Sep 22 / Todd

JMUSB Game Preview #4: Maine at JMU

The Dukes have made it through the exhibition season (yes, we’re including ECU in the preseason) and it’s time for actual football! The Dukes face an odd matchup in that Maine is coming off an early-season bye and has had their game at UCF cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Irma. JMU has also dealt with the worst kind of adversity this week with Trai Sharp’s father passing during the game last week and the GOAT Uncle Ron Carrier following on Monday.

And make no mistake, Maine is a legit test. The Black Bears lost to New Hampshire by a point when they missed an extra point in the 4th quarter of their rare season-opening rivalry game (the Battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket to be exact). Hopefully the Dukes are excited to take on someone capable of fighting back for the first time this year.

The Basics

Maine Black Bears (1-1, 0-1 CAA) at James Madison Dukes (3-0, 0-0 CAA), 1:30 p.m., The ‘burg

Weather: Partly Cloudy, High 85

Coverage: This one is on the main MASN, so if you get Nats/O’s you get this one. Outside of VA, should be on Madizone.

Note: JMU will be wearing a special “Ron Carrier” sticker on their helmets for the rest of the season.

How Maine Can Win

Control the clock with early-season CAA rushing leader Josh Mack and limit JMU’s possessions. Maine is notorious for having a strong defense, and we saw last year with young players like DB Najee Good and DT Charles Mitchell the Black Bears are capable of challenging JMU’s high-powered offense, but that D can’t hold up forever unless their O can help them out by controlling the ball a bit and limiting the opportunities for Schor and co.

If they can run the ball effectively and keep the perennially quiet Family Weekend crowd subdued, that would go a long way towards stealing one.

How JMU Can Win

Focus on the task at hand and make the playing field a refuge. The Dukes are simply better than the team that went to Maine early last season and if they can find their way to solid execution, they are better positioned to not sweat the Black Bears as much. That’s not to say this team is “better” overall than last year’s squad as that remains to be seen, but this time last year the program was still finding its footing and adjusting to new schemes under a new staff. This year’s team is well ahead of where they were in Week 4 last year.

One major thing the Dukes need to do this week is avoid turnovers. Maine will certainly be out to control the clock and they have the running game and defense to do it. This could limit JMU’s number of possessions and the Dukes can’t further hinder their number of chances by giving the ball away cheaply. The Dukes have shown over the last year that given enough chances, this offense WILL put up points, but as we saw against great defenses like NDSU and YSU last year, you’ve got to capitalize on each opportunity when you only get 7 or 8 possessions instead of 12-15.

JMU also needs to take away Josh Mack in the running game and force the Black Bears to challenge JMU’s always dangerous defensive backfield.

Beer of the Week

Stone Brewing’s Wussie Pilsner. Now that North County’s venerable Stone has opened their East Coast shop in Richmond, they’re everywhere and Dukes fans should be able to find this almost anywhere. And this is a fantastic gameday beer. Completely drinkable, but a solid 5.8% ABV and a million times more flavor than the ruination of pilsner, Miller Lite, and best of all comes in a sixer of tall boys!

Official JMUSB Prediction

Dukes 37, Maine 17

One Comment

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  1. Hart Foundation / Sep 22 2017

    JMU 45
    Maine 16

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