Feb 26 / Todd

2021 Spring Game #2 Official JMUSB Preview: Robert Morris @ JMU

Running Back Jawon Hamilton
Don’t sleep on Hamilton!

The Basics

Matchup: Robert Morris Colonials (0-0, Big South) @ #3 JMU Dukes (1-0, 0-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 12 noon ET. Saturday February 27, 2021, Bridgeforth Stadium, Rocktown

Weather: Light rain early, then mostly cloudy. High 59

Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington Plus (this is the “other” channel you use when Wiz and Caps play at the same time. It’s available on Dish, DTV, and Fios). Also streaming on FloFootball.

Boys in the Desert: JMU -38.5, O/U 53.5

How Robert Morris Can Win

Turnovers and a perfect game. Unlike last week against completely outmanned Morehead St., if this game was played a hundred times, RMU could win a game or three. RMU is making the transition from the weak Northeast Conference to the Big South, home to stronger programs like Monmouth, Kennesaw St., and Charleston Southern. Head Coach Bernard Clark, Jr. has been recruiting on this for a couple years and is clearly building towards larger aspirations for the program as they grew from the 2-9 team that JMU blew out in 2018 into a solid 7-5 team in 2019.

This group brings back 14 starters from that 2019 team including four returnees on the offensive line in front of lightning quick running back Alijah Jackson (if we remember correctly, he had a long run called back by penalty last time against the Dukes). The Colonials are equally veteran-laden on defense led by tackling machine LB Aniello Buzzacco. He set RMU’s school record for tackles in a season last year and is one of seven returning starters. With so many vets, many of these kids have played in Bridgeforth before and developed since then. We don’t expect this group to be intimidated this time around. RMU is still a heavy underdog in this one, particularly against a JMU team that hopefully got the rust off last week, but this is a proud group of older players ready to keep building this program and there is likely a world in which a perfect game and a bunch of mistakes on JMU’s part give them a real chance.

Interestingly, RMU will turn around the “we’ve got a game under our belt” thing next week when take on host preseason conference favorite Monmouth in what will be the Hawks first game. If RMU shows well this week, we’ll be curious to look in on that matchup next week.

How JMU Can Win

Play clean. This could be a bit of rockfight early, with a fresh, proud, hungry group in RMU excited to hit a different-colored jersey for the first time in forever and plenty of relevant film to study all this time. If the Dukes can simply avoid the huge mistakes (e.g. turnovers, penalties, long plays given up, poor specials) in the first 20 minutes or so, we’d expect them to grind down RMU the same way they should most every opponent this year. Eventually the running game will crush all that early-game excitement and as long as they’re not trailing at the half and have a decent level of game control, the Dukes will eventually rack up the ground yards and hit a big play or two to open this up.

On defense, the Dukes need to do exactly what they did last week – their jobs. JMU was surprisingly strong in terms of playing assignment football in their first game with a turned over group of players last week and if they can do that – and thus prevent RMU speedster Jackson from getting off a long one – they should be in great position to eventually force the big mistakes and big plays they want to make. In particular, the LB/Rover group of DTD, Azanama, Jackson, Davis, and Hampton need to be in the right place as they were last week!

More Than a Game

We’re trying something new this year inspired by the work of the Bills Mafia to make something better from the collective power of Dukes everywhere. This week in honor of JMU’s opponent, Robert Morris, we’ll be donating to the West Hills Food Pantry. The group near RMU outside Pittsburgh does great work in their community. Last week, our small but might community of Dukes (that’s you!) was able to supply more than 3000 meals (that’s incredible!!!) to Feeding America – Kentucky Heartland and we’re hoping we might even top that this week. Love y’all!

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Shiner Bock. Honestly, the pandemic year got us back to some of the basics for lots of reasons. Saving money, keeping more low ABV beer on hand, and as much as anything, more beer-buying from the regular grocer instead of so many additional trips to the fancy beer store. Shiner was one of my first beer loves twenty plus years ago and of those early forays, it’s one of the only ones that holds up (and Sierra of course). And of course the Texas staple has been on tap everywhere on the three Frisco trips the last few years. So this year it’s my “hope we get back to Texas” gameday certainty as well.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Our guess is the value in having played last week outweighs the risk of overconfidence off a win over a cupcake for the Dukes. RMU is not a true cupcake, and seems vastly improved from the squad JMU blew out a few years back. But the Dukes are going to enjoy the relatively warmer weather, regardless of any light precip, and the experience they gained to iron out the kinks on offense last week and start to show some of the firepower we think this group is capable of.

JMU 41 – Robert Morris 17

One Comment

leave a comment
  1. Mark B. / Feb 26 2021

    The “More than a Game” section is a great idea. Very cool.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: