Oct 29 / Todd

2021 JMUSB Game Preview #8: Elon at JMU

There’s an important game ON THE FIELD at Bridgeforth tomorrow y’all. We know, we’ve also been guilty of overlooking that fact at times this week as the wait for the Sun Belt must wait another week. Next week for Homecoming against Campbell we can all blow things out and truly celebrate the “Official” future of JMU Athletics (and the end of all the dumbass campaign commercials on tv!) but this week the focus needs to be on winning a CAA game team against a 3-1 in conference Elon team. The Phoenix were up and down the first four weeks (close loss to Wofford in Week 1, close win over Campbell week 2, understandable loss to App. St., and a shootout loss to W&M) but have found their stride with three straight decisive (ten plus points) wins in conference over Richmond, Maine, and UNH coming into this week.

The Basics

Matchup: Elon Phoenix (4-3, 3-1 CAA) at #5 JMU Dukes (6-1, 4-1 CAA)

Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. EST. Saturday October 30, 2021, Bridgeforth Stadium, Rocktown

Weather: Off and on rain, 50’s

Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington (with Buckhantz!) or you can Go with the Flo

How the Phoenix Can Win

Jump up early and collapse the middle. Even with all of JMU’s recent struggles in the red zone, Elon needs to get off to a good start so they can control the clock and the game. They haven’t scored more than 33 in a game all year (and only scored 30 twice; once a loss to W&M) and simply cannot afford to get in a track meet with the Dukes. Defensively, they need to take the opportunity presented by JMU’s reshaped and banged-up O-Line to limit the JMU inside run game like a few other teams have been able to do lately.

Offensively, they need to be sharp in the quick-passing game and not rely on Davis Cheek to stay alive for slow-developing plays. He’s capable, but that’s not sustainable against this JMU rush. JMU shuts down the run and we don’t expect anything different this week, but Elon will be looking to use their quick-pass game in its place and needs to force JMU’s DB’s to show they’re ready.

How the Dukes Can Win

First, be ready early. Elon is well-coached and they’ve scored right out of the gate the last couple weeks. There is no time for a sleepy start from the Dukes. Defensively, the Dukes have to get home with their pressure on Phoenix QB Davis Cheek. Yes, he’s beaten JMU before, but he’s grown as a player and is playing the best ball of his career right now. Elon has at times struggled to run the ball but he’s been so strong, especially when he is given time, or slides to create his own time, that the Phoenix have overcome it. When teams have sent pressure and failed to get to him, he’s been hitting big plays. Additionally, Elon ran quite of bit of the quick horizontal/swing pass game stuff last week in their win over UNH. If that happens again, JMU’s defensive backs have got to make tackles and not allow extra yards.

On the other side of the ball, the obvious fix is “score TDs on red-zone trips.” Hope that happens. But we’d also like to see JMU not be so stubborn about smashing two-yard runs up the middle if Elon’s capable line holds them up a bit. If it isn’t there, move to the quick passing game and get the ball to Wells, Thornton, VanHorse, etc. in space and let them work. The Dukes seem to have an advantage outside and even with dicey weather this week, we’d like to see them use it before the second half if required.

Lastly, for both teams field position could be critical on a wet afternoon. Lots of JMU’s ability to overcome its own hiccups the last couple weeks can be attributed to controlling the field position game and that could be big again.

JMUSB Beer of the Week (BOTW)

Deschutes Black Butte Porter – A classic American Porter. Just a phenomenal beer. Perfect for a rainy fall afternoon. And probably best to enjoy it now with word that Deschutes fully abandons its formerly grand plans for a Roanoke outpost. It’s been so great having their reliably solid offerings available even in some of the Commonwealth’s most behind-the-beer-times areas the last few years and we an only hope that continues regardless of Deschutes lack of a physical presence in the state.

Official JMUSB Prediction

Dukes find a way to take remove the restrictor plate! JMU 38, Elon 16

One Comment

leave a comment
  1. Joe / Oct 29 2021

    Don’t think it’ll be a blowout by any means. Dukes won’t cover but win 26-17 as red zone issues continue.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: