James Madison at Virginia Prediction - College Football Picks 9/9/23

Virginia Cavaliers (0-1) vs James Madison Dukes (1-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 12:00 pm (David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium)

Betting Odds: Virginia Cavaliers +6.5 -- Over/Under: 45.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

The James Madison Dukes will make the hour-long trip from Harrisonburg to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers this weekend from Scott Stadium. JMU and UVA haven’t faced off since 1983, but this matchup has been years in the making, as the Dukes have been promoted to the FBS level, and it’s fitting these two regional foes face off exactly three decades later. Virginia has won two of the three matchups.

James Madison Dukes Preview

James Madison comes in at 1-0 after opening the season with a 38-3 home win over Bucknell. The Dukes came out strong on both sides of the ball and outmuscled the Bison for four quarters, and they’ll now look to shake up the state with a win here in Charlottesville. The JMU offense gained 436 total yards, gaining 175 yards through the air, while rushing for 261 yards.

JMU Player Notes

• Senior quarterback Jordan McCloud, brother of NFL player Ray-Ray, had a solid first start for the Dukes, protecting the ball and passing for 144 yards with a pair of touchdown tosses. The former USF QB has the experience to lead JMU to this statement victory, and he’ll look to pull it off this weekend.

Kaelon Black returned in the backfield, and led the way with 125 yards on 12 carries, including a 57-yard run. Senior back Latrele Palmer added 45 rushing yards and a score.

• Senior wideout Reggie Brown led the team in receiving with three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

• The JMU defense held Bucknell to 3/15 on third downs, while allowing just 208 yards of total offense.

 

Virginia Cavaliers Preview

Virginia enters at 0-1 after beginning the season with a 49-13 loss to Tennessee in Nashville. The Cavaliers dropped the “neutral” sited state war opener, but they made strides by retaking gridiron, and they’ll look for different results here in this regional battle. The UVA offense only gained 201 total yards, passing for 106 yards, while gaining 95 yards on the ground.

UVA Player Notes

• Monmonth transfer quarterback Tony Muskett naturally struggled in Nashville last weekend with the Tennessee defense, taking four sacks, while only passing for 94 yards. There’s hope for improvement with the lightened matchup here at home, but he’ll need to show he’s ready for FBS ball when the Dukes come to town this weekend.

• Senior Perris Jones and former Clemson back Kobe Pace split the touches, and finished with identical lines of seven carries for 39 yards, with the former finding the endzone.

• Wideouts Malachi Fields and Malik Washington each caught four passes, with the former leading the way with 63 receiving yards.

• The UVA defense held Tennessee to 5/13 on third downs, but they allowed 499 total yards.

Corey’s Free Pick

Saturday may serve as a big day for the James Madison football program, but the books are pretty aware of the advantage they hold, which somewhat spoils what it could from a betting standpoint. Now with this Virginia’s first home game since last season’s tragedy, this is going to be an energized team, who will get to face their regional rivals in a matchup they’ve been hearing chatter about for a while now. I think a motivated Cavaliers team comes out Saturday with both factors mentioned above playing a big part. As much as I’d like this moment to be for JMU, this game will simply mean more to the UVA program. The Under will be play due to both schools leaning on a physical approach, but let’s spot Virginia the points for this in-state battle.

Corey’s Pick Virginia +6

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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