JMU Football Roundtable: Will JMU Blow Out Old Dominion Again?

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin and Jack Fitzpatrick

The Dukes are a perfect 7-0, and we’re back to talk about their impressive win over Marshall and preview this week’s rivalry game with Old Dominion. JMU hosts Old Dominion at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, with the game airing on ESPNU. Is an 8-0 start in order?

This should be our best roundtable discussion yet, as we’re well-rested from the mini bye.

JMU controlled the game against Marshall. What impressed you the most with JMU’s performance?

Bennett: Honestly, the punting unit. Jalen Green and the defensive line were UNREAL, but Ryan Hanson deserves some love. He punted seven times, and all seven punts pinned Marshall inside their own 12. He pinned them inside the five on numerous occasions, a truly stellar showing from JMU’s punter and the team’s punt coverage unit. He put the defense in great spots all night. 

Jack: Bennett already praised Ryan Hanson and the punt team so I will shower love on the front four. The defensive line blew me away. That unit has been elite all season, but at times they have had some slow spots in games where the defensive line can’t generate pressure at a consistent clip. In large part, that is due to the injuries and slight lack of depth. However, the play against Marshall, on a short week, for all 60 minutes of game time was wildly impressive. Of course, capped off with a Jalen Green FIVE sack performance. 

Editor’s note: Thanks to Three Notch’d Brewing for their advertising support this season. Learn more about our Three Notch’d Homecoming giveaway promotion by visiting our Instagram.

Let’s check in on your record predictions. What record will JMU finish the season with?

Bennett: I’m going with 12-0. The Dukes are so, so good defensively, and the offense seems to be hitting its stride with Jordan McCloud excelling at quarterback. I think the Dukes are better than every remaining team on their schedule, even with a tough showdown at Georgia State looming on Nov. 4. I just don’t see JMU dropping a game the rest of the way. It’s a special team.

Jack: There is not a game on this schedule that JMU should lose the rest of the way. The Dukes will be favored by at least a touchdown in their remaining games against ODU, Georgia State, App State, Coastal, and UConn. The way that this team has been playing, and more importantly, evolving, makes me think that it may be the best Group of Five team by year’s end based on a variety of metrics. If the Dukes finish with more than one loss I will be slightly disappointed. But man, this season has been electric. I forgot what it was like to lose tbh. 

What’s the biggest key to JMU football’s Saturday showdown with 4-3 Old Dominion?

Bennett: I think for JMU, it’ll be the turnover battle. JMU’s pass rush has a notable advantage over an ODU team that allows more sacks than any other FBS program. The Dukes’ passing offense holds a large advantage over a weak ODU secondary. 

If the Dukes avoid turning it over several times – five turnovers kept an overmatched Utah State team close earlier this season – they should pull away from the Monarchs. Old Dominion is 3-0 this season when avoiding turnovers, but the Monarchs’ offense has proven to be turnover prone at times.

I think this has the potential to be a JMU blowout, similar to the Dukes’ 37-3 win a season ago. Look for the Dukes to record a strip sack this weekend.

Jack: For JMU to win this game the Dukes have to generate a pass rush and consistently get to Grant Wilson, or whoever is the QB for ODU. The Monarchs allow some of the most sacks this season, but over their last few games they have cleaned that up a tad. But this will be the most relentless and best front four that ODU has faced so far this season.

It is going to be a test. JMU has to make ODU fail it. If JMU can get to Grant Wilson and get him off his spot, the junior transfer from Fordham who has one of the worst EPA/Play numbers in the Sun Belt will make mistakes. 

What’s your score prediction for Saturday’s game?

Bennett: JMU defeats Old Dominion 37-10. I like JMU’s defense to control Old Dominion’s offense, and I anticipate the offense looking solid but settling for a few field goals. I think JMU wins comfortably, but leaves some room for improvement ahead of the Georgia State showdown. 

Jack: JMU wins 42-14. With two defensive touchdowns and the rushing attack finally getting over 150 total yards. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *