Sep 15 / Todd

JMU at Troy: Official JMUSB Game #3 Preview

The Basics

Matchup: JMU Dukes (2-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Troy Trojans (1-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. EDT. Saturday, September 16, 2023, Veterans Memorial Stadium, Troy, Alabama

Weather: Partly Cloudy, low 80’s

Broadcast: NFL Network (pretty cool)

Boys in the Desert: Troy -2.5

Let’s get back to this from the Dukes Safety group!

How We Got Here

Dukes had a slightly disappointing showing in a 38-3 opener against FCS Bucknell before a massive post-weather-delay comeback to win an insanely emotional game over the Wahoos last weekend. Troy also was underwhelming (at least defensively) in their FCS opener where they downed Stephen F. Austin 48-30 (was 31-20 at the half before Troy pulled away). Then they played a very solid half at Top 15 Kansas St. before imploding/wearing down after the break and letting things get a bit out of hand 42-13 on the road.

How Troy Can Win

Extend whatever drought the JMU offense goes through and use that to outscore the Dukes. JMU has had extended periods where the offense has stalled a bit in both of the first two weeks even though they’ve scored 36 and 38 points so far. Troy’s defense is better than either unit JMU has seen so far. While it seems unlikely they’ll keep the Dukes in check for 60 minutes, if they can force two plus quarters of “meh” from JMU’s offense, that could set them up to score enough.

Troy has a superback in Kimani Vidal. He can grind out yards (like last week against a legit KSt. team) and he’s explosive with a national-best four carries over 40 yards thus far. The Dukes lead the country in rushing yards per play though and this matchup of strength-on-strength should be a dream to watch.

Troy also has a talented WR in Chris Lewis, capabale of hitting the highlight reel anytime the ball heads his way. But if JMU can hold Vidal to even normal-ish rushing numbers, can QB Gunnar Watson find Lewis and co. in obvious passing situations when Kromah and Green have green lights in the pass rush?

On defense, Troy cannot afford any of the second-half lapses they had in the Little Apple last week. UVA seemed well-prepped for much of what JMU likes to do, but when things got tight late, they missed opportunities to close the Dukes out. The Trojans will need to be better.

How JMU Can Win

Cash in opportunities with points. The last two weeks, JMU managed to find enough possessions to eventually get the offense rolling after slowish stints in the first half of both games. This week they’re playing a team with equal talent that likes to run the ball, control the clock, and isn’t afraid to play low-scoring junkfests. The Dukes simply cannot afford to miss chances when TD’s are availalbe. As was much discussed, JMU overthrew sure TD connections against Bucknell early and then last week a combination of drops, a timid 4th down decision, and another overthrow saw them miss the chance to really bury the Cavs before they got their own momentum late in the opening half.

Barring turnovers, JMU’s defense should keep them in this one throughout against a rush-first squad. But Troy seems unlikely to blow this on their own and the Dukes need to pay off their chances when presented.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Swover Creek Farm Brewery Jalapeno Cream Ale – It’s the first real Fall Saturday weather-wise in the Valley so far this year and the Dukes have a night game. So head out in the afternoon to gorgeous Swover Creek (it’s an Edinburg address but it’s more Mt. Jackson) for some incredible pizza (get the Mexican with the homemade Chorizo) and try something weird (non-gourd category of course). Use the JMU mug on the wall if they’ll let ya!

Official JMUSB Prediction

JMU 34, Troy 24 – Just a really good game between two solid and proud programs. But the JMU pass defense and tackling finally tighten up and compliment the front six, forcing a late back-breaking turnouver from the home team.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: