JMU Football 2023 Season Prediction

Image courtesy of Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin and Jack Fitzpatrick

Thankfully, the wait until JMU football begins its 2023 season is almost over. Sadly, it’s not quite over yet.

As we wait, let’s break down JMU football’s 2023 schedule and predict results. I (Bennett) handle the first six predictions, while Jack predicts the final six contests of the fall.

Bucknell, Sept. 2

This is a glorified scrimmage. Bucknell was picked to finish at the bottom of the Patriot League, and the team went 3-8 in 2022 with a 41-0 loss to Central Michigan. In 2021, the team went 1-10 and lost to Army 63-10.

It will be concerning if JMU doesn’t win this game by at least 30 points.

Prediction: JMU 59, Bucknell 7

At Virginia, Sept. 9

For the first time in 40 years, the Dukes get a chance against UVA.

I simply think JMU has the better football team. I like the Dukes’ offensive line more than Virginia’s, which should help neutralize UVA’s biggest strength (defensive line). I think there’s a case to be made that JMU has the better head coach, too.

JMU fans in attendance, and there will be thousands of them, should have plenty to cheer about on Sept. 9.

Prediction: JMU 24, UVA 17

At Troy, Sept. 16

The Trojans were 6-1 in one-possession games last season. Is that sustainable? I believe Troy has one of the best teams in the Sun Belt, I also believe they’re going to drop a couple games this season.

JMU will be one of the teams to take down the Trojans. After this win, JMU grabs a spot in the AP Top 25.

Prediction: JMU 28, Troy 24

At Utah State, Sept. 23

I’m not that high on Utah State, but the trip out West is a challenge. Still, I think JMU’s talent and coaching prevail and result in a third-consecutive road win.

Prediction: JMU 35, Utah State 17

South Alabama, Sept. 30

The Jaguars return starting quarterback Carter Bradley as well as their top six tacklers from 2022. The offense should be strong, and the defense should be stout. South Alabama, on paper, looks elite.

By this time in the season, the Jaguars will have played at Tulane and Oklahoma State. Playing in Harrisonburg, even if the Dukes are undefeated, won’t be intimidating.

Prediction: South Alabama 31, JMU 24

Georgia Southern, Oct. 14

Last season, Georgia Southern torched JMU’s secondary. With a bye week to prepare this time around, I think JMU’s defense devises a better plan to slow down Clay Helton’s team.

On defense, Georgia Southern looks suspect. JMU should score in bunches.

Prediction: JMU 41, Georgia Southern 21

At Marshall, Oct. 19

The Dukes probably feel as if they let this game get away from them last season. We don’t have to rehash it, we remember what happened. This will be the first time JMU goes to Huntington, W.Va since 1994 and will be just the fourth all-time meeting between these two programs. JMU is still hunting for win No. 1 and they get it on October 19.

Prediction: JMU 21, Marshall 17

Old Dominion, Oct. 28

The game last season at ODU wasn’t particularly close. Despite ODU having the Sun Belt preseason Defensive Player of the Year, the Monarchs were still picked to finish last in the preseason poll. This is a Monarchs team that is not supposed to be good and having this game at Bridgeforth may make it ugly.

Prediction: JMU 55, ODU 3

At Georgia State, Nov. 4

Georgia State sure made it interesting last season. The Dukes, at home, eeked out a 42-40 win. The Panthers were helped by some JMU special teams mistakes but QB Darren Grainger & Co. really took advantage of opportunities and were one of just two teams to hang 40 or more points on JMU. With the Dukes heading to Atlanta for this game and Georgia State having a good amount of offensive starters back I think the Panthers get revenge.

Prediction: JMU 30, Georgia State 35

UConn, Nov. 11

UConn shocked some people by winning six games last season, including one over No. 19 Liberty. This Huskies team should be better this season as they return the leading rusher and QB1 as both enter their Sophomore season however I don’t believe an offense that was outscored by 7 points on average can improve that much and steal a win in Bridgeforth.

Prediction: JMU 37, UConn 21

App State, Nov. 18

These last two weeks are tough for JMU and I believe going 1-1 is a win. This is the more winable game.

App State returns Nate Noel, the leading rusher from a year ago but the Mountaineers lost QB Chase Brice. The favorite to be starting this game is Ryan Burger who comes into 2023 having thrown six career passes. Now a lot happens between September and November but Bridgeforth will be rocking for this game (probably because Bennett and I will be there) but the only other great road test Burger will have is at UNC. The moment might be too big.

Prediction: JMU 34, App State 24

At Coastal Carolina, Nov. 25

JMU beat down Coastal last season. But that was a game where the Chanticleers head coach had a foot out the door and they were without one of the best QBs in the Sun Belt. Assuming an injury bug doesn’t bite QB Grayson McCall again, this Coastal team will be looking for revenge and likely playing for a spot in the Sun Belt Championship.

Prediction: JMU 28, Coastal Carolina 35

2023 Record: 9-3

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