As WVU heads to FedEx Field to take on JMU this weekend, I thought it’d be interesting look at JMU’s recent history against FBS teams and WVU’s recent history against FCS teams.
Sep, 3, 2011; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Dwight Jones (83) celebrates with quarterback Bryn Renner (2) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels defeated the Dukes 42-10 at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
JMU has played 6 games against FBS teams since 2000, and they are 1-5 in these matchups. The first four of these matchups weren’t very close games, but JMU’s last two games against FBS teams have been competitive.
In 2009, JMU traveled to College Park to take on Maryland, who were only 10 point favorites in the game. Maryland took a 21-14 lead into halftime, but JMU owned the third quarter, driving the field for a touchdown to tie the game and then returning an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to take the lead. Maryland tied it up in the 4th quarter and then traded touchdowns with JMU and the game went to overtime tied at 35. Maryland took advantage of a missed 41 yard field goal to kick one of their own and win the game. JMU outgained Maryland 417 – 359 however, and probably should have won the game.
JMU made history in 2010. They traveled to Blacksburg to take on 13th ranked and 35 point favorite VT. VT struggled throughout the game but held a slim lead until the final 5 minutes of the game, when JMU scored to take a 21-16 lead that it would never surrender. VT was plagued by sloppy play throughout the game, and JMU took advantage and won the game, despite being outgained 362-235.
JMU’s recent success definitely demonstrates that they are capable of competing with FBS schools.
WVU is 9-0 in games against FCS teams since 2000. While the overwhelming majority of WVU’s games against FCS teams have gone as intended (blowout victories), we have had some scares, both in the past 3 seasons:
Liberty came to Morgantown in 2009. WVU’s offense struggled the whole game, especially in the second half. WVU took a 23-10 lead into halftime, but they consistently had trouble getting the ball into the endzone, settling for field goals three times. Usually in games like this, a lackluster first half performance is followed by a lights out second half, but that wasn’t the case on this day, as WVU managed only one touchdown and another field goal in the second half. We won 33-20, but it was anything but impressive.
Last season, Norfolk State came to Morgantown. WVU’s new offense, led by Dana Holgorsen, got off to a very slow start in the second game of the season. WVU was held scoreless in the first quarter and only managed 10 points in the second quarter. Norfolk State managed 4 field goals in the first half and took a 12-10 lead into halftime. That might have been the most embarassing half of football I’ve ever seen. Luckily though, Holgorsen lit a fire under the offense and they put up 45 points in the second half and cruised to a 55-12 victory,
WVU and JMU met in Morgantown in 2004. WVU got off to rather slow start in this game as well and scored no points in the first quarter. The offense quickly recovered and put up 21 points in the second quarter as WVU cruised to a 45 – 10 victory.
This season, JMU comes into FedEx Field with a 2-0 record and a #5 ranking in FCS. As they have demonstrated in their previous two games against FBS teams, they are more than capable of making FBS teams pay if they don’t bring their A-game. JMU has an added advantage that this is a neutral site matchup which should feature a sizable contingent of JMU fans. JMU beat the last FBS team they played, and WVU went into halftime down against the last FCS team it played. Anything is possible, people. This game sure isn’t a guarantee.
Bottom line: Don’t sleep on JMU.