JMUSB Game Preview #11: Elon at JMU
With the Dukes achieving the rare feat of locking up the outright CAA title and the automatic playoff bid that goes with it a week early, this game will not have quite the stakes that many other regular-season enders have lately. But make no mistake, JMU has plenty to play for and it should be a beautiful day in the ‘Burg!
Elon Phoenix (2-8, 1-6 CAA) at #4 JMU Dukes (9-1, 7-0 CAA), 1:30 p.m. Bridgeforth Stadium
Weather: High of 62, Sunny. Basically a perfect fall day in the Valley!
Senior Day and Alumni Band Day (which hopefully will help attendance given most students will be long-gone for Thanksgiving Break)
FEPO: Dukes by 31 and a hook.
Coverage: MadiZone HD
UniWatch: For the first time ever, the Dukes will be wearing ALL Black, including some fancy new matte black helmets with purple chrome facemarks and the big Duke Dog logo returning! So for the third(?) time ever with the black shirts, it’s time to Blackout (at) Bridgeforth!
Bonus Coverage Note: The FCS Playoff Selection Show is at 11 a.m. on ESPNU on Sunday morning.
What’s at Stake
A surprising amount all things considered. JMU has been sitting at #4 in the FCS Selection Committee’s rankings the last two weeks and they may need to hang half-a-hundred up on the Phoenix to hang onto that spot. Barring an upset ahead of them, the Dukes really don’t have much of an argument to move up. NDSU (beat Iowa, is 5-time champs), EWU (beat Wazzu), and Jacksonville St.(in title game last year) have proven themselves and despite the FCS/CAA apologists in our fanbase, the CAA ain’t what it once was. In fact, it’s 4th in conference rankings this year behind MVFC, Big Sky, and SoCon. And with #5 Sam Houston St. playing a top ten Central Arkansas and an undefeated SoCon champ in The Citadel getting their shot at UNC this weekend, the Dukes need to keep the pedal down and maybe even watch the scoreboard a bit. Staying in the top 8, and thus getting a first round bye, is assured with a win, but staying in the top 4, and setting themselves up for at least two home games (and maybe a third if there’s an upset) would be huge!
It’s also the last regular season game for a great group of seniors who have hung in there through three coaching staffs. Although it’s certainly not their last home game, it’s important to thank this group led by Brandon Ravenel, Khalid Abdullah, Kyle Rigney, Mitchell Kirsch, Matt Frank, Martez Stone, Domo Taylor, Gage Steele, Justin Wellons, and Taylor Reynolds. For the record and in other great news, Safety Raven Greene was awarded a fifth year of eligibility for a medical hardship dating back a couple years this week so we’ll get the turnover machine back next year!
How Elon Can Win
JMU beat Rhode Island 84-7. Elon lost to Rhode Island 44-14. They might need more than just a team-wide food poisoning outbreak to pull this off. Something more in the neighborhood of a sinkhole swallowing the team bus. Seriously, we cannot bring ourselves to research a team JMU shutout 51-0 at their place last year and that has scored less points against CAA competition all season than JMU did in that RhodeI game. Wonder what Coach Skrosky’s contract situation is and if they miss playing Western Carolina every year? All that said, Elon lost 13-10 to UNH and beat W&M 27-10 in a hurricane so no sleeping. ZZZzzzzzz.
How JMU Can Win
Protect the football and continue their improvement on defense. It’s really hard to see Elon scoring enough to keep up with the Dukes without an avalanche of unforced errors on JMU’s part, but it sure would be great to see the D build on last week’s dominant performance at Villanova.
JMUSB Beer of the Week
Thanks to a bit of hooky from work from our fellow ticket holder and frequent commenter Uncle Ron, we have a special surprise on tap this week. Aslin Beer Company’s Master of Karate. While the hype on Herndon’s Aslin is a bit out of control these days, it’s impossible to argue with the quality of the quaff coming out of this great little joint, and we’re certainly excited to have one of their finest offerings.
Official JMUSB Prediction
Dukes 41, Fightin’ Christians 14
Bonus Official JMUSB Playoff Prediction
Dukes hang onto the #4 seed. Hard to see the Dukes moving up without a loss, and we’ll certainly be pulling for Central Arkansas in their matchup with undefeated (but ain’t played nobody Pawwwllll) Sam Houston St. who currently sits at #5. You know former Delaware Coach Keeler, now at Sam, will be whining and bitchin’ and complaining the way he always does if that’s the case, but you also know the possibility of him doing it in person back at BFS in the quarters is tantalizing too!