Nov 3 / Todd

JMU at Georgia State: Official JMUSB Game #9 Preview

The Basics

Matchup: #23 JMU Dukes (8-0, 5-0 Sun Belt) at Georgia St. Panthers (6-2, 3-2 Sun Belt)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. EDT, Center Parc Stadium (Turner Field), Atlanta, Georgia

Weather: 64, Sunny

Broadcast: ESPN2

Boys in the Desert: JMU -5.5, O/U 54.5

How We Got Here

The Dukes survived an outstanding performance from rival ODU to maintain their perfect record. Even with all the noise around postseason issues, the Dukes themselves seem locked on just going 1-0.

Georgia State is another weird, somewhat inconsistent team. They were 6-1 and heading to their “semi” rival Georgia Southern (despite the Panthers success lately in the matchup, they’re unquestionably not Southern’s biggest rival so it’s a weird thing) for a big Thursday showcase matchup last week. They laid an egg in the first half, trailing 34-7 at one point. The Panthers made it a game after the half before throwing a hideus pick-six to erase their shot at a comeback. Georgia State’s other loss this year was a beatdown at home by Troy at the tail end of September. But they’ve beaten the Cajuns in a game they almost choked away, really ran it up on Marshall, won at Coastal back before the Chants’ turnaround, and won forgettable games early against Charlotte, UConn, and Rhode Island. Notably, they hung on in that first game against our old friends from Rhode-I thanks to one of the worst officiating blunders of the college season.

How Georgia St. Can Win

Replicate what ODU did spreading the Dukes out on D and make no mistakes. Last year Georgia St. jumped all over the Dukes in the first half but that was almost entirely JMU’s fault (two fumble return TD’s and another fumble on a kickoff that handed them 17 points) rather than something special from the Panthers. They can’t count on that to happen again this week, but the Panther’s still have studs at the skill positions and will almost certainly attempt to follow ODU’s gameplan from last week to find space for QB Darren Grainger and company.

Defensively, the Panthers HAVE to find a way to take advantage of JMU’s changes along the line and get pressure on McCloud. He had all day to throw last week and ODU’s secondary is way more consistent than Georgia State’s. Despite his fumble-six, Centeio threw it all over the yard last year running up 42 points. The Panthers need to speed Jordan up this year while maintaining their usually strong performance against the the run.

How JMU Can Win

Close faster on short passes defensively and whip asses up front offensively. ODU QB Grant Wilson was a bit of a surprise with how well he threw the ball last week, particularly to the sidelines on the short throws. Grainger is a much different proposition. On one hand, he’s absolutely more dangerous running (along with pretty outstaning back Marcus Carroll) if they can spread JMU into just a 6 or 7 man box. But after all this time as one of the SBC’s best players, he’s still inconsistent throwing the ball. The arm talent is there but you don’t have to look further than last year’s second half against the Dukes or last week’s game at Southern to know he still misses things at times. He also relies more on clear WR1 Ronald Lewis at times instead of taking what the defense really gives him. In a weird way, ODU’s lack of top-end skill position talent made this easier for them. This week the Dukes need to limit that short passing game to 3 yard catches rather than 7 or 8 like last week and wait for the opportunities on occassional bad throws.

On offense it’s a little tougher to figure out. Georgia St. is reasonably solid against the run and JMU prefers to throw anyways, but with a reshuffled OLine (again) and a Georgia St. team that will screw up eventually if you allow them to, we have to think the Dukes will simplify things a bit and try to grind on the ground. Our guess is we even see Latrele return to the fold this week.

JMUSB Beer of the Week

Terrapin Beer Company Wake-n-Bake Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout – At least for those of us watching from the Commonwealth, it’s finally gotten cold enough for stouts! Big game requires a big beer so what’s better than one of the true OG’s of the Southern craft scene, plus it’ll wake you up during nearly infinite ESPN2 game experience.

Official JMUSB Prediction

JMU 35, Georgia St. 17 – The Dukes aren’t quite as high-flying as last year, but they aren’t going to implode in this matchup like they almost did last year and Jalen Green and the boys are going to be all over Grainger.

One Comment

leave a comment
  1. CJ / Nov 3 2023

    This could be a tough one. Makes me wary that this could be the first loss to bring us down to reality. But you never know. With two talented teams it could come down to coaching. In that case we clearly have the edge.

    And on the subject of coaching, let me continue to be the Debbie Downer you all know and love. With all the national attention we’ve gained with our performance this season…Curt Cignetti must be in the national coaching limelight right now. And how soon will it be before he catches the eye of another major program who makes an offer to double/ triple his salary to come and work his magic somewhere else. I know I know, Cignetti is kind of a local guy, he’s happy and content where he is…but let’s face it, money talks and everyone has their price. May sound like crazy talk that you guys will immediately dismiss, but just wanted to raise the idea for the one or two guys who read my comments.

    Other than that, hoping for the best this Saturday but at the FBS level it’s really anyone’s call.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: