James Madison is 6-0, riding high after the 30-8 win over Villanova on ESPN College GameDay as they head into this week's road game at William & Mary. Time for our JMU football experts to predict the Dukes' fate. [divider]
After a couple of challenges the past few weeks against national top 10 FCS defenses, the Dukes will be able to breathe a little bit this week and should have no problem disposing of W&M. The run game will find itself again after being shut down by a very strong Villanova run defense, and QB Bryan Schor won't have so much pressure on his shoulders. Again … nobody has scored more than 14 on JMU this year. Let that sink in.
JMU's conference games have followed a very similar script through three weeks. The Dukes have squared off against teams with solid defenses, but subpar offenses. Expect more of the same this week against a William & Mary team that scored as many points as I did last week. While I do think the Tribe get on the scoreboard this week, I don't think their solid defense will have enough to limit an explosive JMU offense for all four quarters.
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Lining up against defenses from Villanova, Delaware and Maine has made JMU's offense — particularly its run game — look a little more mortal over these past few weeks.
To be blunt, William & Mary doesn't have the athletes that those guys have. I expect this game will be decided before the fourth quarter.
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This weekend's matchup for top-ranked JMU should prove to be one of the easier games left on the Dukes road to repeating as National Champions. JMU heads to William and Mary this week where there are mismatches all over the field for the Dukes. Outside of a strong secondary, the Tribe don't have too many defensive pieces, and despite having played some teams tough this year, William and Mary don't stand a chance this weekend.
Defense does win championships in football, but you do need to be able to score points to win a game, and I don't believe anyone can move the ball effectively against this JMU defense, including W&M. I like the Dukes to roll in this one 38-3, with a strong perform on the ground from the JMU offense.
There is some “trap game” potential with this game as JMU is on the road against a pretty good defense and is coming off the excitement of College GameDay visiting Harrisonburg. I’m sure they will get a very good William & Mary effort and like all of their CAA games thus far, it’ll probably be a close game early on.
That being said, Mike Houston has done an excellent job so far of avoiding let down or trap games. His team is always ready to play. Plus, William and Mary is starting a freshman QB against one of the best defenses in the nation.
I think JMU may start a little slow, but will get a spark either from a defensive turnover or a big special team’s play. From there the Dukes roll.