In the locker room: How JMU feels on the way to Richmond | Sports

Former JMU football player Jimmy Moreland stood in the Dukes’ end zone, eyeing the Spiders to keep Richmond in front of a field goal – JMU were 14-3 ahead in the second quarter of 2018.

Former Richmond quarterback Kevin Johnson took the snapshot, threw a pass, and Moreland intercepted it and took it 100 yards to the house – the longest interception to return to touchdown in JMU football history – with Dukes’ fans playing in the Robin’s Stadium screamed.

That game was one of many in a 63-10 win for JMU the last time it was on the road in Richmond. The win was the Dukes’ biggest road win in program history, and they amassed a total of 543 yards of attack.

It’s Richmond Week and the JMU is back in Virginia’s capital for the first time since that dominating performance. The Dukes come out of a defeat, set off for two weeks and lead the historic series with the Spiders 20-18. This should be a show.

From the office: what Cignetti says

“This is soccer.”

This is the mindset of JMU head coach Curt Cignetti, who is going into the matchup against Richmond on Saturday. As he said after the game after JMU’s defeat by Villanova: “Nobody died today.” That’s what he said to the team after the Villanova defeat and it’s the focus for this weekend.

“It happens; you don’t like it, but you have to learn from defeat,” said Cignetti. “[A] Team always has two options: You can move up and get stronger or you can go to the tank, and I firmly believe that we have the lead and the right stuff on his team. “

Regarding Villanova, Cignetti said the JMU played well in the spurts. He was happy with the offensive and defensive production in the second quarter and that the team won the sales battle he stressed that it is something that the JMU must continue to do.

Cignetti attributes two of Villanova’s first-half touchdowns to missed appearances in the Dukes’ defense. The head coach said it was important to stay in position to beat Richmond and not allow sloppy games.

“This week, top down, it’s really important that we pay attention to details,” said Cignetti. “The details of the schedule and everything we do ensure that our standards are high.”

Despite the failures and the home game, Cignetti said the dukes are focused and doing hard work in training this week. He was happy with the JMU’s focus on Monday, but said the harder working days come on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I look at our attitude, our energy and our focus in general,” said Cignetti. “It has to be good every day.”

For Cignetti it is a weekly process and cannot be “just talking” Action must go with it. It’s about “the grind”, the level of exertion, the dedication to getting better and putting words into action, said Cignetti.

“We have some [players] Play at a high level or improve weekly to reach a high level and we’ve achieved quite a bit [players] that needs to be reinforced, ”said Cignetti. “You have to move on, learn the lessons and come out stronger.”

Cignetti also emphasized how the JMU must win individual fights.

Some of that has to do with Redshirt newbie wide receiver Antwane Wells Jr. Cignetti said Wells Jr. sprained his ankle against Weber State and has not felt 100% since then. The Richmond, Virginia native hit 1,000 yards over the weekend despite the injury, but the No. 1 receiver on the left is all about getting him back to where he was.

“Every week, [Wells Jr. is] to achieve almost 100% again, ”said Cignetti. “Depending on what style of defense you will see, the possibilities that are relevant to that open up [defense] You play. “

Cignetti said he liked the dukes’ pace on Saturday. He cited the fourth quarter’s third and fourth down conversions and the early offensive outbursts because of the pace. He added that the JMUs used more displacements and movements as the same staff was kept in the field.

“Our pace has traditionally always been good here,” said Cigentti. “I like speed, I like to play fast; In addition, you sometimes see things in the field. “

Cignetti has trained in rivalry games and knows what they entail. He gives Richmond great praise and knows that he will face a tough Spiders team on Saturday.

“This is a rivalry game,” said Cignetti. “We can’t fall into the trap we got into last spring … I don’t think that’s going to be a problem because this is such a rivalry game.”

On the field: the perspective of the players

The connections between the JMU players run deep in Richmond and the Dukes-Spiders rivalry takes the game to another level.

There are 13 players on the JMU Football roster who are from Richmond or the Greater Richmond Area. Cignetti said many are key players and it is important for them to come home to play in front of the family. Redshirt senior defensive lineman Mike Greene is one of those players, and he said he’s excited about the opportunity to play in front of the family on his final season.

“[I] a lot of family is coming out this week; [we] need about 12 tickets, “said Greene. “It feels good to be coming back to Richmond.”

While it is exciting to return home to face the spiders, the dukes know the task ahead the most important game is the next. Greene, Redshirt senior running back Percy Agyei-Obese and Cignetti all emphasized how hungry Richmond will be and how the Dukes will have to watch out for the chores on Saturday.

“[Richmond] will give it our all every time we play them, ”said Greene. “You won’t want to lose in front of your home crowd … It’s just going to be another great week for us.”

Greene and Agyei-Obese said it was all about focus. They said that focusing on the next game, making the moves required, and adjusting are the keys to a possible win against the Spiders.

“Everyone just makes sure they’re doing their job,” Greene said. “It’s another week of just playing soccer … It’s a huge week and you just have to prepare like any other week.”

Agyei-Obese attended the 2018 Richmond Road Game and remembers the atmosphere. He said he remembered the spiders’ line of defense and run defense – and how much they have improved since that match.

“Your first seven that [defensive] Lineman and their linebackers [are] Veterans, and they are very stocky, ”said Agyei-Obese. “We know we are playing against an experienced group.”

One thing to note: Injured Dukes will return to the game. With an undisclosed injury to Redshirt newbie running back Kaelon Black, the running back depth was injured with Agyei-Obese, but now that he’s back this is another area where the JMU has improved the Redshirt senior scored two touchdowns last Saturday.

“Just to have everyone back, it really just straightens the line in our group,” said Agyei-Obese. “That gives us some consolation … [We’re] I am happy to have the whole group back. “

It’s a weekend rivalry for the Dukes, and while it’s exciting to visit their CAA enemies, it’s still another important game – every win counts in the CAA. It’s halftime and the playoff push is here it starts with the spiders.

“Coach Cignetti emphasizes the rivalry,” said Agyei-Obese. “When you come to JMU, you know the rivalry is deep. There must be a fire under us. “

Contact Savannah Reger at For more soccer coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.