FCS Game of the Week Preview

#3 James Madison Dukes (2-0) at #9 Weber State Wildcats (1-1)

This ought to be good. That’s what we hope anyway, when the James Madison Dukes visit the Weber State Wildcats this Saturday. Don’t we all love a contest of top teams?

Will a Blackout Game Be a Knockout?

This is one of Weber State’s biggest regular season games in recent years, and the Wildcats are calling for a “Blackout” game. They’re asking for attendees to wear black, even giving black t-shirts to the first 2,000 fans in attendance.

WSU has emerged in recent years as a conference power, winning the Big Sky championship the last four years. The Wildcats have featured in the national rankings for 36 straight polls, coming in at #9 in the current FCS Stats Perform rankings. At 1-1 thus far in 2021, the Wildcats are coming off a pummeling 41-3 victory over Dixie State. Dontae McMillan is WSU’s leading rusher, amassing 190 yards and an 8.3 yards-per-carry average. Also shining is Rashid Shaheed, the senior wide receiver who has six kick return touchdowns to his credit (a Big Sky record and tied for first in the FCS).

The bad news for the Wildcats is the potential absence of starting quarterback Bronson Barron. He injured his knee in the third quarter against Dixie State and his timetable for return is unclear. He is currently listed as questionable for Saturday’s matchup against the Dukes. WSU may have to lean more heavily on McMillan if Barron is out or still hampered.

Go West, Young Dukes

As for James Madison, this is the farthest west they have traveled for a game. This is also the Dukes’ first regular season game versus a Big Sky opponent, having defeated Weber State in the FCS playoffs twice previously.

JMU is currently 2-0, having smashed their early opponents. They’ve beaten Morehead State 68-10, and Maine 55-7. Routs, you say? The Dukes gave up -57 (yes, that’s a negative) yards against Morehead State. Leading the Dukes’ defense against Maine were Greg Ross and Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey, who each tallied 7 tackles against the Bears.

Starting quarterback Cole Johnson has been excellent so far. The redshirt senior has as a 75.9% completion rate with nine touchdowns and no INTs. The receiving corps is led by Antwane Wells, Jr.

The Dukes have also established themselves on a national FCS scale, having won the FCS championship in 2004 and 2017.


James Madison Dukes at Weber State Wildcats

Saturday, Sept 18, 2021. 8pm EST.

Stewart Stadium, Ogden Utah


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