keys to the game jmu faces fbs darling appalachian state in road opener on saturday
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Keys to the Game: JMU faces FBS darling Appalachian State in road opener on Saturday

jmu football
(© Steve Heap – Steve Jacobson)

JMU will face its toughest test of the season when the Dukes travel to face Appalachian State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Dukes (2-0) have wins over Middle Tennessee State and Norfolk State and enter this contest after a bye week, getting two weeks to prepare for one of the most talked about teams in the country. This will be JMU’s first ever Sun Belt Conference game.

Where to watch?

The game will air on ESPN+.

What to know about JMU

The Dukes’ offense is rolling. They’ve got two players averaging over 6.0 yards per carry, and one of them is quarterback Todd Centeio. But through the air is where he’s shined the most. Through two games, he is 33 of 50 for 452 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s going to need to limit the turnovers, which he has so far, to put the Dukes in position to win the game. His ability to run the ball and keep the defense off balance will be crucial. Expect more designed runs for him that hit the outside.

What to know about App State

They are riding a huge wave of momentum. After barely losing to UNC in the opener, they won at No. 6 Texas A&M and then beat Troy on a last-second hail mary. They will have a ton of confidence and enter as the favorites. But they have shown that their defense can at times give up chunks. Chase Brice at quarterback is efficient, and if Camerun Peoples can run the ball effectively against this JMU front, they’ll be in a great spot to win their conference opener.

Prediction

App State 27, JMU 21

Roger Gonzalez

Roger Gonzalez is freelancer for Augusta Free Press. A native of Connecticut that grew up in Charlottesville, he is a graduate of Virginia Tech. He currently is a sportswriter with CBS Sports and has written for The Daily Progress, The Roanoke Times and other newspapers before getting into the digital sports journalism world.