Dec 12 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Curt Dudley and a Win for the Ages

With all the excitement over the weekend, we go a little long on this week’s podcast. We don’t think you’ll mind though. The great Curt Dudley joins us to talk about all things JMU-media related, then we take a look back at one of the greatest wins in recent JMU football history, before looking ahead to the semi-final matchup with South Dakota State. Finally, we close things out with a little sports bucket list discussion.

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 9 / Rob

JMU Beats Weber State in a Classic

Wow. Really, just wow. It’s been a few hours now and I still have no idea what just happened. The Dukes defeated Weber State 31-28 in an contest that was almost too good to be true. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but I swear JMU was dead and buried before scoring a TD and 2-pointer to tie, and closing things out with a career long 46 yard field goal at the gun to win. That can’t be though. Can it?

Yes. It really happened. And before we do anything else, let’s pause and appreciate the sheer amazingness of what we witnessed. I mean, deep thoughts and elegant prose aren’t what you expect from JMUSB, but we’re at a complete loss here. That game was simply too good to even attempt to put it into words. Let’s just all agree that we witnessed a classic. A gift that keeps on giving. I swear if you ask me about that game 25 years from now, it’s going to put a smile on my face. I don’t think I’m alone.

Here’s the Good, Bad, and Ugly from the miracle victory. read more…

Dec 7 / Todd

JMUSB 2017 Playoff Preview #2: Weber St. @ JMU

The Basics

Weber St. Wildcats (11-2, 7-1 Big Sky) at JMU (12-0, 8-0 CAA), 7:00 p.m. Friday at Bridgeforth Stadium

Coverage: ESPN2. Dukes get the national spotlight as the only football game on that night!

Weather: 32 degrees, overcast, light wind (basically perfect Valley December football and whiskey weather!). Rob says bring a stadium blanket or a seat cushion for the bleachers. I say no need for a big coat if you layer enough under a purple hoodie, have a neckwarmer or scarf, hat, gloves, hand warmers, and whiskey.

Weber St. FAQ’s

WSU is bigger than you think with over 26,000 students. It’s also a public despite originally being founded by the LDS Church (it was later transferred to the state of Utah). It’s located in the beautiful Wasatch mountains. Hotelier J. Willard Marriott, Trailblazers star Damian Lillard, and the bassist from Panic! at the Disco appear to be it’s most famous attendees. It was named “Weber” after the county in which it resides with the county itself being named after some old fur trader. Overall, the timing of WSU’s growth from Normal School to University in many ways mirrors that of JMU.

How Weber St. Can Win

By sticking to their gameplay.  Honestly, this is the first team all year that we can say if they are better able to execute their own gameplan the Dukes, JMU could be in trouble. One of the most important things for Weber is to control the clock and the pace of play. They are time-of-possession monsters and if they can keep from turning it over and keep JMU’s offense off the field, things could get dicey. As we’ve seen all year, the Dukes offense will eventually- given enough chances- find their way to a scoring drive or three. But if they only get 5-7 chances all night, that bodes well for the Wildcats. They need to put QB Stefan Cantwell on schedule and in a position to use his savvy playmaking ability to succeed.

Weber St.’s game defensively is very similar to JMU’s. They have talented depth in the secondary so they’re willing to let those guys play and commit to stopping the run. If they can a) stop the run and b) actually hold up against Alls, Stapleton, and co. on the back end, JMU will have to get creative.

Lastly, Weber is strong on special teams and they need to keep that up. There coach is off the Urban Meyer coaching tree and takes this element of the game as seriously as JMU. Both teams, but especially Weber on the road, need to avoid any big mistakes in the kicking and return game.

How JMU Can Win

This uni combo is back. Hopefully the replicate the UNH performance and this is the last week with black in the combo!

Executing the gameplan and winning the turnover battle. Do those two, and avoid any crazy fluke plays, and the talent and home-field advantage should win out. That said, “executing the gameplan” on offense HAS to involve finding some semblance of a running game. Even if it’s Schor and some end-arounds, they’ve got to find a way to not get in 3rd and longs and force everything onto Schor and the downfield passing game against this team. With Weber’s talented secondary and JMU’s struggles rushing, it also might help to find Kloosterman and Cheatham in some matchups with linebackers over the middle.

Defensively, JMU needs to just do what it does, with a particular emphasis this week on avoiding letting any huge plays (think Maine, UD) break. Keeping Cantwell in the pocket will be big too.

High hopes for Amos and Ratke to step up this week and for O’Kelly to just keep it rolling mate!

Beer of the Week

We’re going with a little something special this week. Pod listeners know one of us had the good fortune to have a great time in Nashville, Tennessee over Thanksgiving weekend. And the beer highlight was definitely getting the chance to visit Bearded Iris brewing over in the Germantown neighborhood. This is a true hidden gem of American beers right now – basically the Veil or Aslin of Nashville for our Virginia hopheads. And this week’s selection is a silky glass of 8.2% goodness, the “Attention Please! DDH w Vic Secret & Mosaic.” Yup that whole thing is the name but don’t bother trying to figure it out, just enjoy a ridiculously tasty Double IPA if you ever get the chance.

Whiskey of the Week

But of course this is also a December Friday night in the Valley. Temps will be below freezing throughout the game which calls for a special addition. In this case, it’s a Monkey Shoulder night. Ahh, who are we kidding, it’ll be Dickel in the flask. As always, as much as we joke, don’t be an @sshat and don’t overdo it (at all) if you’re driving after the game.

Official JMUSB Prediction

We’re rolling with Vegas this week. The smart guys say an O/U of 38.5 and Dukes by 10 and a hook. That equates to about 24-14. We’re thinking with the cold weather and what’s on the line, this might be a tad high. We’ve got 23-13 Duuuuuuuukes!

Dec 7 / jmusport

Guest Post: Weber is a State?

Hart won last week’s prediction contest. Here’s a fun little piece to get y’all fired up a bit before Friday’s game. 

Somehow I won last week’s prediction contest and now I’ve been tasked with writing a guest post as is tradition with the JMU Sports Blog.  It is my first time winning despite several years of predictions and I sense that I might be on a Redneck roll.  I’m tempted to start playing lottery scratch off tickets so I can win $100 and buy two 12-packs and a tank of gas with it.  Then I could be caller number five on a radio station and win a 4 day/3 night beach vacation.  Maybe not.  I’ll just chalk it up to being lucky.

Well, there is only one thing to write about this week and that would be the FCS playoff game against Weber State.  If you are anything like me, you didn’t know jack squat about Weber State until they became the next team in between the Dukes and another FCS title.  My first thought was to contact their administration and inform them that Weber is not a state and suggest that the name get corrected if they want to be taken seriously as an institution of higher learning.  Since I didn’t know anything about Weber State I’ve put in 72 solid hours of research to find out a bunch of facts that mean very little to anyone except the diehards in JMU nation.

  1. Weber State has an All-American TE by the name of Andrew Vollert.  At 6’5” he reminds me of JMU’s Mike Caussin who excelled as a receiving TE in a lanky body.   Vollert leads Weber State with 56 catches and had 62 last year.  This guy has me worried a little bit because LB’s are too slow to cover him and CB’s will be tied up with WR coverage on the outside.  JMU safeties Greene and Brown will need to have senior savvy games discerning between run support and play action passing to the TE.  Even with good coverage they may struggle to defend passes with his significant height advantage.  Check out his highlight videos.  He is legit.
  2. read more…

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.