After last week's 34-14 win at East Carolina, our JMU football experts all started the season with the same record as the Dukes — 1-0. All five picked the Dukes to win, but Brian McLaughlin came the closest on the score prediction. He only missed the final tally by a total of four points (he predicted 35-17).
Who do they like this week? Read on to find out:
I had some well-founded concerns about JMU during last week's prediction. I mean, I thought they would win, but I didn't think it was going to look like that. It's safe to say my concerns have been alleviated.
Look, there’s not much analysis required here. East Tennessee State is improved, but it has no chance against the Dukes. It’s the home opener. The team will be fired up after a national championship ceremony. The JMU mob will be out in force. Hopefully, nobody pees in my driveway.
Dukes over Swashbucklers for a second straight week.
The last time JMU played in Bridgeforth Stadium it beat Sam Houston State 65-7. The Dukes won their home games by an average of 44.4 points per game last season. East Tennessee State comes to Harrisonburg in just its third season playing games after a 13-year hiatus. Expect JMU to cruise to a victory in its home opener.
Coming off their sixth ever win against an FBS opponent, the Dukes of James Madison are looking to stay hot against the recently revived East Tennessee State University Buccaneers. JMU’s running game was spectacular last week thanks to Cardon Johnson, who rushed for 265 yards (including two 80-plus yard touchdown runs) and transfer RB Marcus Marshall, who broke off a 70-yard TD run of his own. The ground game will once again be the main focus of the offense this week as the Dukes will look to set the tone early in their home opener by establishing the run.
I also expect to see QB Bryan Schor throw the ball more aggressively in week two, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see him take more shots deep down field this week. Schor played smart last week going up against a next-level secondary, and though ETSU is an up-and-coming program in the FCS, the match up between their secondary and the JMU receiving corps favors the Dukes.
This game is leaning towards the top-ranked Dukes and with good reason, but if JMU takes the Buccaneers too lightly, the defending national champs could get into some trouble. Fortunately for JMU fans, Coach Houston knows how to get his teams prepared for a game, no matter who they're playing.
I’m picking the Dukes of JMU this week to beat ETSU.
I have to admit, I didn't know much about East Tennessee State until I sat down to write this preview, and I don’t know that there is much I can gleam from last week’s game against Limestone. That being said, I’m not sure it really matters because JMU playing its first game at home since winning the national championship should be sufficiently hyped to win this game. I imagine it will be a loud, packed house and that JMU will come ready to play.
As for actual insight into this game, ETSU gave up 193 rushing yards on 4.2 yards per carry against a D2 school with the admittedly awesome nickname of the Saint Bernards. I imagine the Dukes will have little trouble getting its running game rolling against ETSU and that ought to be enough of an advantage for the Dukes to pick up the win.
That being said, ETSU, coming from the Southern Conference, is unlikely to be intimidated by the Dukes and can certainly give them a fight if JMU isn’t sharp.
With that in mind, I’m picking the Dukes to roll.