gbupic

JMU football celebrates a touchdown against Morehead State.

Halfway through JMU football’s matchup against Weber State, there’s a lot to unpack. The Dukes lead 17-3 halfway through their first away game, and with two more quarters to play, anything can still happen in this game. 

The good: Josh Sarratt’s fumble recovery

In the biggest defensive moment of the half, redshirt sophomore safety Josh Sarratt took advantage of a fumble, recovered it and ran 88 yards for a touchdown. The moment couldn’t have come at a better time for the Dukes, with Weber State knocking on the door on the 6-yard line.

JMU saw what the Wildcats could do early offensively, but Weber State couldn’t connect. The closest moment since the opening field goal came after two combined penalties on JMU — but a tie game wasn’t what Sarratt had in store.

Sarratt made his first few tackles against Maine, but this moment marked the biggest play he’s made this season. 

The bad: JMU’s run game

Seventeen points at halftime is a seemingly normal statistic for JMU. However, JMU’s offense hasn’t seen the running game succeed as expected. Weber State studied how the Dukes rely on running the ball, but JMU still could fix its rushing performance. 

Redshirt freshman running back Kaelon Black has had a few carries so far, including a deep kickoff return to start JMU’s drive. Unfortunately, Black was injured just before halftime and was helped off the field by athletic trainers. 

JMU knows there’s running back depth, and as it learns what Weber State’s defense has in mind, it should make the right adjustments to get more than 28 rushing yards. The Dukes should utilize redshirt freshman Austin Douglas more to fill in the hole while Black rests.

The ugly: more penalties (again)

The biggest emphasis from Cignetti and the players heading into the game was to lower the amount of penalties. However, the Dukes haven’t made a lot of progress there, so far. 

Although not every penalty was against JMU, the Dukes were the culprit of too many. The biggest came when a holding and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty were combined against JMU to put Weber State on the 6-yard line. Sarratt reversed its effects when he ran 88 yards on a fumble recovery to put JMU at a 17-3 lead.

Regardless of the touchdown, JMU has errors that need to be adjusted. It was a slower half for the Dukes than expected, and while JMU has the momentum, there needs to be an increase in attention to details if the Dukes want another dominant win. 

Contact Madison Hricik at breezesports@gmail.com. For more football coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.