Week 3 - James Madison at West Virginia

Posted Sep 12, 2012

Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction – James Madison at West Virginia

- CFN Fearless Predictions

James Madison (2-0) at West Virginia (1-0) Sept. 15, 4:30, ROOT

Here's The Deal: After the Orange Bowl win over Clemson and the blowout over Marshall to kickoff 2012, West Virginia is becoming must-see television. The Mountaineers destroyed the Thundering Herd 69-34 to start the season, and now the machine has to show it can be consistent. Everyone knows the Mountaineers can blow up and put up big numbers, but can everything work 100% all the time? With Maryland and Baylor up next, the Mountaineers don't go on the road until October and have the chance to generate a giant buzz before going to Texas. James Madison is a good FCS team off to a phenomenal start beating St. Francis and Alcorn State by a combined score of 97 to 10. This should be one of the stars of the Colonial, but now it's time to see if one of the top FCS defenses to see if it can hold up against the storm.

Why James Madison Might Win: The Dukes have the pass defense to be more than just a speedbump for the Mountaineer machine. The secondary has allowed just 204 passing yards in the first two games and should be one of the team's biggest strengths as the season goes on. The pass rush might not be anything special, but JMU has playmakers in the defensive backfield in corners Leavnader Jones and Jeremiah Wilson to potentially keep the game from getting out of hand. On the other side of the ball, West Virginia's secondary was lit up by Rakeem Cato and Marshall allowing 413 yards in the shootout; JMU's Justin Thorpe should be able to push the ball through the air.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Defense? Who needs defense? Yes, the Mountaineers are going to give up yards in chunks against everyone. Yes, they're not going to be a rock on a regular basis. It doesn't matter. The offense can turn it on at any time and put up yards and numbers in chunks. JMU doesn't have the pass rush to bother Geno Smith on a regular basis and there shouldn't be a problem letting the pass plays develop. Smith isn't going to force anything and he isn't going to give away any bad plays to let JMU take advantage, but at the same time the running game should be effective enough keep the linebackers from tearing off into the backfield.

What To Watch Out For: For all the high-powered, high-flying aspects to the West Virginia offense, it's the power and versatility of Shawne Alston that could be the glue to the attack, even more than Smith. The 5-11, 235-pound power back was one of 2008's top recruits and now he's about to blossom into his talent. He started turning it on over the second half of last season, and against Marshall he was unstoppable running for 123 yards and two scores. A steadying force, he's going to put up keep the JMU defense honest.

What Will Happen: JMU will put up over 400 yards of total offense, and it's not going to matter. The West Virginia attack will need a quarter to get it going, but when it turns it on it'll be over.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 44 … James Madison 20
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) No Line O/U: No Line
Must Watch Rating (5 – Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark in IMAX, 1 – Go On): 2