Oct 29 / Rob

Dukes Drop New Hampshire 21-0

The JMU defense pitched a shutout in front of a sold out Homecoming crowd yesterday. The 21-0 win was the Dukes’ 20th in a row. Let that sink in a bit. Twenty straight Ws is no joke folks. New Hampshire had the most talented offense that JMU has seen thus far this season. And the Dukes made them look virtually inept. The Wildcats were held to just 193 yards of total offense and a measly 27 on the ground. Just a dominant performance. Here’s the Good, Bad, & Ugly from the big win. And a reminder the Dukes are 8-0 and riding the nation’s longest winning streak in Division 1 football. Yes, we’d all like to see some explosiveness on offense, but we’re not gonna put much in the bad or ugly sections as long as they keep winning.

Good

Defense – We know we sound like a broken record, but the D seems to bet better each week. Against New Hampshire, the defensive line simply took the game over. They harassed UNH’s QB all day and held the opposition to 0.8 yards per carry rushing. The Wildcats came into the game averaging 29 points per game. They ended up with a goose egg. Last weekend they put up over 500 yards off offense and 40 points on a Towson team that just beat Delaware. JMU just made a good offense look silly.

Turnovers – JMU won the turnover battle again yesterday, picking New Hampshire off twice and recovering a fumble. We saw the defensive backs get called for a ton of penalties early in the year, but said it would be worth it if it was just a sign that they were learning how to play press coverage. Well, it’s been worth it. The d-backs have all become ball hawks.

Harry O’Kelly – This kid is a weapon in the punting game. He executes rugby style punts about as well as anyone and showed once again that he can scamper for a first down on the ground. His 30 yard run wasn’t some punter running for his life and trying to get to the sticks. It was a physical player picking lanes and showing he was unafraid of contact. He had more yards rushing that the entire New Hampshire team by the way.

Intensity – This team isn’t lighting up the scoreboard or taking games over from the opening kick. But the Dukes answer the bell week in and week out and come out ready to play. We haven’t seen anything close to a let down performance in the Mike Houston era. And even when things aren’t going their way offensively (like yesterday), this team keeps charging and eventually breaks through.

Rashad Robinson – That 80+ yard return was a thing of beauty. Robinson’s running was spectacular, but the entire team rushing out ahead of him to block really enabled him to go for 6.

Bryan Schor – He’s not getting the time to throw like he did last year, but he still completed 20-27 for two TDs. He’s now the all time leading touchdown passer in JMU history. Well done.

Trai Sharp’s Block – I usually miss stuff like this, but Trai Sharp had a heck of a blitz pick up on Schor’s first TD pass. He leveled the dude which enabled Bryan to throw a perfect strike.

The Bad

Third Down Offense – We fully expect many fans to say that the entire offense should land in the Bad section (or even ugly). We’re not gonna disagree that the unit isn’t exactly clicking. It’s probably more fair to call it pedestrian, than really bad. The offense isn’t blowing anyone of the field, but they’re getting the job done and none of these games have been particularly close. The running game was much better yesterday, especially when Trai Sharp carried the ball. And it was nice to see so many different receivers catch passes. But overall the unit went 3-15 on third downs. That’s not good and the offense needs to convert at a better rate.

The Ugly

New Hampshire’s Running Game – Yes, this isn’t just a cheap ploy to mention that the JMU Defense is awesome and it held the Wildcats below 1 yard per carry again. Lock the Damn Gates indeed.

10 Comments

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  1. Chad Hanna / Oct 29 2017

    Unfortunately, I think there is still a D3 program with an active win streak currently at 23 in Mary-Hardin Baylor still ongoing.

  2. Rob / Oct 29 2017

    You are correct. We updated the post.

  3. Drake / Oct 30 2017

    Could the woes of the offense be because of vanilla play calling? I think Houston believes they can win by running a simple offense for now. I look back to the championship game and while it was awesome, the offense wasn’t explosive. I wonder if this is just how Houston wants it and when the time comes, they’ll run plays they haven’t used this year.

  4. OBXDuke1983 / Oct 30 2017

    I have heard people complaining about the coaching in the comments of the last post. How can you complain about the coaching in a 21-0 win over a Top 20 team. JMU is #1 in the country, reigning national champions, and have won 20 straight games and we have fans questioning the coaching???
    Are we that spoiled already?
    I have absolutely no complaints about this team and coaching staff. I have been a fan since 1979 (my freshman year). This is the best team and coaching staff JMU has ever seen. Enjoy it!
    Go Dukes!

  5. M@ / Oct 30 2017

    Hear hear @OBXDuke1983.

  6. M@ / Oct 30 2017

    You guys may need a “Magnificent” section…put the defense in that section; they deserve it.

  7. Jay / Oct 30 2017

    Everything looks like it clicking to me. To be undefeated and going strong. I look forward to post season play. GO Dukes! Not hearing me complain about the coaching this is the best coaching staff we have ever had!

  8. maddukes98 / Oct 30 2017

    Completely agree – I think there is some portion of the fanbase that is saying “what have you done for me lately” when it comes to our offense. 21-0. What is the difference if its 42-21 – same point spread but just because we score 42 it looks better? Not in my opinion. A win is a win at this level of top 25 team play, and at some point we are going to be playing even better competition in the playoffs. There will be a game that is 24-21 and we win because we hold them off on the last drive from scoring a tying FG. Winning 8 in a row (just this current season) is enough to be really proud of and understand how hard that is, especially since we played a FBS team in that streak. People need to just enjoy the ride, look at the entire body of work and keep rootin’! DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHPS!

  9. RB / Oct 30 2017

    Think you have to add the timeout called early in the second half to the good section — loved to see the D-Coordinator chewing out Brown for blowing a coverage. Even great defenses can be better and the coaches not accepting mental mistakes is a nice way to keep them grounded.

    Defense is playing great, special teams are solid, but as some have mentioned, the offense seems to be playing conservatively. Two offensive TDs is enough now, but it won’t be enough late in the playoff rounds. Time to pick it up a little more each of the last three weeks.

  10. Cory / Nov 2 2017

    I’ll say what most people are thinking. If you are complaining about 21-0 wins or an inept offense then you don’t know football. maddukes98 is so spot on when you say 42-21 is the same as 21-0. I’d much rather win 21-0 because that means your opponent has failed at all 3 aspects of the game. One could argue that giving up 21, while scoring 42, is not good. You can’t argue with a 3 TD win vs. 0 points on the board. The national championship game was a snore fest on tv (great in person!) but that’s because Houston and company knew that had YSU outmatched and didn’t want to give up anything cheap. Bravo to them!

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