Feb 12 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Back in the Saddle

We did it. We moved on after the Dukes’ loss in Frisco. In the latest episode of the JMUSB Pod we talk about the elephant in the room for JMU hoops, discuss some spring sports, and even touch on football recruiting a bit (you didn’t really expect us to completely move on). And then we have a little bit of listener Q&A. We actually found it quite cathartic and helpful in getting over the championship loss. Give it a listen.

Feb 6 / Rob

This Former JMU Football Player is a Rising Star. In Cornhole

We’re right in the heart of college basketball season, which means it’s time for us to break out of our post FCS Championship funk and get back on the blogging horse. JMU hoops is 2-9 in CAA play with its only victories coming against last place UNCW. And that’s all we have to say about that. So let’s talk cornhole. Yes, cornhole.

While reading the Wall Street Journal this week (I’m a very important business man), I came across an article about former JMU defensive back Ryan Smith. He played for the Dukes from 2010 to 2013 mostly as a free safety. Since graduating, he’s continued to pursue a career in pro sports. And he’s done a heck of job, as he’s now risen to become one of the top 20 ranked cornhole players in the country.

The article is actually pretty fascinating. Smith didn’t even start playing cornhole until after college. That makes sense, considering he probably wasn’t tailgating much. He started playing the game for fun and realized he was a bit of a natural. After playing around his house, he decided to start training seriously. He went so far as to get his manager at his regular job to approve him practicing after hours in a company warehouse. The hard work paid off and earned him a chance to compete in The American Cornhole League, which has over 45,000 members and a broadcast deal with ESPN (not FloSports). Smith is competing this season to win a share of over $250,000 in prize money.

Cornhole might just be a fun game for some folks, but Smith takes it seriously. According to the article, he practices 30 to 60 minutes a day and says “During a tournament I’m flicking my wrist nonstop, throwing anywhere from 500 to 1,000 bags.” That’s a lot. He does serious cardio to condition himself for playing up to 12 hours of cornhole over a typical 3 day event. And he’s not just running out there with any old bags. He owns 20 sets of All-Slides cornhole bags that run $70 a set. The bags come courtesy of his sponsor Allcornhole.com, but still, that’s $1400 of bean bags.

Jan 13 / Todd

Dukes Fall To Bison at The End, Again. Good, Bad, Ugly

Nothing we can say to make it better fellow Dukes. It hurts. Bad. But even if we’re a day late we’ve got to do this.

The Good

Riley Stapleton – What an incredible performance, again, when it mattered most. 10 catches for 100 yards and two TD’s. He has been nothing short of sensational when the lights have been brightest on the field in his career and his play will be missed. Here’s hoping he gets a shot to keep playing somewhere.

JMU Nation – We’ve come a long way. Taking over The Star as ours instead of the NDSU breastaurants. Being loud in the right places. Really starting to learn to bring it in the 60/40 atmosphere of an NDSU Frisco game. Hell, we even have know-nothing-but-say-everything bandwagon fans who are barely connected to JMU these days yelling stupid things in the stands these days. We’ve got a few more levels to go, but we’re on our way. Plus very good job on streamers this week.

This senior class – Simply, thank you from the bottom of our purple hearts for the greatest 4-5 years we’ve ever experienced as Dukes fans. Patrick, Rondell, Carter, Daka, Nooch, Tutt, Maginley, Dmitri and on and on. These are names we’ll never forget and it’s been a pleasure watching you grow on and off the field.

That first drive – Hell yes! That was awesome (Farley voice).

The roster – Stop complaining and worrying. Go look at the two-deep from this game and come back when you’ve added in Ukwu, all three (that we know of so far) transfers, plus Tucker-Dorsey and Currence and Douglas. Look hard at the list again (Fornadel, Amos, Davis, Ratke, Harry, Percy/Jawon/Latrele/SVH, Wilson, Azanama, Greene, Adeeb, Green, etc.). Dukes need to win the opener against Delaware and 9-2 or 10-1 would be very much in the mix again.

The MRD’s – We 100% applaud the decision to let these talented kids – also the very best fans we have – give a halftime performance (SWP > Get It On) that cared ONLY about what true Dukes wanted to see and hear and nothing for what the television or the NCAA or the Bison fans would ever understand.

Heart – Lots of nits to pick on gameplan but we’ve got a whole podcast to worry about that tomorrow. Team fought back, gave up only 7 points in the second half, made an enormous 4th down stop to give themselves a chance, and came three yards away from tying the game.

Rashad – Anyone ever even notice Watson in the game except when he got wrecked trying to run the reverse again.

The Bad

Special Teams – Not much to say about not being ready for the play that proved the difference in the game or the lack of a single use of Harry’s unique abilities all year. Changes need to be made here.

Lack of aggressiveness in game plan – Make no mistake, NDSU won this game because they caught the Dukes (somehow) with two trick plays (the fake FG and the fake reverse) and had one great player make a bunch of other broken plays. The Dukes tried nothing of the sort and still had a chance to win. Hate to see it.

Failure to spy Lance or adjust – He ran 30 times. No other player ran more than 7 times and they barely threw, and didn’t throw well when they did. He was their only weapon. He’s basically Rodney Landers in the run game but we’d have liked to see more from the Dukes.

The Ugly

Frisco weather – Again. How can we rig the post-2025 bidding for a Florida (FAU), NOLA (Tulane), Vegas (UNLV), or Arizona (??), or SoCal (??) location. Hell, if we want crappy weather in January, let’s just split the difference from Fargo to the ‘Burg and play it in Detroit or Columbus.

FCS Refs – Not the reason the Dukes lost (see above) but man it’s consistently awful to have a game that so many people have invested so much in marred by crews who are way over their heads for this level of speed and physicality.

In-Stadium Announcer – To be fair, the in-game media and production work was not nearly as skewed toward the Bison as two years ago (weren’t doing the first down thing or at least were leaving it to fans of both teams to handle themselves), but the stadium announcer’s frequent botching of pronunciations of players’ names showed a complete lack of preparation and effort. The fact that the botching was universally related to players of color is inexcusable. If you didn’t notice, I don’t really know what to tell you.

Let’s hope they’re so worried about Riley after his breakout game against them in ’17 that they forget about Polk and co.
Jan 9 / Rob

FCS Championship Preview: JMU vs. NDSU

The Basics

Matchup: #2 JMU Dukes (14-1, 8-0 CAA) vs. #1 NDSU Biso (15-0, 8-0 MVC)

Kickoff: 12 noon ET. Saturday 11 January 2020. Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX

Weather: High of 44 with rain overnight, expected to clear by kickoff.

Broadcast: Nationally televised on ABC and streaming via ESPN.

Boys in the Desert: JMU -1.5, O/U 51

We Know It’s Not Right to Judge

The term “North Dakota Nice” gets thrown around a lot. And with good reason. It’s definitely not fair to call the NDSU fanbase’s reputation into question based on the online actions of a select group of fans. So we won’t do that. But if we were to do that, we’d probably point out that the collective online Bison fanbase seems to be obsessed with two things, “breastaurants,” and seeking out fictitious instances of “East coast elites” conspiring to under-appreciate their favorite team.

read more…
Jan 9 / jmusport

Guest Post: The Case for Frisco

Brooks won our prediction contest for the JMU vs. Weber State game. Here is a fun piece he wrote to get us all ready for Frisco.

Life is full of adventures. Some of them happen and we have no control over the details. Others build up over a period of time, giving us the opportunity to choose which direction to go, what decision to make. One of my life’s biggest adventures was the season-long journey to Frisco, Texas, and the National Championship in January of 2017. 

But first, a bit of build-up…

At the time, I was reaching the end of a previous adventure, a five-year hiatus from my schooling. I’d decided after my freshman year at JMU in ’09 that a four-year university might not be the right fit for me, so I made the transition to the community college lifestyle. I took my time getting an associate degree, working intermittently at a few different places, some good, some not so good. By the time I was done, I was ready to move on to bigger and better things and start to make something of my life – some would call this the “real world”. That venture lasted all of about nine months. I’d moved from the comforts of Harrisonburg – a place I’d known my whole life and had a love/hate relationship with – to the never-ending parking lot that is Northern Virginia to work for Coca-Cola. It wasn’t long after I started that job that I realized I should maybe go back to school – I’ll never be able to pinpoint for sure the reason for my disdain of a that Fortune 500 company, but something jarred me; maybe it was the sunup to sundown hours, miniscule pay, or the ever-increasing back pain. Almost as quickly as I moved away, I moved back to Harrisonburg, ready to enroll for the Spring semester of 2017. 

read more…
Jan 8 / Rob

Prediction Contest: FCS National Championship

It all comes down to this. Our beloved JMU Dukes will play the North Dakota State Bison in Frisco, Texas to decide the FCS National Champion. Much has been said about the game and much more will be said before Saturday. We just want to cut to the chase though and hear who you think will win.

Leave a comment below with your prediction for the big game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Couldn’t be simpler really. So give us your prediction below and Go Dukes!

Jan 7 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Westbound and Down With Delvin Joyce

We did it. We got over Frisco and actually moved on to spring sports. Sort of. Anyway, here’s the latest JMUSB Pod for your listening pleasure. We discuss the elephant in the room for men’s hoops and then do a little bit of a listener Q&A. It was cathartic for us to move on after the disappointing end to the football season. Hopefully it will help you turn the page as well.

As always, thanks to our sponsors Pale Fire Brewing and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass. And swing over to the fly shop, tell them JMUSB sent you and they’ll hook you up with some cool stickers.

Jan 3 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Top JMU Football Players of the Decade

Happy New Year Dukes fans! We’re both back from some holiday travels and thought we’d record a pod talking a little football. You know, since it’s January and still JMU football season. In this episode we spend a little time looking ahead to the championship game in Frisco. The majority of our time is spent discussing the guys we think were the best JMU football players of the past decade. It’s a fun and easy conversation before we dive in deep to look ahead to the game at NDSU in our next episode.

As always, thanks to our sponsors Pale Fire Brewing and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass. And swing over to the fly shop, tell them JMUSB sent you and they’ll hook you up with some cool stickers.

And tune in next week when we chat about the FCS Championship game with former JMU Football great Delvin Joyce.

Dec 24 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: The Hap, Hap, Happiest Time of the Year

It’s Christmas Eve and we’ve got a brand new episode of the JMUSB Podcast available for your listening pleasure. And if we do say ourselves, it’s a pretty fun one. We spend most of the episode discussing the Dukes big win over Weber State to secure passage to Frisco for to play of the National Championship. Then we look ahead to the big game against NDSU and finally wrap up by answering listener submitted Christmas questions. It was a lot of fun to record and we think you’ll enjoy listening. And we can’t thank folks enough for submitting so many terrific questions via Twitter.

As always, thanks to our sponsors Pale Fire Brewing and Mossy Creek Fly Fishing. Stop by the brewery for a beer and let them know JMUSB sent you and you’ll go home with a free pint glass. And swing over to the fly shop, tell them JMUSB sent you and they’ll hook you up with some cool stickers.

Merry Christmas Dukes fans!

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And give us a rating if you haven’t already. 

Dec 22 / Todd

If You’re Gonna Play in Texas…

…ya gotta have a fiddle in the band! And a couple of monster Defensive Linemen never hurt either.

We’re really here to put some thoughts together about JMU’s dominant performance in the semi-final victory over Weber St., but first we’d just to share with all of you our sense of gratitude and wonder that the Dukes are headed back to the National Championship game for the 3rd time in 4 years! These right here ARE the good ole’ days and don’t get so caught up looking ahead and arguing with Bison fans online to stop and appreciate what an incredible run the Dukes are on right now.

In no particular order, here are our notables from the 30-14 win on Saturday night.


Oh JMU did you miss out on some cash when the beer ran dry mid-2nd the other night. But probably for the best and they’ll be plenty of time for celebrating in Texas.

Mateo Jackson

We’ve been begging for someone to step up and just be willing to be a little crazy on Special Teams since Sam Kidd went down. And it was thrilling to see the young player from Hermitage in Richmond really making an impact last night.

Icing the Kicker

Thank you Weber! Bet they wish they had that decision back as Ratke left the kick short but the Dukes just turned and threw it up to Riley for the play that essentially ended the competitive portion of the evening. Oh yeah, how much swag does Cignetti have?! Late in the game he called for victory formation. Weber called an unnecessary timeout. So Cignetti got pissed and threw another one up for Riley to end it. It was glorious!

Speaking of Stapletons

Weber St. fans will have nightmares of Riley after two legendary performances against them for years to come. And oh by the way, it must’ve been such a kick in the nads to have Dylan Stapleton joining his brother in marauding through the defense and generally wrecking things all night!


Those are the yardage totals for the Dukes and Weber respectively. JMU went up 17-0, go the big play at the end of the first half and then grinded through the second half in a way that was more dominant than the final score indicated and continues Coach Cignetti’s just do what needs to be done. JMU’s offensive and defensive lines are just wearing people out and its beautiful to watch. Hopefully with a few weeks to get fully healthy again for guys like Holloway, Nooch, Percy, and Polk this team will be fresh and ready to roll. All things considered, and of course noting that everyone is a little banged up after 15 games, assuming Holloway’s ankle sprain heals up for Frisco, we can’t ever recall a JMU team this healthy this late. Man are they primed for the rematch they’ve worked two years through two staffs to get to.

The Hammer

It’s frighteningly unfair for opponents to have Latrele Palmer enter the game late for the Dukes after Fornadel, Patrick, Wilson, Percy and co. have been getting after people for a few quarters. Needless to say, all the backs are running outstanding right now, but whoo boy is it fun to see Latrele in the 4th.

Up Next

Y’all know. This is the one we all wanted. Have fun the next few weeks, don’t take things too personally, only troll if you can handle the smoke yourself, and most of all, remember we’re lucky to be Dukes! See ya at The Star!