Sep 12 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Robert Morris

Apologies folks, but with JMU’s game against Norfolk State getting called after only one quarter, last week’s prediction contest tanked. We were planning on just randomly selecting one entrant to write a guest post, but with the condensed schedule this week, we just bagged it. Hopefully everyone understands.

Regardless, we’re back for another round this week. You know the way it works. Leave a comment below with your prediction for Thursday’s game. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. That’s it. Screw Florence! Go Dukes! Beat Robert Morris!

Sep 11 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Reviewing the Quarter Game & Favorite Bad Movies


We’re back with another episode of the JMUSB Podcast. In this one, we only had a quarter of football to review, but we went ahead and did a full “Four Downs” anyway. We also talk about things that might not officially rise to the level of concerns, but certainly are question marks at this point. And finally we share some of our favorite bad movies. They are both cringe-worthy and embarrassing.

Once again, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Let them know we sent you next time you’re at the tasting room and they’ll give you a free pint glass.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Sep 9 / Rob

JMU Defeats Norfolk State in Abbreviated Game

We expected the game between JMU and Norfolk State to be figuratively over after a quarter. Due to weather however, it was literally ended after 15 minutes due to lightning with the Dukes up 17-0. Well, due to lightning and the fact that it was blatantly obvious to everyone on earth, save Norfolk State’s announcing duo, that JMU had the game in the bag. Given all that, there’s not really much to say. We could try to pull a “Good, Bad, & Ugly” style recap out of thin air, but let’s just go with three thoughts on the game instead. read more…

Sep 7 / Todd

2018-19 JMUSB Game Preview #2: JMU at Norfolk St.

Behold…

…a 41 point spread! What, you thought I was going to say “the green and gold?” And a hook, don’t forget the hook to make it -41.5 on the Dukes.

The Basics

Matchup: #2 James Madison Dukes (0-1, 0-0 CAA) at Norfolk State Spartans (1-0, 0-0 MEAC)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. at Dick Price Stadium in downtown Norfolk

Weather: 85 degrees, humid, 50% chance of thunderstorms. In other words, be ready for a long night Dukes fans.

Coverage: ESPN3

FEPO: JMU favored by yes, 41 and a half.

It is larger than BFS. It’s also, well, it’s there. Bring your binoculars if you want to see the halftime show!

How NSU can win?

Play the mistake-free game of their lives and capitalize on any Dukes overconfidence and resulting screw-ups. Something odd, like a long but not-out-of-the-question weather delay, wouldn’t hurt either. The Spartans program has really stabilized the last few years under Coach Latrell Scott, a noted Virginia recruiter who has worked at nearly every school in the Commonwealth over the last decade for stints short and long. We’re really happy to see Coach Scott back on the upswing and he’s clearly made progress with this program. Of course, with what NC A&T is doing in and out of the MEAC recently and Hampton leaving the conference, NSU’s still got a ways to go towards relevance. The Spartans are big on the lines and won’t be pushed around, but they need a miracle to stay with JMU’s athletes on the outside. Most importantly, they have to cut down on the game-breaking mistakes they made so often last year.

How JMU can win?

Play their game and limit mistakes. Despite our jokes, JMU cannot afford to mess around here. The only way they keep Norfolk St. in the game is by making mistakes in the form of turnovers and dumb penalties. The Dukes have better athletes in a more stable program with the best staff in the country. Just facts. They should win this game, but if they start believing the hype-train from fans after last week’s decent showing at NC State instead of the coaches who seem to have been emphasizing that last week was nothing more than a missed opportunity (the second game like that in a row to be honest), JMU will miss the opportunities this week should afford them. This week “should” give them a chance to show just what kind of a Death Star they’re capable of becoming on offense this year. This week “should give them a chance to build on a strong defensive effort and show that all the new faces are ready for primetime. Just as importantly, this week “should” give them the chance to get every jersey on the travel squad dirty by finding valuable minutes of experience and morale-building for freshmen (able to play thanks to the new redshirt rule), backups and walk-ons. But for every turnover and botched play that allows NSU to hang around, not only will the Spartans gain confidence, but the Dukes will be chucking away more chances and that will officially have become a very disturbing trend.

NSU History

I joked about “Behold” at the beginning, which is the start of NSU’s famous “behold the green and gold” but the story behind the green and gold is really incredible. This 2017 Virginian Pilot piece provides a fantastic explanation for the school’s colors, chosen to model the Green Bay Packers believe it or not. It’s also hard to believe that NSU, despite Howard and Hampton folks calling it “a country school,” was once merely a part of Virginia State University, a school it’s seemingly outgrown in every way over the last few decades.

Beer of the Week

A trip to the Tidewater, hopefully the Dukes’ last until a long-awaited shot at redemption against ODUh, makes this week’s pick a no-brainer. Va Beach’s Commonwealth Brewing Company has been doing outstanding things the last couple years and the Big Papi DIPA is simply outstanding. I love IPA’s but the hazy/New England trend has thrown me off a bit as those aren’t my favorite and they hurt the next day. This is hazy. And it’s still fantastic. Juicy as a melon with no bitterness at all. In a beautifully labeled tall-boy can that features purple as it’s most prominent color. And if their brewery’s three-part symbol makes you think of the Deathly Hallows, wait till winter when their equally stunning Marvolo Stout comes out again.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Last year’s 75-14 final in Bridgeforth is the reason for the crazy-high line in this game. NSU didn’t seem to have any drop-off when they went to their backup QB last week. Plus they’re playing at home (though we hope it will be close in terms of which team has more support in the stands). We’ll go with 52 – 14 and Spartans cover late.

Sep 6 / jmusport

Guest Post: Norfolk’n Chance

Jared won last week’s prediction contest and earned the right to guest post. Here he briefly looks back on the season opening loss and then looks ahead to Saturday.

First and foremost, I regret that I won the prediction contest for week 1 against NC State since I took the pack over our beloved Dukes, but hey, here we are. Thank you to the guys behind the blog to allow me to hopefully entertain you, JMU Nation.

Growing up I always loved ESPN Gameday on Saturday mornings, wishing I could one day be an anchor. To be on set with Coach Corso, Herbie and other members over the years giving the details on what to watch for, who to watch for and of course, Coach’s head gear selection would have been a dream of mine. Since ESPN has blessed our campus over the past few years, I still, every now and then wonder what would it be like? To sit down on the set and turn around to see a roaring fan base behind the set, screaming their lungs out, streamers flying (even if they did get onto the cable system for the fly over camera…dukes) and some of the cleverest signs (although provocative occasionally) that young adults have to offer. Well here’s my chance…except I’m on my couch with a beer in hand winging it. read more…

Sep 5 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. Norfolk State

After a hard fought loss against NC State, the Dukes are back at this weekend against Norfolk State. As you might recall, JMU defeated the Spartans by the score of 75-14. That’s all we need to say about that. We want to know how you think this year’s match-up will go down though. Leave a comment below with your prediction for Saturday. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. It’s just that easy. So give us your prediction and Go Dukes!

Sep 2 / Todd

JMU @ NC State: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

The Dukes went toe-to-toe with NC State yesterday but fell in the end 24-13. Sure there are nits to pick, but we feel absolutely confident saying we’re more sure of the sky-high potential from this year’s squad leaving Raleigh with a hard-fought loss against a team that could easily end the year in the top 10 than we were leaving Greenville last year after punishing a terrible ECU team last year.

As always, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good

So, so much good in this game. We’re gonna put a few things in the other column, but if you think the Dukes don’t leave this game with tons to look forward to this year, the shade of purple in your glasses is simply too dark. Finley is the #1 QB on NFL Draft boards and a number of those receivers will be drafted ahead of Riley.

Ben DiNucci vs NCSU Nooooooch! – We hate to start with the QB, but JMU’s biggest question headed into Week 1 appeared to have been answered emphatically by the Nooch. Hopefully the hammy doesn’t linger, but it sure looked like the Dukes found their guy. DiNucci was excellent throughout, giving JMU’s plethora of weapons plenty of chances to make plays and bailing them out Schor-style with his legs. If anything, his mistakes seemed to come from his hyper-competitiveness with the key fumble coming when trying to make a play that may not have been there and a grounding call trying to save things. Can’t wait to see what’s in store from the offensive #6 this year. For the record, the one completion Cole Johnson had on his two attempts may have been exactly the type of throw that he can make Ben can’t and the reason the competition was so tight.

Crispness – There was a drive with back-to-back false starts in the second quarter, but overall, this was a very crisp, clean game from the Dukes for a season lid-lifter against a BCS team. In fact, it was State that committed most of the dumb penalties. Kicking game was on-point with two made FG’s and a couple of outstanding punts that pinned the Pack deep.

Reloading not rebuilding – We all hear this cliche every year from top programs at every level from high school to the NFL. The Patriots, Alabama, NDSU, etc. We’ve often tried to trot this phrase out in some of the salad days of JMU football. Late-aughts Mickey, year 2 of Withers come to mind, but it’s never really been true. Until now. Keshaun Moore, Mike Greene, Josh Sims, Mateo Jackson, Matt Terrell, The Nooch. We could go on and on, but JMU didn’t miss a beat yesterday and we feel better about this year leaving Raleigh than we did leaving Greenville last year.

Tackling – Other than NC State’s first TD, which was really well blocked, JMU’s tackling was really solid, especially for the first game of the year. We knew State was going to get their yards, but so many times, the Dukes managed to prevent gamebreaking plays with solid tackling. Even the desperation plays, like Amos’ tackle on the huge huge play late where JMU got caught, and of course Harry O’Kelly laying the lumber on that big punt return, continued to give JMU a chance.

Rush Defense – What can we even say?! The Dukes were missing expected contributors Darious Carter, Landan Word, and Byrce Maginley from the front seven. They simply plugged in players and basically punked the Wolfpack’s running game all day. If the Dukes can keep this up, that will go a loooong way towards easing the strain on a secondary that will need some time to adjust to the loss of Rashad Robinson along with graduating Brown and Greene.

Those helmets! – No need to stay on this too much but those unstriped whites with the Duke Dog logo were icey. Also, while we’re on the equipment beat, is that a small fan in Ron’dell Carter’s mouthpiece?!

The Bad

Missed chances – This could apply to the big picture chance to beat a P5 team or numerous plays throughout this game. The Dukes were inside the 10 four times (excluding the game’s final seconds). The scored a TD the first time, but had to (chose to?) settle for Field Goals twice and turned it over on DiNucci’s fumble the other time.  DB’s had a couple shots at picks and they defense overall had multiple chances to get off the field on third down, particularly on NC State’s game-killing drive in the 4th. Again, not to take anything at all away from JMU’s effort, but that’s a lot of missed opportunities that have to be cashed in (or plays made) to get back to Frisco and dethrone the Bison.

Riley needs to eat – Look, we really can’t complain about a gameplan that just about pulled off the upset, and we love the commitment to the run in the second half, but as the former players sitting next to us said, “throw it to ‘Ridley,'” which appeared to be their loving name based off of rookie NFL player and former ‘Bama star Calvin Ridley. When Stapleton had chances, he made plays, and it’d be great to see him given more opportunities no matter who’s covering him.

The Ugly

Rashad Robinson out for the year – no sugarcoating this one, getting the news that JMU’s All-American CB and top NFL prospect was out for the year on Saturday morning was a tough pill to swallow. And mostly we feel bad for Rashad. That said, if you want to put a silver lining on it, imagine having Rashad back with all of this young talent next year to defend a crown!

The heat – One last item. I’m not sure I’ve ever been hotter than I was on Saturday. I’m absolutely sure I’ve never abandoned vanity and accepted a full sweat-through of all my clothing the way I did. Honestly, I considered heading home at halftime because I thought I might stroke out and I have a feeling I wasn’t alone. Of course, even though this is in “the ugly” I’ll end on a high note with a HUGE shoutout to JMU’s strength and conditioning staff and the hard work the players must’ve put in this year. The Dukes were clearly the fitter team as other than the cramps from two players who earned them the hard way (Ron’Dell Carter and the Nooch), JMU was the team that seemed to get better, or at least hang in there better, as the game progressed despite having 22 less scholarships.

Aug 31 / Rob

JMUSB 2018 Game Preview 1: JMU vs. NC State

We can’t speak for everyone, but we are ready for some football. Thankfully, our beloved JMU Dukes are set to hit the field this weekend. That’s right, the wait is over. The 2018 college football season is upon us. Coach Mike Houston and the Dukes are ranked #2 in the FCS and are ready to come out of the gate with a big FBS game in week one. There’s no cupcake game to work out the kinks this year. Instead, JMU will face a big test against a very talented NC State team from the ACC with its own high expectations for the season. So break out your tailgating supplies, warm up your streamer throwing arm, and buckle up. It’s time to Start Wearing Purple. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Basics

Match-up: JMU Dukes 0-0 (0-0 CAA) vs. NC State Wolfpack 0-0 (0-0 ACC)
Kick-off: 12:00 noon Saturday, 1 September in Carter Finley Stadium in lovely Raleigh, NC
Weather: High of 88 with 40% chance of afternoon thunderstorms
Broadcast: ESPNU

Getting Up to Speed on the Wolfpack

In the interest of full disclosure, like the rest of the natural world outside of the Raleigh metro area, I went back to not paying attention to NC State athletics roughly 15 minutes after Lorenzo Charles slammed it home against Phi Slamma Jamma. So bear with me while I fire up the Google machine and see what I missed. Huh. Apparently I missed, um, nothing. That night in March of 1983 was pretty much the peak. They managed to luck box their way into a ACC tourney title in 1987, but for the past few decades, it’s been a little bleak for NC State. And hoops is their good sport. The last ACC football title they won was in 1979. That was a long time ago. A gallon of gas cost 86 cents in 1979. The median price of a home in the U.S. was $71,800. It was 9 years before future Big 10 Championship winning QB Russell Wilson was even born. Long time ago folks.

We kid, but we’ve got nothing against NC State. From our vantage point, it seems like the fans are decent folks who support the Pack with plenty of passion. And they do so while surrounded by fans of the Triangle’s other ACC teams, Duke and UNC. That must be a treat. The Duke and UNC fanbases are sworn enemies bound not only by the way the snobby way they both look down on NC State, but by their complete ignorance of the fact that outsiders think they’re both insufferable. Being left out of that little douche picnic isn’t a bug State fans, it’s a feature. read more…

Aug 29 / Rob

Prediction Contest: JMU vs. NC State

Here we go. The JMUSB Prediction Contest is back for another year. It really couldn’t be more simple. It works the same way each game week. Leave a comment below with your prediction for this weekend’s game. Let us know who you think will win and what the final score will be. The person who comes closest to nailing it (winner & score) will get to write a guest post. If there’s a tie, we’ll go with whomever submitted their comment first. Just trust us. The prize is a writing a guest post, not a million bucks. We’ve been doing this for years and it’s actually lead to some really terrific posts from lots of different readers (and writers too I guess). Got it? Great. So let us know who you think will win the JMU vs. NC State game below. And Go Dukes!

Aug 28 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Wolfpack Week & Season Predictions


We made it. It’s game week and time to really talk football. That’s just what we did on the latest episode of the JMUSB Podcast. Give it a listen to hear us discuss our expectations for the season, our predictions for the season, and a bunch of rambling about why In-N-Out is overrated and Waffle House rules.

As always, the JMUSB Podcast is brought to you by Pale Fire Brewing. Let them know we sent you next time you’re at the tasting room and they’ll give you a free pint glass.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.