Dec 6 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Weber State

And we’re back for another playoff game prediction contest. This time it’s for a quarterfinal match-up with Weber State out of the Big Sky Conference. The forecast shows that Friday night should be cold, dark, and perfect. Weber State might be the best team JMU has faced all year. Can the Dukes take care of business? Leave a comment below with your prediction for the game. The person who comes closet to nailing it (winner & score), will get to write a guest post. Let’s go.

Dec 5 / Rob

JMUSB Podcast: Playoff Win Over Stony Brook, Weber State, & Live Music Venues

The latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast is up and available for your listening pleasure. We had some technical difficulties that prevented us from having our scheduled guest, radio voice of the Dukes Dave Thomas, on the show. As a result, you’re stuck with the two of us rambling on about JMU’s big playoff victory over Stony Brook. We also discuss a few concerns heading into the Weber State game and end it by chatting about a few of our favorite live music venues.

Thanks again to our podcast sponsor Pale Fire Brewing. Drop in for a beer next time you’re in the ‘burg.

Subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Bumpers or iTunes.

Dec 3 / Todd

Great, Good, Bad, Ugly from Dukes Round of 16 Victory

No automatic alt text available.The Great

We’re adding an opening “Great” category because one bit of unprecedented wondrousness happened on Saturday that deserves it’s own category.

Touchdown Squirrel! – The Touchdown Squirrel set career marks in every way yesterday. Over the years Touchdown Squirrel has made intermittent appearances but never before has she won the crowd’s heart like yesterday. During a break in the action in the second half she appeared out of nowhere and made a defender-dodging run for the end zone like we’ve never seen before, complete with hesitation moves, spins, and all the flair of peak Reggie Bush. And of course, the best part was when the line judge positioned himself on the goal line and triumphantly and emphatically threw up the TD signal when she crossed the plane. Streamers flew and all was right in the world. Way to go TD Squirrel and you’re welcome back anytime!

The Good

Five Interceptions – That helps. A Lot. By tying the Division 1 record for most interceptions in a game, the Dukes pretty much made Joe Carbone, the poor man’s Jeremiah Briscoe, look like exactly who we all hoped he was and snuffed out all chances for a Stony Brook upset. And the fact the interceptions came from five different players (Brown, Robinson, Oliver, Moreland, and Greene). Jimmy ‘effin Moreland’s pick was a typically Jimmy highlight-reel play. And Raven Greene’s pick tied the all-time JMU mark for interceptions (he nearly had the record-breaker too).

D-Line – This group was the underrated star of this one! Stony Brook brought a big, strong O-Line and rushing attach to BFS and got absolutely smacked down but this entire unit. They controlled the line of scrimmage and despite the lack of eye-popping sack numbers we’ve grown accustomed to, consistently collapsed the pocket and made SB’s QB’s look hideous.

Terrance Alls – Like Touchdown Squirrel, the senior WR had a career day and generally looked like the best player on the field. He had 10 catches for 94 yards and a TD plus another solid 9-yard run on an end-around. Mostly, he looked like playoff-Ravenel from last year in leaving no doubt who the alpha-target is when it matters and that’s a huge positive going forward.

DeAngelo Amos and Riley Stapleton – With John Miller getting hurt yesterday, these two picked up the slack in resounding fashion. Stapleton, who’s seemingly been in and out of offensive gameplans this season, backed up Alls outside as a great target for Schor and showed some flashes of why those inside the program think he’s special. And then of course backup Safety Amos filled in at punt returner where he only managed to turn in the game’s backbreaking play with a 49-yard return in the second half (where he was assisted by Bryce Maginley who picked up not one but two key blocks downfield).

Bryan Schor – The senior quarterback broke another record yesterday, this time Justin Rascati’s career completions record, and went a ho-hum 24-35 for 255 yards and 2 TD’s. And it really is crazy that we were texting each other with nits to pick on his play which seems to be what happens every week with this amazing kid. Any time he doesn’t look like Superman out there we all quietly grouse and then you look up and the Dukes have beaten another strong opponent by multiple scores in large part thanks to his consistent excellence.

Crowd – It was small, but by no means the smallest playoff crowd JMU has had over the years. But those that were there were fantastic as we’ve come to expect from playoff crowds which are made up almost entirely of football fans, not just Homecoming or Family Weekend bloat. Our guess is it’ll be even larger this week with the Friday night kick being tough to make on time, but much less weekend-killing when it comes to holiday commitments for the RVA and Nova fans. (also note Friday is the last day of classes before exams but students will still ALL be in town)

The Bad

Stony Brook coaching decisions – You punt on 4th and 4 in plus territory but throw a  desperate fade on 4th and 11 in the same situation the next time? And while it looked like Carbone got nicked up early, when they went to the more run-oriented backup, they didn’t even try to give the appearance of throwing the ball which allowed the Dukes to stack the box and shut them down. I mean, he couldn’t have been worse than the guy who threw five pickles, right?

The Ugly

Injuries – Dukes look like they may have lost a couple important contributors yesterday in WR/PR John Miller and Guard AJ Bolden. Every team is facing these issues this time of year (and it’ll be interesting to see how healthy Weber St. is after grinding out two tough wins over WIU and SUU), but these two give us pause. Hopefully Amos, Archie and co. that filled in for Miller can be the next man up. And guys like Bethea and Fornadel have gained valuable experience this season to fill in for Bolden, but the left side of the line has been the one consistent with that group and they’ll need to get right with Stinnie and Patrick before Friday. It was great to see Curtis Oliver come back in the game and look good after he was banged up. And while we believe in Ratke, the missed XP and the shorter kickoffs early served as a reminder that Tyler Gray remains out.

Dec 2 / Rob

Playoff Gameday: JMU vs. Stony Brook

It’s a great day to be a Duke. Coach Houston and the boys kick off their playoff run today with a game against Stony Brook in the lovely confines of Bridgeforth Stadium. If you’re unable to make it to the ‘burg for the game, you can tune in via ESPN3. Both teams are amped up and ready to go. But Dukes ain’t scared. Stay warm if you’re tailgating everyone. It’s now time to Lock the Damn Gates!

Go Dukes!

Keep Rootin!

Nov 30 / Rob

JMUSB 2017 Playoff Preview #1: JMU vs. Stony Brook

Here we go. The regular season is behind us and it’s time for the real fun to begin. This is where the rubber meats the road. It’s where the men are separated from the boys. Where legends are made. And we’re running out of cliches and trite ways to describe the postseason, so let’s move on.

The Basics

Match-up: #1 JMU Dukes 11-0 (8-0) vs. #10 Stony Brook Seawolves 10-2 (7-1)
Kick-off: 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 2 in Bridgeforth Stadium
Weather: Partly cloudy and a high of 54
Broadcast: ESPN3

How We Got Here

The Dukes had a bye for round one of the FCS playoffs last weekend. They earned the #1 overall seed and the bye after a perfect 11-0 regular season. Perhaps you heard about it. Most recently, JMU defeated Elon 31-3 in the CAA finale. It was an impressive win, in which the Dukes’ offensive line really exerted its will over the Phoenix. JMU dominated in all phases and had the type of dynamic offensive performance fans had been anxious for. The combination of the great win to clinch the CAA title, and a bye week to rest up and get healthy, means the Coach Houston and the boys could be primed for a big Saturday. read more…

Nov 30 / Todd

Open Letter from JMUSB

We can’t believe how legit this looks either.

Editor’s Note: Hope you’re ready for some earnestness preceding a pitch. You can skip the pitch if you want, and of course you can mock the earnestness, but we love y’all no matter what. Here’s the link up front if you don’t care about all this and just want to support with a cool shirt.

Dear JMSUB Land,

In the entire existence of this site that we started back in 2009, when we’ve addressed our “readers/fans/listeners,” we’ve often made self-deprecating jokes about how there are only eighteen of you and we can’t even believe that number is so high cause we don’t have that many immediate family members. And that sense of amazement that people support us at all remains the case. But we are proud, and humbled (can you be both at the same time?), and mostly honored to say that our small corner of JMU Nation has grown little by little over the years to the point where we’ve almost gone legit. Seriously, we got “a major award” of the leg-lamp variety and everything. And the people we’ve met through the years thanks to this are the absolutely unexpected highlight of this whole thing. Like so many others who root even more passionately fer the Dukes, bud, we’ve been fortunate enough to make real friends through this community and that means more than anything. No doubt it’s a huge reason we’ve kept at it.

The snark and the independent-yet-rational-and-mostly-supportive lens we always tried to bring to our coverage of Dukes-related items will never change. Oh yeah, and we both have day jobs that have become careers we guess and we’re never going pro with this – not to mention we’ll never be able to compete with the great real pros actually doing this full-time these days.

We’ve never “sold” ads or tried to “monetize” our site because we never wanted to feel pressure to do something that we loved on someone else’s schedule. When Rob’s family was blessed with his sons, he didn’t want to worry about writing posts during those sleep-deprived first few weeks. When I moved to North Carolina and needed to get my feet under me, I felt the same. We love the Dukes and we love that we’ve stayed such great friends over two decades thanks in large part to this dorky hobby, but we always wanted it to be our own, not someone else’s. That remains the same. For a long time, this actual landing page looked like an ancient relic without banner ads running constantly and side notes popping up all the time. Now we like to think it’s come all the way back around to actually looking fairly fresh and clean and we like to think it’s a place fellow Dukes know they can come to get away from the vitriol of the rest of the interwebs and find a little nugget of pure rootin’ a few times a week.

But we’d be lying if we said our energy and perseverance hadn’t flagged a bit the last couple of years (we feel your pain Purple Wave). This summer, however, when we decided after a couple years of saying “soon” to see if we could launch a podcast (which you can subscribe to and rate in Bumpers or on Apple Podcasts under “JMUSB Season 1”), we never dreamed it would entirely refill our tank for this whole endeavor. And boy has it ever! Interacting with people at games and online now is more fun than ever even if half the people I meet tailgating know of my love for Party in the U.S.A. before we’re introduced. All that said, self-promotion and navel-gazing or even the idea of taking ourselves seriously enough to try and make something of this has always been something we’ve been afraid of. We’ve sold a couple tee-shirts along the way, some of which we thought were even pretty good, but honestly we never found a “real vendor” or tried all that hard to sell you all on anything other than the joke. We never even dreamed someone might want an actual “sports blog” product instead of something more generically JMU.

So this is awkward for us but we are genuinely offering a shirt now with the explicit intention of using profits from the campaign to keep this place alive and hopefully make the podcast even better by a) keeping it going year-round and b) looking to purchase some new equipment (mics and headphones and “stuff” we probably don’t about yet) to hopefully improve the quality over the next few months. Oh yeah, and we’re going to try and come up with something even better to support JMU Giving Day in March that might get a boost from this effort too!

To those of you who have bought previous shirts, we hope you still like them and sorry we finally came up with an “official” shirt – we owe you a beer. To everyone else, we hope you’ll join the team and be proud to answer awkward questions from strangers and friends about what the hell your shirt is in hopes of growing our little community!

Here’s the 4-1-1:

Here is the link to support us and get an awesome shirt or you can paste it/share it as follows:

We’re using Bonfire out of Richmond for our campaign. They’ve been great and are legit pros who sent us sample products and everything so we know the shirts themselves will be of higher quality than our usual suboptimal craptastic stuff. We’ve got four options for shirts (short, women’s cut, long, and baseball). The colors are slightly different for short, long, and baseball because the shirts themselves are from different suppliers but they’re all great. On the women’s cut, they run small so listen to the Bonfire warning when it comes up.

This is a “campaign,” meaning the shirts are only available for a limited time, and more importantly meaning you only have to listen to us pimp this racket for less time than an NPR Membership Drive. The campaign ends in thirteen days on Wednesday, December 13th at midnight. The shirts go to print the next day and we chose that date because we know they’ll all get delivered by at the latest the week before Frisco. We can’t guarantee Christmas delivery, but if you live in Virginia there’s a decent shot as Bonfire uses local printers – just wanted to be clear on that though. We’re hoping to sell 50 with a moon-shot goal of 100 but there’s no limit except the time limit if y’all want to spread the word. Oh yeah, there’s also a button when you check out where you can just plain “donate,” or kick in a few bucks that goes straight to us if you’re so inclined. No pressure at all, but they offer that as an option and we figured why not. To whoever kicked in already, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Holy Shit!

Last but not least, our friend and fellow Duke and all-around digital badass Ben Markowitz designed our logo for the shirt and is our silent partner in this. But we think you’ll agree both treatments of our logo (the pod picture and this one) look insanely good without violating any official marks of the real JMU!

Anyways, that’s a whole lot of words to say two things. We love you all and we hope you’ll buy a shirt that supports JMUSB (blog, pod, etc.)!

Seriously, there was a plaque and everything.

Nov 29 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Stony Brook

Who’s ready for some playoff football? JMU welcomes Stony Brook to the ‘burg this weekend for a second round playoff match-up. It will be the first time Mike Houston faces the Seawolves. The bookies have the Dukes favored, but we’re more interested in what you think. Leave a comment below with your prediction for Saturday’s game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score), will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Go Dukes!

Nov 28 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Playoff Talk With Greg Madia

We were pleased to welcome Greg Madia, JMU football beat writer from the Daily News Record, to the latest episode of the JMUSB podcast. Greg talks to us about what it’s like covering Mike Houston and the Dukes and then we look ahead to this weekend’s second round match-up against Stony Brook. Then we wrap things up talking about our favorite beers (hint: shower beers FTW!).

Thanks again to our podcast sponsor Pale Fire Brewing. Drop in for a beer next time you’re in the ‘burg.

Subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Bumpers or iTunes.

Nov 26 / Rob

Chuck Piore Has No Idea How Standings Work

Chuck Piore is the head coach of Stony Brook University (you would’ve had to Google it). You’d assume that as the head coach of a college football team, he’d understand how league standings work. You’d be wrong however. Because he claims that he had to bite his tongue when everyone talked about JMU winning the CAA title. The title JMU won by going 11-0 overall and 8-0 in CAA play.

What exactly is making Piore bite his tongue every time someone mentions JMU’s conference title? Is he just dying to point out that Stony Brook finished second by going 7-1? Does he want us all to recognize Stony Brook as some sort of vice-champion ready to assume the role of champion should JMU be unable to fulfill its obligations? We’re not even mad really. We’re just confused. JMU won more games than anyone else in the CAA. The Dukes are the champions. That’s how these things work Coach Piore. It’s pretty standard.

We’d get it if he simply said he was looking forward to playing JMU to decide who the best team in the CAA was, or something to that effect. But biting his tongue? His team finished second. And they finished second according to the same general rules accepted by every single league in every single sport around the world as far as we can tell. It makes no sense. None.

In any case, it’s playoff week for the JMU Dukes. And Coach Piore’s odd comment probably means a whole lot more to JMU fans, than it does to Coach Houston or anyone else on the roster. We’re sure he was just trying to cause a stir and maybe get folks to pay attention to Stony Brook football. Considering only 4,131 fans showed up to see his team beat Lehigh 59-29 in round one, maybe he should’ve started chirping earlier.

Nov 23 / Todd

Happy Thanksgiving JMU Nation

We lost the G.O.A.T. but have lots to be thankful for this year largely thanks to his inspiration.
And yes, Buckhantz of House Dagger is our dream podcast guest!

All of JMU Nation has a whole lot to be thankful for this year. And on a personal note, the two of us are filled with gratitude for so many things big and small related to our tiny little corner of that magical place. Here’s a few of those things for which we feel so fortunate, in no particular order, but there’s no way in the world we could ever list them all.

Mike Houston. Speculation Central has already cranked up, but at least for today, we choose to just be thankful for one of the greatest hires, and perfect fits, JMU has ever lucked into.

Bob Trott. Can’t talk about the HC without being thankful for the Defensive Coordinator.

JMU Nation – yes, the Facebook page. We know it gets crazy, and at times antagonistic, and you really do have to turn of off the notifications, and Facebook is destroying our culture and making us depressed, but it has like 12,000 members and there’s little doubt in our mind that the interaction between fans, the sharing of information, and the very presence of an outlet on a platform where boomers and their kids are equally comfortable and competent has been a huge factor in the rising tide that is floating all boats in the peripheral land of JMU fandom. Great work Carol and company and we hope it’s original intent – for the Queen of the Dallas Dukes to inform JMU fans about all things Frisco – will be revived again this holiday season.

The Senior Class of JMU Football players – 4 playoff appearances, 3 CAA titles, 1 National Championship, and essentially an entire regular season at #1. All with a couple academic superstars and a relatively drama-free period off-the-field.

Andy, Bob, Rebecca and co. – making D-Lot a great tailgating spot since the day it was paved.

The improved talent on the men’s hoops roster. The record not be special this year, but just watch the team. It’s night and day from the last few years on pure talent. Can you say Stuckey Mosley?!

What a program!

Megan Good – We love football of course and a Natty is special, but we’re talking about a face on the Mt. Rushmore of JMU athletes here, and we all have another spring and summer to look forward to watching this incredible player!

Attendance – complain all you want about students leaving early, but JMU led the nation in FCS Attendance this year.

The open-mindedness and willingness to be creative by the Duke Club and the team of SID’s in JMU Athletics.

ESPN College Gameday has been to JMU twice. ESPN College Gameday has never been to NC State, Virginia, Washington St., etc.

CJ Sapong back in the USMNT. Let us never speak of that team again.

3 potential home playoff games – This is incredible, and only the second time it’s ever happened for the Dukes. Make all the games you can, enjoy the weather (how often in life do you get the chance to be a kid again?), and root like hell. But also kindly remember that it’s December, and life gets in the way for people in December, and maybe don’t shame anyone who needs to root from home, or a pre-planned family vacation, on a given week.

Greg Madia and Josh Walfish – The level of coverage on the local beats in the DNR lately is unprecedented.

All of you! – Seriously, it’s hard to believe Rob and I have been doing this since 2009. And admittedly, even with the success of JMU Athletics the last few years and real support from within a few corners of official JMU, our energy and dedication for a no bull-shit, no monetization, labor-of-love hobby/project/dorkfest might’ve waned. But taking the chance on doing the podcast this past summer has entirely rejuvenated JMUSB HQ! We’ve managed to keep writing here and we don’t plan to stop, but we can’t possibly thank you all enough for listening, interacting, and supporting us even with our frequent digressions and our amateur nature because it’s one of our favorite things we do each week. (Now we’ll go emotionally prepare our selves for what happens after football season)