Oct 13 / Todd

Georgia Southern @ JMU: Official JMUSB Game #6 Preview

The Basics

Matchup: Georgia Southern Eagles (4-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) @ JMU Dukes (5-0, 2-0 Sun Belt)

Kickoff: Noon EDT. Saturday, October 14, 2023, Bridgeforth Stadium, Rocktown

Weather: 65, chance of showers all day though looks better for the second half. It’s gonna be fine and it’s always sunny in D-Lot so get your butts out there and go hard.

Broadcast: ESPN2

Boys in the Desert: JMU -6, O/U 59.5 (opened at Dukes by 3.5)

Mutliple Dukes sacking Richmond QB Aaron Corps in 2011
Jumping into the way-back machine for the type of QB pressure we hope to see this week!

How We Got Here

Both teams are coming off their bye weeks and should be fresh after outstanding starts to the season. The Eagles only loss was at Wisconsin in a game where they arguable played better than the 35-14 final indicates. Their lone SBC game was two weeks ago with a 38-28 win at home over Coastal.

How Georgia Southern Can Win

Carbon copy of last year’s game in Statesboro. A big play or turnover or three from defense and specials and just throw and throw and throw all over JMU’s to-date questionable back end. Essentially just outscore the Dukes in a shootout. No doubt that JMU’s commitment to stopping the run (a commitment that works btw) has also led to lots of doom and gloom from Dukes fans about the secondary. And no team is better prepared to take advantage of that from a matchup standpoint than this Southern team that averages 475 yards of offense by air-raiding it out with a solid QB and a bevy of receiving targets.

Defensively however, the Eagles will likely need to outperform the 140 yards/game they’ve been giving up on the ground if they want to maximize their offense’s opportunities. Especially on a potentially soggy day in the Valley they can’t just have to stop JMU from grinding drives and killing clock (not something the Dukes have done a lot of this year yet but still worth noting).

How JMU Can Win

Finish them. Get home to Brin. Be more consistent on offense.

First things first. Last year JMU jumped all over the Eagles early and had multiple chances to put them away before mistakes by the Dukes allowed the game to turn and then Georgia Southern got rolling offensively in the second half. If that sounds familiar, that’s because that’s exactly what JMU did against Utah St., Virginia, and to a lesser extent South Alabama, before the bye. If the Dukes start fast as they often have this year, they need to be ruthless in finishing the Eagles off.

Defensively we know the drill at this point. Eagles QB Davis Brin looks a whole lot like last year’s QB Kyle Van Trease. Given time he’ll kill you with his accuracy, his weapons, and the play design Georgia Southern is so clever about. But pressure changed everything we they went to Wisconsin, he got drilled a bunch, and ultimately threw a whole slew of picks. Kromah, Kamara, Carpenter, Green, and Tucker after a week of rest have to be looking forward to this one!

On offense JMU just needs to show more consistency. Yes it could be a shootout and they might need to be great. But even if it’s not quite as crazy as last year, the Dukes can’t afford a three- or four-possession stretch of 3 and outs. JMU has shown it can be explosive the last couple games; now the Dukes need to show they won’t disappear for an entire quarter or two and not abandon their running game.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Hardywood Great Return IPA – pains us to credit the folks with a themed beer for another state school, but this one just tastes good. And the fish motif seems apropos for a swimmingly good tailgate.

Official JMUSB Prediction

JMU 37, Georgia Southern 17 – Lock. The. Damned. Gates!

One Comment

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  1. CJ / Oct 13 2023

    Anybody see that USAToday article about two weeks ago that profiled the remaining unbeaten FBS teams? It predicted that JMU’s first loss would be to Georgia Southern. I’m not a big prediction guy but I disagree. Although both teams are good and capable of beating each other on a good day, I think JMU has the edge this year. I haven’t watched GSU play but from what I see on paper I’m not terribly impressed. If JMU plays a solid 4 quarters (and doesn’t let the team hang around as they’ve tended to do this year), I see a decisive victory for the Dukes. I just think they’re the better team.

    Instead, I think JMU’s first loss will come when we crack the AP Top 25 rankings, which will probably happen after one or two more wins.

    Also, for the record I’m declaring Curt Cignetti as the GOAT of JMU football coaches. I hear the voices complaining about inconsistency, games that have been closer than they’ve needed to be, squeaking out wins when we should have won by larger margins. Bottom line is that Cignetti has delivered results. Only game we’ve had our natural a***s thoroughly kicked was by Louisville, and he gets a pass on that one. But I’ll take a guy who finds a way to win 98% of the other times all day. Lets face it, JMU fans have become accustomed to blowing out opponents every week on the FCS level. FBS is a new level, these teams are good. Unless you’re a Georgia or a Michigan you can’t expect to blow out every opponent. These teams are good. Even in the Sun Belt. Cignetti has found a way to win in this environment. When JMU is down, I never doubt that Cignetti gives us the best chance to make the right adjustments and keep his players focused on winning. He’s proven that. It’s a well-discliplined team with a staff who knows how to adapt to what the opponent brings. And I think another edge is that Cignetti knows how to groom QBs, who are often the difference-makers in the games.

    Okay, that’s enough from the Curt Cignetti Publicity Department. Let’s reconvene after the results on Saturday.

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