Sep 17 / Todd

Dukes Cruise Past Norfolk St. On Unfathomably Bad Day

Whole lotta sore streamer arms after this one.

The Dukes did about what we expected on the scoreboard this weekend by destroying a Norfolk St. team that appeared to want zero part of the nation’s best 75-14. But the story on the day was about two of JMU’s talented stable of running backs. First, Cardon Johnson suffered an injury that looked serious. And then, heartbreakingly, JMU Nation learned after the game that Trai Sharp’s father, who had been ill back in North Carolina, passed away during the game in which his stun starred. Nothing else really matters after you hear something like that and the mood around the program was obviously somber despite the offensive fireworks.

On Sharp, we’re just fans and we’re not going into that here because we don’t know anything more than what Coach Houston said postgame, players have tweeted out, and the DNR’s Greg Madia covered much better than we ever could. Our hearts go out to Trai and his family and it’s a stark reminder that while we all love the entire show that JMU Football has become, it’s still just a game.

Cardon Injured

It was a tough moment to watch when Cardon Johnson went down in the 2nd quarter. Although he’s battled Achilles issues throughout his career, watching him at ECU a couple weeks ago gave us all hope that he’d follow in Khalid’s footsteps and was set up for the kind of year that lands you NFL Training Camp invites. We don’t know the extent of Cardon’s injury, but if it requires surgery again who knows what that means. While a medical redshirt sure seems possible given the small amount of gametime this year, Mr. Johnson has also gotta be thinking about his own long-term health at this point and we’re left to wonder if we’ve sadly seen the last of 2-5. Well, other than standing on the bench winging a purple towel around in Frisco in January of course!

Kloo Back

In better news, it sure was great to see Senior Tight End Jonathan Kloosterman back on the field. Not only did he look like he’s ready to pick up right where he left off last year as a dominant force over the middle and in the red zone, but when the Dukes run he and Nick Carlton out there together, that’s a scary new Patriots-esque wrinkle for opposing defenses going forward. Ish Hyman had to miss the game with a small injury, but is reportedly likely back next week and when Terrance Alls rejoins the corps in two more weeks, the offense will only get better.

Finally the Reserves

It took Coach Houston longer than many fans would’ve liked to truly empty the bench, but we all got a look at many of the backups for their first extended run in the second half of this laugher. And the view was pretty spectacular. One notable entry was certainly seeing Cole Johnson, and Houston’s [in our opinion justified and smart] disdain for the redshirt. Same goes for true freshman RB Percy Abyei-Obese who scored late. And all that doesn’t even include freshman TE Clayton Cheatem rumbling for a 47 TD to extend the family legacy a bit. The cupboard is full!

75 Points Makes Us Happy for a Duke in Need

As many of you know, we’ve been trying to raise money and awareness for a small group of National Park Service employees from Virgin Islands National Park on St. John the last few days. One of them, a JMU alum and friend-of-a-friend-of-JMUSB lost her house, her livelihood and most everything she owned. We’re thrilled to donate $75 to the relief fund for her department. Huge thanks to the Dukes that matched us, gave a little, and of course our one huge pledge of $10/point (maybe he didn’t know what JMU/NSU was likely to be but we love it!). But there’s still time to reach our goal of 50 pledges of $5 or more with a “Go Dukes” message on the site for which we’ll throw in another $50 so join us this week in learning Emily’s story and help someone who really needs it and bleeds purple!

In Other JMU Athletics News, a Mix of Emotions After Losing Another Head Coach

Volleyball finished out-of-conference play 9-0. While our favorite program, the Field Hockey Dukes, have struggled with big-name opponents, they’re in the Top 20 and off to a great start. Both soccer teams are making noise. Tennis and Cross Country have seen big results early. And of course our girl Gabby Weiss and the golf team are throwing darts out there.

But near-legendary-despite-only-five-years-in-the-Valley Softball Coach Mickey Dean dropped a bombshell on the most feel-good program at JMU over the last few years when he announced unexpectedly on Friday that he was leaving to become the Head Coach at Auburn. Assistant Coach Loren LaPorte was immediately announced as the Interim Head Coach for the rest of this year although AD Jeff Bourne noted that while she’ll be a candidate, a full search will be conducted after next season. The players appeared to take it in stride and it’s certainly not bad that Coach LaPorte and the squad will have Megan Good back in the circle for her senior campaign, but it’s tough reminder of the part of the FBS discussion that we forget amidst football’s success at the FCS level. Like Kenny Brooks before him, not only is the money tough to turn down, but there’s a glass ceiling when you’re coming out of the CAA. Bottom line is Coach Dean rightly knows he can win a National Championship out of the SEC – where by the way athletes in all sports receive the Full Cost of Attendance stipends – where even when you win 50 games the NCAA won’t give you a seed or a regional most years out of the CAA. Perception can be reality know matter how much we wish it were otherwise when the entire Athletic program seems on the right track lately.

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  1. Ken / Sep 18 2017

    My Uncle Ron story (long version — twitter got the reader’s digest version):

    Dr. Carrier was a student’s president. He was a tremendous baseball player and as successful as football has become, the Diamond Dukes were probably his favorites. In my 5 years as a student and public address announcer at Long/Mauck, I can’t remember him missing a home game. In 1984, my sister was wait-listed for admission. Now keeping in mind that the world was a little different in those days, I went to his office in Wilson Hall, spoke to his secretary and got a 15 minute appointment to speak with him about my sister. I arrived on the appointed day and he ushered me into his office as if I was the SGA president or someone else of importance. He recognized me from my time as a MBB student manager and from the baseball stadium. For almost 1/2 an hour we talked about JMU sports and the St. Louis Cardinals, his favorite MLB team. Almost as an afterthought, he asked me why I came to see him. I told him about my sister, he asked a couple of questions, and he said he’d look into it (this took all of about 3 minutes). We then spent another 20 talking about the Dukes — until his next appointment. Fast forward 3 days to the Saturday of Spring Fling. I was hanging out the door of a female friend’s car @ the old 66 station across from HoJo’s, in a somewhat inebriated state (not driving) and this voice booms out from behind me, “Hey there, I took care of your sister. Does she have her letter yet?” Yep, Uncle Ron had called that day and 2 days later my sister was admitted to JMU. A kind and gentle man who knew how to grow a univeristy and a university community. Our university is richer for his leadership and heatbroken at his passing. Godspeed Dr. Carrier!

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