @ Richmond, 2008 Semis vs. Montana, 2010 @ VT, and 2012 vs. W&M. We can win close games. We’ve done it before, let’s do it again. Go Dukes.

  5. Steve J. / Nov 16 2012

    It’s time to see what some positive thinking can do here!

    Heineke is REALLY good! Let’s hope we can get some good pressure on him and force a few mistakes. If our d-backs get an opportunity for an interception, they NEED to catch the ball and not drop it.

    No lead is safe against ODU….so the fans needs to stay for the whole game if we find ourselves fortunate enough to get a decent lead.

    Most importantly, I will enjoy the tailgating, comraderie, and promotion of the purple and gold that comes along with a game day on campus. I will be proud to be a Duke when it’s all over regardless of the outcome! GO DUKES!!!

  6. White Hall / Nov 16 2012

    The hype about the size of ODU contingency coming may be just that, hype. According to this morning’s Virginian Pilot, ODU has not even sold out its allotment of 1000 tickets.

  7. Todd / Nov 16 2012

    Nice to see some good vibes flowing on here and hope White Hall is right about the ODU fans. A weak showing from them might say more than a strong one after all their talk.

    One correction to the blog that I won’t get a chance to make until this evening in the official post. We’ll be tailgating on Hanson Field, not Godwin. Change in our parking plans is all. But look for the banner hanging from a JMU tent and see you out there!

  8. Shady_P / Nov 16 2012

    Get to Heineke and rattle his cage. I don’t even care if the D gets a couple of roughing the passer penalties. If you get flagged make them count, no cheapies. Unleash some rage and aggression on ODU….HIT ANYTHING THAT MOVES AND MAKE THEM REMEMBER THIS TRIP TO THE ‘BURG FOR A LONG TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Make it a mission to FLAT-ASS lay someone out on the opening kickoff.

    GO DUKES!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. JMUDRU / Nov 16 2012

    The “A note about the crowd” is spot-on (well done guys). There is no use worrying about the people that aren’t there. Just cheer that much louder to make up for it. A partially full stadium of people going crazy on every down is going to be much louder than a full-stadium on any other day(especially parents weekend.)

  10. MRD2012 / Nov 16 2012

    I don’t expect BFS to be that much quieter anyways. The fans that will be there tomorrow will be the same ones that have been doing the cheering all year long.

  11. Steve / Nov 16 2012

    I don’t care the score but we better play hard and hit hard and they better know, they were in a football game when they wake up on Sunday…
    JMU 21 ODU? Step up defense and don’t let Heineke look all pro.. I’m tired of hearing about them and yes I live in 757 and I can’t stand ODU’s Coach its all come to easy for them…

  12. Megan / Nov 16 2012

    GO DUKES! I still haven’t recovered from last year’s loss here in Norfolk. It would be so wonderful to send the Monarchs out of the CAA with a loss in Harrisonburg.

  13. Monarx / Nov 16 2012

    All the best dukes. We are ready to hand your a$$e$ to you tomorrow. See you guys in the ‘burg.

  14. 2004 Duke / Nov 16 2012

    I love it how 10th rate hack football fans like “Blueboy” and “Monarx” think they have arrived after a paltry 4 years of existence.

    I can’t wait for the big ODU-Florida International rivalry! Go get ’em big blue!


  15. 2004 Duke / Nov 16 2012

    If that score DOESN’T look familiar, you are not a real JMU fan.

  16. 2004 Duke / Nov 16 2012

    Innteresting facts:

    1) 2008:
    #3 UMass 38
    #7 JMU 52 F

    2) UMass moves to FBS

    3) 2012: UMass- 1 win, 9 losses.

    #3 ODU
    #13 JMU ? …… ODU moves to FBS…….. (just sayin’)

  17. Todd / Nov 16 2012

    There you go 2004! That’s the positivity we are looking for!

  18. Monarx / Nov 16 2012

    wow “2004 Duke” your way of defining strength and success is through age as if you were rating wine or an oak stump.While we are playing FIU have fun playing CAA cup cakes.No matter how you see it like other fbs starters ODU will have trouble settling in but after that we have some ground to hold on to but you guys are lost.

  19. Steve J. / Nov 16 2012

    Monarx…The biggest difference is that no matter where the Dukes are in the future, we will still have class! That’s something that you will never possess (along with a CAA conference championship or an FCS national championship).

  20. Monarx / Nov 16 2012

    Okay Steve hang on to those trophies and the very special “Class” that no others possess they might be the only things which you will have after a while.Lets have fun tailgating and enjoy an awesome game tomorrow.

  21. 2004 Duke / Nov 17 2012

    Aww… Monarx is too cute. I can’t wait to watch ODU on Tuesday nights on ESPN 2. Enjoy the GMAC bowl buddy.

  22. Monarx / Nov 17 2012

    hehe 🙂 “2004 Duke” remember what you just said you might be saying it to your near and dear in the near future in non rhetoric fashion.

  23. Monarx / Nov 18 2012

    Dukes, after the hangover and missing the selections on tv i finally woke up.Man i gotta tell ya BFS is one nice stadium i wish we had one like that and its a very warm and welcoming town too.All these freakin years that i heard bad things about you guys i never realized how wrong people are about you guys.I for one want a rematch and visit Bridgeforth again..but unfortunately not anytime soon 🙁 Well best of luck guys please let go that Mickey mouse and get an aggressive coach who can turn things over for you.You got all the resources all you need is one good AD and a HC that is all.By the way the dukes entrance from the Duke Dog is awesome….see ya fellas hope we meet down the lane sometime in FBS..

  24. Rob / Nov 18 2012

    Classy comment Monarx and we appreciate you taking the time to leave it. In our post game write up, I mentioned that while I hate ODU (sports hate that is), it was exciting to play a team with such a passionate fanbase. I’m really distraught that ODU is moving to CUSA. Not because I’m jealous, but because I think JMU vs ODU would have been such a great rivalry. Good luck in the playoffs and CUSA and thanks for stopping by our blog.

  25. Steve J. / Nov 18 2012

    Monarx…we seem to have an open date this Saturday (and so does ODU), sooooooo, LOL….Of course our game plan and play calling won’t change, but we are always game.

    Good luck to the CAA teams in the playoffs!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. DMV: WaPo Sports Doesn’t Appear To Be Very Good At Sports (GIF) | Mr. Irrelevant, a D.C. Sports Blog by the Brothers Mottram
Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: