Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications
By Bennett Conlin
Never a doubt! Well, except for most of the game, which wasn’t just filled with doubt.
Frustration and concern accurately describe the feelings of many fans as JMU fell down 28-3 to App State. Why were the Dukes self destructing? I asked myself that question dozens of times during the first half.
How was I so wrong predicting JMU to win 31-28 (patience, young grasshopper) on the road against this App State team? They beat Texas A&M, Bennett. All JMU did was beat Middle Tennessee (maybe a playoff team, folks) and Norfolk State!
JMU isn’t ready for this stage, I thought. They’re better than this, but App State is a level above JMU. That’s the logical explanation, right?
Maybe not. After a horrendous start for JMU, the game delivered the most joy I’ve ever experienced while watching a JMU football game.
Comeback for the ages
JMU outscored App State 29-0 after trailing 28-3. The Dukes won 32-28, and just about everything went their way in the final half of the game.
Todd Centeio started hitting passes and making clutch runs. Reggie Brown made huge plays at wide receiver. Terrance Green Jr. caught a 36-yard touchdown pass, showcasing the big-play ability we all hoped he’d show after transferring from Monmouth. Kaelon Black was a star at running back, filling in admirably for Percy Agyei-Obese.
Jailin Walker, who became a starter with standout linebacker Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey left for Texas, intercepted Chase Brice and set up the go-ahead touchdown. Jamare Edwards, a Marshall transfer, was unstoppable at times along the defensive line.
It was perfect.
The Dukes erased their mistakes. The sloppy fumbles. The missed 27-yard field goal. Who remembers those?
JMU put together an incredible finish, flipping the game on its head.
Class of the Sun Belt?
JMU just defeated the consistent class of the Sun Belt in App State’s stadium. Sooo are the Dukes now the class of the Sun Belt??
Ask me next week. I don’t care.
JMU just took down App State on the road despite trailing 28-3. I listened to a biased announcing crew blabber about the lack of drama, only to watch their team collapse while the Dukes went wild.
I went from thinking, “Wow, this game could be close” to “Oh my god. They’re going to win.” It’s a game I’ll fondly remember for the rest of my life, with dozens of incredible plays that led to the victory.
It’s a massive win for JMU. The Dukes can make a case they should be ranked (!!!) in the AP top 25 after Middle Tennessee beat Miami. JMU’s resume is good. Hell, the Dukes are good. The future is bright. The present is bright.
This is incredible. The Dukes were done … and then they weren’t.
Isn’t this a terrific time to be a DUKE!!!!
JMU Football! YES!