JMU Football Three Notch’d Game Preview: Dukes Can Move to 10-0 with Win Over UConn

Of the three remaining games on JMU football’s regular-season schedule, Saturday’s game against UConn is the easiest matchup on paper. The Huskies, who have hung close at times this year, are just 1-8. They’ve struggled to turn respectable showings into victories, and they’ve been blown out on a few occasions.

For a JMU team seemingly playing its best football of the year, Saturday is an ideal chance to move to 10-0. 

Saturday’s weather 

It’ll feel more like a November game than recent weeks, with a high of 58 degrees. Winds are expected to be minimal, and the forecast calls for a mix of clouds and sun. 

Overall, it’s not a bad day to watch football, although fans might need to bundle up a little more than previous weekends. 

Editor’s note: Thanks to Three Notch’d Brewing for their advertising support this season.

How to watch 

The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

If you want to listen to the radio broadcast and are in Harrisonburg, tune in to WSVA 550 AM or 92.1 FM. You can stream the radio broadcast online at WSVAOnline.com and on your phone with the The Varsity Network app.

Getting to know UConn

Record: 1-8

Head coach: Jim Mora, who is 7-15 at UConn and 53-45 overall as a college head coach. Mora went 31-33 as an NFL head coach, leading both the Falcons and Seahawks. He’s about as experienced and seasoned a head coach as you’ll find at the Group of Five level, and his resume exceeds UConn’s annual football expectations. 

Still, after a 6-6 season last year, the Huskies have struggled to find the same level of success in 2023. It’s hard to win at UConn, and Mora’s NFL days weren’t exactly filled with wins. 

Key contributors: Ta’Quan Roberson has been up and down at quarterback after replacing Maine transfer Joe Fagnano, who suffered a season-ending injury early in the season. Roberson has eight touchdown passes compared to five interceptions, and he hasn’t been much of a threat on the ground.

Victor Rosa is a name to monitor, as the running back is arguably UConn’s best offensive player, but he’s been dealing with an ankle injury. He’s dangerous when healthy and ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries against N.C. State. 

Three UConn receivers have at least 30 catches for 300+ yards, as the Huskies spread the wealth in the passing attack. Justin Joly caught eight passes for 89 yards against Tennessee, while Delaware transfer Brett Buckman caught six passes for 55 yards. Buckman received an offer from JMU while in the portal this offseason. 

Linebacker Jackson Mitchell leads the team with 89 tackles, and defensive lineman Pryce Yates has a team-best 3.5 sacks. 

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What to expect

JMU should win Saturday, and the Dukes should probably do so by 10+ points. I won’t say that anything less than a double-digit win is alarming, but it would be a shock to see the game tight in the fourth quarter. 

UConn has hung tough in some games this year, including nearly upsetting Boston College on the road in a 21-14 loss, but the Huskies are limited offensively and lack defensive consistency. Their passing defense is suspect, which should lead to another big game from Jordan McCloud and company. 

For the Dukes, Saturday is a chance to blow out an opponent. UConn isn’t the worst team at the FBS level, but the Huskies are close to the bottom. Expect a comfortable JMU victory this weekend.

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