The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from JMU 42 – Albany 28
JMU played Albany to kick-off the 2015 CAA football season yesterday. The Dukes overcame a miserable first half, to defeat the Great Danes 42-28. The win moved JMU to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the CAA. Albany fell to 1-2 and 1-1 in league play. As they say, it was a tale of two halves. JMU did everything it could to give the game away in the first half, but rallied after the break to cruise home for a comfortable win. Next up for the Dukes is a match-up against SMU from the FBS. But first, let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from yesterday’s win.
Halftime Adjustments – If there is one thing that distinguishes the Everett Withers era from the Mickey Matthews era, it’s halftime adjustments. Time and time again, Withers and his assistants work magic in the locker room and are able to fix whatever ailed the Dukes in the opening 30 minutes. They did it again yesterday. JMU came out in the second half like a different team. Vad Lee and his receivers were clicking and the Dukes had a couple quick strike touchdowns to pull away.
Multi-Threat Rushing Attack – Khalid Abdullah ran for 143 yards. Cardon Johnson ran for 134. Vad Lee chipped in with another 72. Ho-hum. Just your standard running game for the 2015 Dukes. These guys are all really good as individuals. As a combined attack, they’re damn near deadly.
Fast Paced Offense – JMU ran 98 plays and racked up 625 yards. You don’t really need me to explain to you how crazy that is, do you?
Pass Catchers – The guys running the ball are putting together some impressive statistical performances, but don’t sleep on the guys catching the ball. There isn’t one single guy that the defense needs to key on, but Lee has a number of talented targets. Seven players caught multiple passes yesterday. That’s tough for a defense to prepare for.
Taylor Reynolds Bringing the Wood – We love us some Taylor Reynolds. And we’ve been thrilled to see him develop into a great cover corner. But damn, we didn’t know he could hit like that. He had the hit of yesterday’s game and quite possibly, the best hit of this young Dukes’ season.
Vad Lee’s Memory – The guy clearly didn’t really recall throwing 4 picks in the first half, because he came out firing in the second half. And his touchdown passes in the final 30 minutes were even more beautiful than his first half picks were ugly.
Rush Defense – It’s unfair to complain about a defense that has to play on the other side of JMU’s quick strike attack. They hardly get any time to rest. However, they had a few drives with noticeably poor tackling and let Albany rush for 5.4 yards a carry for the game. Not great.
The Officiating – Few things are worse than fans like us complaining about the refs. Yesterday the CAA refs put together a performance only CONCACAF officials could love. Reviewing a play after they let the offense run another play? That was odd. And it was one of number of ridiculous calls on the day. Not a great look for the league.
Attendance – We debated whether we should put our complaining about attendance or the attendance itself in the ugly section. While nobody likes to hear a couple of alums rant about student attendance, it was frustrating to see the student section empty out at halftime. We don’t want to rant or even vent about it though. Everyone can decide what to do with his or her free time, especially students. However, it would be really nice to see more of them packing the stands and supporting this team, which has the potential to be a special one. Hopefully more of them jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late. It would be a whole lot more fun for all of us if they did. If they don’t though, their loss. We’ll still be rootin’.