2-2 Dukes Now Face Top Two Teams in FCS Polls

By: Damon Dillman Email
By: Damon Dillman Email

James Madison coach Mickey Matthews had a simple explanation Monday, for his team's 24-17 loss at Hofstra last weekend.

"We just didn't show up," Matthews said at his weekly news conference. "When you don't show up, you don't play bad every play. Everyone just takes turns making mistakes, and that's basically what we did."

As expected, the loss caused the 2-2 Dukes to drop in both major FCS polls. JMU fell from sixth to No. 12 in the coaches poll, and from No. 7 to 13th in the Sports Network poll.

"I think you can honestly say, to be truthful about it, we're really a young football team making a lot of young mistakes," Matthews said. "And that was the case Saturday. A lot of the kids who made really bad decisions Saturday were young guys.

"We've got to grow up in a hurry or we're not going to beat anybody."

Matthews said the coaching staff has spent the last few days evaluating personnel at several positions, but said he wouldn't reveal any changes until Tuesday.

He also got flustered when asked about the team's uncertainty at some positions, including offensive line and quarterback.

"I'm not into all that settle stuff. We need to play better. We need to play better. The only settling I get is I'm going to be the head coach," he said. "I jumped on, I said everybody's worried about, there's no comfort zone. I think in a comfort zone you're fixing to get your butt beat. We're not going to get in a comfort zone. We're going to play a little bit harder."

JMU's next two opponents, Richmond and Villanova, are the top two teams in both FCS polls. Both teams are unbeaten, with wins against Division I opponents.

Following those two home games, JMU will visit William & Mary. The Tribe is No. 8 in both polls this week after losing to Villanova Saturday.

But Matthews wouldn't agree that, with his team already in a hole and such a tough schedule looming, JMU's playoff season begins this week against the Spiders.

"You know me. I don't think in those terms," Matthews said. "I just think about beating Richmond, because there's nothing we can do about anything else other than that."

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