Apr 30 / Todd

Official JMUSB Quarterfinal Playoff Preview: North Dakota at JMU

2019 JMU Football-Morgan State
WPW – the Championship Combo

The Basics

Matchup: #7 North Dakota Fighting Hawks (5-1, 4-1Missouri Valley) at #3 JMU Dukes (6-0, 3-0 CAA)

Kickoff: 6:00 p.m. EDT. Sunday, May 2, 2021, Bridgeforth Stadium, Rocktown, VA

Weather: Mostly Cloudy, high 82 heading down to 57 but humidity increasing throughout the game from 41 to 61%

Broadcast: ESPN2!!!

Boys in the Desert: JMU -2.5, O/U 52.5

How UND Can Win

Hold up in the trenches and play with their usual near-flawless execution. UND is an upgraded version of VMI. Extremely well-coached and creative in all the ways that have given JMU problems against that other team from North Dakota but with better players than the Keydets had last week. If they execute as normal, it seems almost guaranteed they’ll catch JMU out with big plays on offense and special teams at least 2-3 times. The key for the Hawks is not letting JMU do what that other team did to them early in the season – namely just bully them on both lines and grind them to dust.

How JMU Can Win

To paraphrase Virginia’s own former NASCAR star Ward Burton, “Hammer Down!” (and if you remember the accent with which that was said on the last lap at Daytona, it’s even better). If ever a game called for the Dukes to bow up and push people around, even at the expense of aesthetics and salty fans who still want to #passmore, it was this one. JMU needs to grind and limit mistakes. This could be the rare exception where less possession is better for JMU than its opponent – particularly if that means JMU is methodically running the ball and controlling clock and the ball. Defensively, the headline matchup is JMU’s strong run defense versus UND’s star RB Otis Weah, but it’s the Dukes ability to not get caught too many times in mis-direction and play-calling on the back end that will dicate their success.

And Special Teams! At the very least not losing the specials matchup is critical this week. Last week’s onside kick fiasco, which of course was a repeat of previous fiascos in big games, simply cannot happen. That NDSU fake FG from the last title game – UND will have watched that tape and it simply cannot happen. Coach Cain needs to have his group ready with no excuses for mental mistakes more than ever.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Three Notch’d I’d Rather Beer Fishing Lager – Three Notch’d (you know the one local brewery you can get at BFS) has a collaboration beer with our friends over at Mossy Creek Fly Fishing and it’s perfect for this unique Sunday Night Football experience. It’s an easy-drinking, low ABV lager released this spring that you can enjoy during the FCS national-tv triple-header and still be ready for work on Monday. And you can find them around the Valley (the real Valley) now! This one is legit.

Official JMUSB Prediction

No logic this week. Just mindset and motivation. We think the Dukes are finally ready to uncork one of those vintage JMU performances after this insane year.

JMU 42, UND 20

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