Nov 19 / Rob

2021 JMUSB Game Preview #11: JMU vs. Towson

Well, this is how it ends. JMU’s final CAA Football Conference game takes place on Saturday against our old pals, the Towson (State) Tigers. It occurred to me that despite JMU sharing a league with Towson for two decades, I don’t know a single thing about the school. After some extensive research (Wikipedia) however, Saturday’s match-up is apparently a matchup of former normal schools. Like JMU, Towson began as its states flagship school for educating teachers and has grown to a large institution with over 20,000 students today. However, after learning about that little journey, the article immediately jumped to an account of Barry Freundel’s voyeurism, so perhaps it best we end our overview of the school. In any case, Towson has very little fan support and seems perfectly content to ignore its sleeping giant potential in favor of abject mediocrity. We think that makes the Tigers the perfect final CAA opponent for the Dukes. Let’s go.

The Basics

Matchup: #2 JMU Dukes (9-1, 6-1 in that league) vs. Towson Tigers (4-6, 3-4 CAA)

Kickoff: 2:00 p.m. EST. Saturday November 20, 2021, Bridgeforth Stadium, Harrisonburg, VA

Weather: Mostly Cloudy, high 48

Broadcast: NBC Sports Washington or you can Go with the Flo

How We Got Here

If you weren’t paying attention to Towson football last spring (and be honest, you weren’t), you might have missed that they took the season off. Any thoughts that the extra rest would give the Tigers a competitive advantage this Fall were quickly dismissed when everyone remembered that it was Towson. The Tigers have had their typical up and down season, during which they’ve managed to sneak in a good win over Rhody, a pair of wins over lesser CAA schools, and a number of relatively impotent performances to fill out the rest of the schedule. They’re currently coming off a two game skid with losses to RU and Elon. In last weekend’s 37-14 defeat to Elon, the Tigers trotted out a 3 QB attack to open the game. It didn’t work. Despite the disappointing result, Jerry Howard Jr. ran for 126 yards on only 17 carries. That’s legit. So is he.

JMU on the other hand is riding a 5 game winning streak and fresh off a 32-22 win over William & Mary. Against the Tribe, JMU’s offense struggled in the red zone, but move the ball pretty well all day. Defensively, the Dukes managed to keep the William & Mary offense in check for all but a few plays. Of course those few plays that they let up resulted in scores. The fact remains that despite its red zone struggles, JMU won handily. Again.

How Towson Can Win

The Tigers will go as far as Jerry Howard Jr. can take them. The Georgia Tech transfer has been a real bright spot for Towson. He’s exceeded 100 yards rushing in 3 of his last 5 games. He’s a big back and should be the focus on the Tiger attack on Saturday. They’re best hope is to pound the ball with him and keep the Dukes offense on the sidelines. If they do that, and JMU fails to convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns, they’ll have a chance.

How JMU Can Win

JMU has shown that they can win games even when the offense stalls near the end zone, but they really need to punch it in for a few touchdowns. This is the last game of the regular season and a great chance to build momentum for the playoffs. The offensive line has stepped up in the passing game lately. They need to find a way to have the same sort of success with the ground game. The Dukes have proven that they can win with “B” games from the offense and a stellar performance from Ethan Ratke. They need to get back to their more successful ways of running the ball effectively while spreading the ball around in the air. JMU has shown us brief peaks of championship level play this season. This regular season finale would be a great time for them to put together a full 60 minutes hitting on all cylinders.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Lazersnake by 3 Floyds Brewing. This brewery out of Indiana has been well know by beer fans for ages. It’s only been relatively recently that we could find its beers where we live in Virginia. Not much more to say about it other than their stellar reputation is deserved. Lazersnake is a good, no nonsense IPA. Drink it and root for Dukes.

Official JMUSB Prediction

The Dukes put the clamps on the Tigers run game, Latrelle Palmer goes off, and Cole slings it around all day. JMU is going to go out of the CAA with a bang. The Dukes should win and win big. We’re thinking 35-10 good guys. Enjoy the game everyone.

One Comment

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  1. CJ / Nov 19 2021

    Looking forward to taking care of business against Towson and moving on to that much-needed first round playoff bye. Dukes tend to rise to the occasion and play up to their level of competition in big games (Weber, North Dakota, even Sam Houston for 2/3’s of the game). But then again, this team has a few nagging vulnerabilities that suggest we’re not firing on all cylinders like that 2016 squad was.

    First things first, however…lets not take Towson as a pushover. As all of us well know, any decent CAA team is capable of beating another when a few circumstances align. And I expect Towson to come out and try and punch us in the mouth.

    Maybe overly optimistic thinking on my part…but if we’re in a 3 or 4 score lead after the 3rd quarter, I’d really like to see them rotate in some backups. Seems like in some of our more decisive victories (Campbell, Elon), the starters stayed out there a little longer than I felt was necessary. Just doesn’t seem worth it to risk injuries at that point, especially now heading into the playoffs.

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