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Archive For The “James Madison” Category

My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 4: 9/28/2015

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My FCS Top 25 Vote, Week 4: 9/28/2015

If you’d like, you can check out my FCS Top 25 vote below.

I don’t ordinarily do do two things with my poll that I actually did this week:

1. I usually don’t demote a team completely out of the Top 25 if they’re a Top 5 team and they lose.

2. I usually don’t demote a team from the No. 1 slot if they win their game.

But that’s exactly what I did, after I looked at my poll with a fresh new set of eyes after some of the more interesting outcomes from the weekend.

I’d been meaning to demote Villanova for some time, not only due to their sort-of lackluster performance over the beginning of the season, but for their seemingly lackluster play going back to last season when Sam Houston upset them in the FCS Round of 8 last season.  I was looking for a dominant performance against the worst team on their schedule, Penn, and instead the Quakers upset the Wildcats 24-13.

You could argue that they were getting things done with defense.  You could have said that with the loss of their Walter Payton Award-nominated quaterback, QB John Robertson, they’d suffer.  But the team that lost this past Thursday, simply, wasn’t a Top 25 team in my opinion.  The confluence of all these factors had me dip them out of the Top 25 entirely.

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Princeton, 9/26/2015

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Game Preview, Lehigh at Princeton, 9/26/2015

Rarely are scouting opportunities so accessible.

Shortly after Lehigh beat Penn last weekend, there was an opportunity for a Patriot/Ivy doubleheader for FCS football mavens, and a chance for Lehigh football fans to get a sneak peek at next week’s competition.

What they saw couldn’t have made any Mountain Hawk fan breathe easy.

What they saw was a dominating performance by the Tigers, a 40-7 walloping that had local sportswriters like Brad Wilson of the Express-Times dig down deep to describe the depth of the blowout.  “If Frank Tavani had seen Saturday’s train wreck of a 40-7 loss to Princeton by his Lafayette football team coming,” he wrote, “he’d have done everything in his power to derail the Leopard Express from proceeding down the track to Disaster City.”

In Wilson’s defense, the depth of the completeness of the win over Lafayette was hard to adequately describe.  Princeton only allowed six first downs in the first half, and only let up a meaningless touchdown with five minutes to play to allow Lafayette to avoid a shutout.  On offense, Princeton would rack up 573 yards of offense, including more than 300 on the ground, against what was thought to be Lafayette’s strength this season, the defense.  Special teams?  Princeton 2/2 on field goals.  Lafayette 0/1.

Based on this great statistical performance, and watching the replay, what to make of Lehigh’s chances against the same squad this weekend that seemed as dominant as the national championship Princeton football teams of 100 years ago?

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James Madison’s Onsides Kick Up 31 Can Help Lehigh Have A Successful Season

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James Madison’s Onsides Kick Up 31 Can Help Lehigh Have A Successful Season

When James Madison head coach Everett Withers was asked about attempting an onsides kick against Lehigh while up 31 points, he made the simple observation that the opportunity was there for the taking.

At home, watching the game streamed live to my big TV screen, I won’t lie – I was furious.

After thinking about it a day, though, maybe I should be thanking him.

For coach Withers may not have meant it in this way, but the key to a successful season for Lehigh in 2015 may have been that onsides kick – what it meant, what it showed, and how this football team can take that moment going forward.

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Mountain Hawks Crushed Under James Madison Tidal Wave, 55-17

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Mountain Hawks Crushed Under James Madison Tidal Wave, 55-17

It was still very much a game after the first quarter.

After James Madison took their opening drive and drove 72 yards in 8 plays to go up 7-0, Lehigh responded with a perfectly-executed pass from junior QB Nick Shafnisky to freshman RB Dominic Bragalone over the middle, where the speedy running back from South Williamsport, PA showed a burst of speed, outracing the entire James Madison secondary to tie the game at seven.

They absorbed the Dukes’ first wave of offense, and showed a sign that they might be able to get into a shootout with James Madison.

But in short order, the Dukes offense, pelting the Lehigh defense in waves, proved to be overwhelming.

Buoyed by 334 yards passing by QB Vad Lee, 286 yards rushing by a bevy of backs and a big special teams play converted into a touchdown, the Dukes scored 31 unanswered points in about a 14 minute span in the second quarter to overwhelm the Mountain Hawks.
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Mountain Hawks Crushed Under James Madison Tidal Wave, 55-17

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Mountain Hawks Crushed Under James Madison Tidal Wave, 55-17

It was still very much a game after the first quarter.

After James Madison took their opening drive and drove 72 yards in 8 plays to go up 7-0, Lehigh responded with a perfectly-executed pass from junior QB Nick Shafnisky to freshman RB Dominic Bragalone over the middle, where the speedy running back from South Williamsport, PA showed a burst of speed, outracing the entire James Madison secondary to tie the game at seven.

They absorbed the Dukes’ first wave of offense, and showed a sign that they might be able to get into a shootout with James Madison.

But in short order, the Dukes offense, pelting the Lehigh defense in waves, proved to be overwhelming.

Buoyed by 334 yards passing by QB Vad Lee, 286 yards rushing by a bevy of backs and a big special teams play converted into a touchdown, the Dukes scored 31 unanswered points in about a 14 minute span in the second quarter to overwhelm the Mountain Hawks.
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How To Catch Lehigh/JMU If You’re Not In Virginia

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How To Catch Lehigh/JMU If You’re Not In Virginia

Short and sweet.  Live video of the game from JMU (including a JMU pregame show) is available here:http://portal.stretchinternet.com/jmu/Everyone’s favorite radio call will be available here from Matt Markus:http://www.espnlv.com/That’s how I’ll b…

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Game Breakdown: Lehigh at James Madison, 9/12/2015

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Game Breakdown: Lehigh at James Madison, 9/12/2015

We break down the James Madison game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.

This will be the Dukes’ second game of the season, after last week’s shellacking of non-scholarship Morehead State, 56-7.

They never really took their foot off the gas.

The Dukes racked up a school-record 713 yards against the hapless Eagles, including three position players rushing for over 100 yards.  Morehead State only turned over the ball twice, but the frenetic-pace-of-play Dukes still managed to execute 90 plays on offense and probably could have gotten up to 100 plays had they not relented just a little in the 4th quarter.

It’s not enough for Lehigh to hold James Madison to less than 713 yards in order to have a chance.  They’ll need to do more.

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Game Preview, Lehigh at James Madison, 9/12/2015

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Game Preview, Lehigh at James Madison, 9/12/2015

“We told the kids to go in and watch the tape from a year ago,” head coach Andy Coen said in this week’s preview of the James Madison game from The Morning Call.   “We probably should have won the game. We missed three field goals. That was the difference. We had a great opportunity to beat them.”

There was a lot of frustration in last years’ 3-8 season for the Mountain Hawks, but the 27-24 opening weekend loss was probably the second most frustrating.

Let’s be blunt; Lehigh had James Madison on the ropes.

Whether the Dukes were in the middle of a letdown after their 52-7 loss to Maryland the weekend before, whether their talented team wasn’t ready for Lehigh’s best shot, whether the Mountain Hawks played the games of their lives, it didn’t really matter.  With just about 12 minutes left, Lehigh had the ball at midfield, up by 4 on James Madison and the opportunity of opportunities to put the game away.

Two penalties, a punt and 98 James Madison yards later, the Dukes would take the lead and never give it back.
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Know Your 2015 Opponents: James Madison (And The CAA)

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Know Your 2015 Opponents: James Madison (And The CAA)

In a typical Lehigh football season, there is one early “stretch game” that tests the Mountain Hawks in regards to their potential stature in thw wider FCS world.

There’s little question that Lehigh’s trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia is going to be that test.

Last year, first year head coach Everett Withers guided the Dukes, whose fan base expects FCS playoff appearances and deep playoff runs, probably exceeded expectations, going 9-4 and making the playoffs in his first year as James Madison head coach.

In 2015, the Dukes will be in an unfamiliar place – living up to the expectations.
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Virginia Bill to Micromanage Athletics Funding Hurts Smaller Schools

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Virginia Bill to Micromanage Athletics Funding Hurts Smaller Schools
James Madison vs. Virigina Tech (HamptonRoads.com)

This article from the Virginian Pilot-Online might have escaped your attention, but it could be something that has deep-ranging effects on collegiate athletics.

While the bill only affects schools in Virginia, if other state houses take up similar legislation across the country, it could deeply impact and potentially hurt smaller public universities across the country.

The article, written by Harry Minium, says it like this:

Old Dominion, Norfolk State and many other state schools will have to depend more on fundraising and ticket sales and less on student fees to fund their athletic budgets under a bill signed into law by Gov. Terry McAuliffe Sunday night. 

McAuliffe signed HB 1897 without any amendments. The bill, sponsored by Del. Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, sets limits on the percentage of athletic budgets that can be funded through student fees. 

“I am very happy to see that Governor signed the bill,” said Cox, the House Majority Leader. 

Cox said he introduced HB 1897 to try to slow the increase in student athletic fees, which he said has been one of the major drivers behind a 122 percent increase in tuition and fees since 2002.

At first glance, this bill might seem to have a worthy goal – an attempt to halt the reliance on certain public institutions on reliance on soaking students in order to fund their athletics departments.  Look at the bill more closely, though, and you start to wonder if that was the intent of the legislation at all.
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