JMU football is 5-0 going into week 6 of the FCS season still riding a D1-best 17-game winning streak. Will the Delaware Blue Hens be the team to end it? Read on to find out what our James Madison experts have to say.
Delaware's defense looks stout under new head coach Danny Rocco. The Blue Hens limited Virginia Tech to just 303 total yards — the fewest the Hokies have put up this season by 166 yards. The defense is talented, but the Delaware offense is a work in progress, and beating JMU without a competent offense is nearly impossible.
Behind a big game from Bryan Schor, the Dukes will earn a 31-6 victory in their CAA road opener.
Newark is historically a tough place for JMU to play. Last year's beat-down in Harrisonburg notwithstanding, recent history in the Dukes-Dely Duel (trademarked!) actually leans toward the Fightin' Flaccos.
Delaware probably needs more than three or four games under Danny Rocco to officially be "back", but there's no doubt in my mind that this is the toughest game remaining on the schedule for the Dukes. Madison has to re-integrate key pieces returning to the field from suspension, while dealing with mounting injury concerns, while playing in a hostile environment against a coach who's had success coaching against JMU and a team smarting from a 43-20 drubbing last season.
I still think JMU gets it done on the road and reaches its bye week with a 5-0 record. In truth, I think the score doesn't end up as close as last week's Maine game, because I believe JMU matches up better with Delaware than it does against Maine. But a game at a sneaky Delaware team makes me think that JMU has a chance at lose this thing on Saturday, and that's the first time I've genuinely thought that since the Fargo Dome.
JMU beat Maine by 18 points last week, but it wasn't as convincing a win as many hoped. I think this game against Delaware will be a statement game for the Dukes. The relentless running game of JMU will keep the ball out of the hands of Delaware, which will in turn keep the Dukes’ defense fresh and off the field.
Delaware’s defense is no joke, and head coach of the Blue Hens, Danny Rocco, has had JMU’s number before while coaching at Richmond. That being said, I think the physicality JMU plays with on defense will hold Delaware’s offense to a minimum, while the Dukes’ offense will wear down a tough Delaware defense with its mixture of hard nose, ground-and-pound football and elite QB play. I like JMU on the road this week at Delaware.
Two years ago, James Madison had ESPN College GameDay in town and was riding high, and a Danny Rocco led Richmond team knocked the Dukes off. Rocco knows how to build a program, and will have Delaware rocking within time. Are the Blue Hens there yet? Well, probably not — it's early, and JMU is loaded and full of momentum. Look for this one to be similar to last week with Maine — it'll be interesting for a half, then the Dukes will pull away. This is easily one of the toughest games on the schedule this regular season for JMU.
It’s Delaware week! I grew up in South Jersey, and know a lot of people who attended Delaware. So I personally don’t want to see JMU’s winning streak come to an end this weekend. Two things particularly worry me about this game. The first is that Danny Rocco is a really good coach and will definitely have the Blue Hens ready to play. My second concern is that for the second time in as many weeks, the Dukes will face a team coming off a bye.
Additionally, we haven’t seen JMU play on the road since the first game of the season at ECU, but I doubt that’ll be a major factor since JMU has proved to be an excellent road team under Coach Houston.
With all that in mind, I’m sure Delaware will come out fired up, looking to get off to a quick start against JMU. These teams have traded a few upsets when the opposing team comes into a game ranked No. 1, and I’m betting the Blue Hens are confident they can do it again. I expect a defensive battle early. The results will depend on which team can stick to its game plan while also avoiding turnovers. Here’s where JMU’s experience should pay off. I predict JMU will impose its will by the second half and will pull away for the win.