Sep 23 / Todd

JMU @ App State: Official JMUSB Game #3 Preview

Father of the Constitution, Mother of All Gameday Crowds
Still true, just saying.

Matchup: JMU Dukes (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Appalachian State Mountaineers (2-1, 1-0 Sun Belt)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EST. Saturday, September 24, 2022, Kidd-Brewer Stadium, Boone, NC

Weather: Partly Cloudy, high 65 (it’s almost really Fall y’all!)

Broadcast: ESPN+

Boys in the Desert: App -7, O/U 57.5 (note the line has moved towards the Dukes from higher opening numbers most places)

How We Got Here

The Dukes have caused a few folks to take note in the FBS world and raised our partisans’ hopes with nearly flawless performances during a 44-7 thrashing of (possibly) mid-tier G5 team MTSU to start and an expected beatdown of Norfolk St. a couple weeks ago. JMU’s odd “transition” situation led to two bye weeks, including this past week’s early hiatus. Not too much to read from JMU’s dominance over bad teams, but it’s at least encouraging to know that MTSU has gone on to win handily in their two weeks since being shredded by the Dukes.

While JMU’s start has been rather straightforward (even if the blowout in Week 1 was more than we expected), App. St. has been the nation’s best college football rollercoaster through three weeks. In their opener, they finally got the hated Tarheels to come up the mountain. This caused the Mountaineers to add temporary seating to meet ticket demand and to forget what they were doing for the better part of three quarters. Then they caught fire and scored an insane 40(!) fourth-quarter points to nearly cap what would’ve been a miraculous comeback before falling 63-61 when they failed on a two-point attempt to tie the game. And that doesn’t really come close to covering the madness of that game. Then we all know they went to Texas A&M and dominated the Aggies despite messing around and nearly blowing it in a 17-14 win that got the whole college football world to pay attention and got them awarded ESPN’s College Gameday (sweetly over the vanquished A&M cult by the way) for last week’s game. Then they did their best JMU Gameday part 1 impression (still too soon) by nearly blowing their big day against Troy only to steal their Sun Belt opener with a true Hail Mary on the game’s final play. Whoo, that’s not the way most folks get to 2-1 but here we are.

How App St. Can Win

Find another reserve of emotional energy and don’t overlook this opponent for a minute. There are a few schematic things to hit on here of course, but the Mountaineers staying locked in after the crazy highs and lows of the first three weeks seems as important as anything X’s and O’s in this one, particularly against a rested and relatively healthy group of Dukes.

On offense, App needs QB Chase Brice to be accurate when the 2 or 3 chances to go deep inevitably surface against this evolving JMU defense. Hit those and App will be a great spot even if this turns into a track meet. But miss those – even with as good and creative as the Mountaineers run game can be – and it could turn into a disaster if JMU gets ahead and gets to tee off while tolerating the risk on the back end. RB Camerun Peoples has been exceptional even against the strong competition App has played so far and he’ll have to keep that up against a Dukes D that will likely be focusing on him.

Defensively, its cliché but App needs to force JMU to play behind the chains. JMU’s success in the running game sets up so much of their devastating play-action when the playbook is open on 2nd and 3rd and short situations.

How JMU Can Win

Be ready for the speed of the game out of the bye from the opening kickoff and take advantage of opportunities. The most important thing for JMU early is to be ready to go after the layoff. Against Peoples and a “maybe” strong D (TAMU looks pathetic on offense so the jury is still out), the Dukes really need to avoid falling behind too much too early.

Offensively, with App likely to key on the run and KT, the Dukes will need continued improvement from the secondary playmakers like Green, Ravenel, and Black. But the chances seem likely to be there and when they are, JMU has to take full advantage of the opportunities with TD’s rather than FG’s.

As far as being opportunistic on D, the most important thing for the Dukes is to get off the field on 3rd and 4th downs. The Mountaineers are aggressive about 4th down calls (in a way we applaud!) and seem unlikely to do anything different against JMU. The Dukes need to finish possessions defensively. One of JMU’s biggest problems against other hardnosed teams the last few years (see NDSU) wasn’t necessarily giving up huge plays but rather allowing a team to grind out yards and clock time, thus stripping JMU’s high-powered offense of the chances it often gets to showcase the speed and playmaking that has become a Dukes staple.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Skipping Rock Beer Co’s Belgian Dubbel – Staunton’s Skipping Rock has been quietly flying under the radar for a while now despite doing most things well and few things wrong. But during a summer of obsessing over bike racing and beer that always seemed to end up with all things Belgian (Wout Van Aert at le Tour was incredible!), we finally bridged fully back to the Continental aisles at the big beer store and starting loving these huge Belgian beers again. And who knew that right here in the Valley there’s a tremendous offering in this category. Plus the high octane 7.8% seems appropriate for renewing old hostilities!

Official JMUSB Prediction

This one will finally allow our fans to stop being so cautious about this team’s potential. It won’t be a surprise in the locker room or here at JMUSB HQ. We think this year’s Dukes are for real and maybe a few others outside the Valley will pick up on that come 7 p.m. or so Saturday night!

JMU 38, App 24


leave a comment
  1. Oz / Sep 23 2022

    Thanks for continuing your tradition of keyboard communication in this broadcast/podcast age. I always enjoy your previews, and this one’s no exception. “Still too soon.” Ha! So true. Go, Dukes!

  2. Tidewater Duke / Sep 23 2022

    This is going to be a tough fight. If the Dukes get their running game going and manage to win time of possession I think we can win.

    I am going for

    JMU. 34

    App. 27

  3. CJ / Sep 23 2022

    Gonna be a tough one. App St really seems to have momentum with their big wins (impressive how they found a way to win last week). My big concern is our secondary, which still hasn’t been fully tested against a high powered offense like the Mountaineers.

    Sun Belt is looking really good this season so I’m glad we found a home with them. Downside of course is that even if we beat the Mountaineers, the meat grinder continues with Marshall, Louisville, and Coastal, et al. I think the key is for Centeio to stay healthy, because he can be the game changer in any matchup.

    JMU typically plays up to the level of their competition, so let’s hope for the best!

  4. Hart / Sep 24 2022

    Wow. Todd & Rob expecting a convincing win on the road in the most hostile environment for the Sun Belt. Of course, anything can happen and that is why we watch, but App has too much of an advantage in this game. The Dukes are probably 2-3 years away from having a fully recruited FBS roster and then should be able to go toe-to-toe with any team in the country even on the road.
    We’ll be Rooting hard and would love to see a huge shocker Saturday. Let’s make no mistake about it though, a win on the road against an App State team flying high this year would be a big upset.

    JMU is Playing with house money as the FBS upstart underdawg. Everything to gain, nothing to lose. The Dukes are supposed to lose this game in year 1. Supposed to…

    App State 27
    JMU 17

  5. Steve Brown / Sep 24 2022

    I also picked 38-24 earlier in the week. I don’t see how App State stops JMU and I think JMU can do enough on defense to stop App when it matters. I also think JMU turns App over and scores on a pick 6 or a fumble scoop and score. JMU has been at this FBS level for years and this is not a “big” game for them. It’s just the 3rd game and it’s not coach speak.

  6. CJ / Sep 24 2022

    Wow. What a game. Biggest victory for the program since NDSU in 2016 and maybe VT in 2010. And to come back from 28-3 is legendary. Coach Cignetti finally gets a signature win.

    I think this milestone is worthy of a special JMU Sports Blog post on this epic win.

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