No. 8 West Virginia set for capital showdown vs. James Madison
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 07:09
Saturday’s matchup between West Virginia and James Madison is only the second time the two teams have met. A closer look at the statistics shows the two teams from neighboring states have one thing in common – a strong offensive attack.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Isaiah Bruce sees a lot of challenges in the Dukes’ offensive personnel.
"They are a good team. They have athletes and playmakers. They are just as capable of winning as any other team. You can’t underestimate your opponents, because they can beat anybody," he said.
"(They have) a lot of speed. Their quarterback is good. Their running back is good. They like to go to their tight end a lot. If we lock down those certain people, then we are going to have a pretty good chance of winning the game."
The Dukes are averaging 511.5 yards of offense per game – No. 8 among FCS teams. James Madison (2-0) is averaging 304 yards on the ground and more than 48 points per game.
Junior running back Dae’Quan Scott, who rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the Dukes’ 42-3 win over Alcorn State last week, is in questionable condition after suffering an ankle injury in the win.
Redshirt senior quarterback Justin Thorpe has compiled a 13-5 record as a starter and has played well as of late. This season, Thorpe has completed 29 of 45 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns.
Redshirt junior defensive lineman Will Clarke sees Thorpe and James Madison as a talented duo, and he said the Mountaineers will need to play hard the entire game.
"They have a very skilled offense. Their quarterback is a very skilled runner and passer (and) their offensive line is good. They have athletes – it’s going to be a good task for us," he said.
"We need to work on playing with intensity the whole game. Even if you look up at the scoreboard and see your team is up by a certain amount of points, you still have to play hard; we can’t let up."
The game is set for a 4:30 p.m. kickoff at FedEx Field – home to the Washington Redskins – in Landover, Md. Playing near Washington D.C. is something that head coach Dana Holgorsen sees as a bonus.
"It is important to us to have a presence over (in the Washington, D.C. area). It is important too, recruiting-wise," he said.
"It is important to the 20 or so kids from that area. Oliver (Luck) and (WVU president James P.) Clements have looked at it as important; we have switched conferences and will be playing a lot of games in the Southwest and Midwest, so this is important for us."
Holgorsen said the game with James Madison is a great opportunity for West Virginia to improve on the technique it has been practicing during the past two weeks.
"It is going to be a challenge for us coaches, and it is going to be a challenge for the players. We would like to get better on all three sides of the ball, and this game will give us a chance to do that against a good, quality football team," he said.