Delaware @ James Madison
by, 10-02-2010 at 12:03 PM (1438 Views)
HARRISONBURG, Va. — Covering a Football Championship Subdivision game at noon on Saturday takes a little different preparation, particularly when you have to drive four and a half hours to the heart of Duke Dog country.
I was up by 5 a.m. and on the road about an hour later, journeying across the Pennsylvania Turnpike and then down Interstate 81.
Fortunately, these early-morning, Saturday football drives are made a little more pleasant by my trusty XM Satellite Radio, where I can tune in three hours of "Celtic Crush," an eclectic blend of modern and traditional music with Celtic influences.
You might hear anything from Ziggy Marley singing with the accompaniment of the Chieftains, or Sinead O'Connor covering Peter Tosh, to someone croonying "Danny Boy."
That prepared me for the "Purple Crush" of getting through traffic at the ever-expanding Bridgeforth Stadium and the prospect of seeing one of this week's most important FCS games between James Madison and Delaware, two of the teams I view as among the top five in the country.
This will be my first chance to see JMU since its monumental 21-16 upset of Virginia Tech last month. It seems like coach Mickey Matthews and company are always developing new defensive stars and redshirt senior Drew Dudzik has the Duke option firing on all cylinders as they have started the season 3-0.
Delaware has reemerged from a couple of years of doldrums to get back into the mix as one of the top FCS teams. Quarterback Pat Devlin has become more effective as the Blue Hens have finally developed a solid offensive line and the addition of freshman Andrew Pierce at running back has brought balance to the Delaware attack.
On defense, the Blue Hens have marched to a 4-0 start behind one of the top secondaries in FCS and consistent play from everywhere else. Coming off a 34-13 thrashing of Richmind last Saturday on the road, Delaware is looking to win another key Colonial Athletic Association road game.
Whatever happens between these two top-shelf teams, it should be one of the most fun games of the FCS regular season and has the atmosphere of a playoff game already.