Nov 5 / Todd

2021 JMUSB Game Preview #9: Campbell at JMU

Well what a decade this last week has been! From the high of thinking the SunBelt might happen to the low of learning an inevitable announcement will end postseason aspirations for many JMU teams this year (and maybe next) and leave a group of kids in those sports high and dry when many of them have already had two years of their careers marred by Covid cancellations and reschedulings. There is blame to go around, there are celebrations to be had, there is hope for the long-term future, and sadness and concern for the short-term future. It all adds up to an extreme mix of emotions, positions, thoughts, and of course the accompanying hot and cold takes. We’re on the roller-coaster with everyone else and not always sure what the right answers are.

That said, we’re here to talk about the one program this is really all about. And oddly, the program least affected by realignment in the here-and-now – football. While all conference moves are largely about football, because CAA football is different from CAA everything else, the Dukes season this year can continue as-is.

The Basics

Matchup: Campbell Fightin’ Camels (3-5, 2-3 Big South) at #3 JMU Dukes (7-1, 5-1 CAA)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EST. Saturday November 6, 2021, Bridgeforth Stadium, Rocktown

Weather: Sunny and chilly, high 52 (perfect!)

Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington + (Dudley and Buckhantz) or you can Go with the Flo (but we understand cancelling immediately with a clear explanation as to why)

How the Camels Can Win

Short pass the Dukes wide to death and hope JMU goes back to missing tackles. Hardly anyone has much success running the ball against JMU and Campbell seems likely to hardly even try. Their “running game,” so to speak, is likely to come from lots of swing passes and short stuff on the outside. Oddly, this is an area that frequently scares us with so much roster churn and inconsistency at those positions for JMU this year. The Dukes have the speed to hopefully prevent giving up huge plays, but this isn’t the worst way to attack this team and Campbell could find some success there. The Camels have a pair of strong wideouts in Caleb Snead and Jalen Kelsey that seem capable of giving the Dukes corners fits in this matchup. Campbell is huge up front size-wise but has struggled in the run game.

Defensively, Campbell will have to hope their disruptive defensive lineman Brevin Allen can cause some chaos against JMU’s revamped offensive line because they’ve given up 27 or more points in each of their last five games and those teams didn’t have Cole Johnson, Antoine Wells, Jr., or Latrelle Palmer.

A few fun notes and thoughts on Campbell. The Camels are coached by former Nebraska star Mike Minter. Campbell has not one, but two Fightin’ Camels mascots, Gaylord and Gladys, and they are glorious. Just twenty years ago, Campbell was still a sleepy country school where well-to-do North Carolina kids who didn’t get into one of the big schools but wanted more than a junior college might go. It’s main campus in Buies Creek felt as rural as any place in the state. Randolph-Macon might be a shaky Virginia equivalent. Well things have changed in a big way. Buies Creek, and Harnett County where it sits, have rapidly become almost exurbs of Raleigh, just down the road from the exploding southern suburbs of the Triangle. FCS Football, now in the Big South, and some modest success in hoops have raised the profile of athletics. A gorgeous and growing law school in downtown Raleigh has also begun to put Campbell alums among the movers and shakers in the state. And a thoughtful and creative relationship with North Carolina’s huge military community, with branch campuses and outreach at both Fort Bragg and Camp LeJeune have added to Campbell’s presence in an oft-overlooked part of the state. Needless to say, the pines are still tall and the sandhills are still small, but Campbell is not just another school you’ve never heard of.

How the Dukes Can Win

Keep building on offense and make big plays on defense. The Dukes offense should have a chance to build on last week’s performance where things seemed to click again. Campbell has a few solid players on defense, particularly at LB and in the pass rush, but they do give up points. Anything less than 30 points from JMU would be surprising and disappointing, particularly with the weather finally looking clear for once tomorrow.

However, on defense the Dukes need to make some big plays. Campbell’s WR talent and general gameplan seems well-suited to pose some matchup problems for JMU, but it could also provide opportunities. The Dukes insane speed in the pass-rush could wreak havoc on an enormous but slow-footed OLine and JMU will need to cash in on any opportunities for big plays – sacks, turnovers, etc.

Oh yeah, maybe don’t let all the Sun Belt and Homecoming distractions go to the head either.

JMUSB Beer of the Week (BOTW)

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. So much to celebrate with this classic beer this week. The end of pumpkin beer season! Fresh hop season! The Sun Belt! Homecoming! And a rich IPA for the anti-IPA beer fanatics in your life. Plus this year it’s finally available in cans so tailgating can commence.

Official JMUSB Prediction

JMU 34, Campbell 17. We think the Dukes slowly but surely pull away to celebration time in this one but not before some frustrating moments. Basically a microcosm of all things JMU athletics this week.


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  1. Gene / Nov 5 2021

    Outstanding preview on all levels. As a longtime Triangle resident and Campbell adjunct faculty member, mad props for the best summary I’ve ever seen of CU’s smart growth and elevation of profile. Well done. And you didn’t even mention opening a fully-accredited medical school in the last ten years. 🙂

    Back to business, I expect a decisive dub – CU has kind of gone in the tank the past few weeks after having a good start to conference play.

  2. Pitz / Nov 5 2021

    Fantastic beer choice. ?

  3. Pitz / Nov 5 2021

    Just pretend that question mark is a beers emoji.

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