James Madison vs

Air Force

at Fort Worth
Sat, Dec 23
12:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 225
Odds: Air Force +1.5, Total: 41

Game Analysis

Create an account to get analysis and updates sent to your inbox.

James Madison (-2.5)  21   Air Force  20

James Madison edged out Penn State and UCLA for the best compensated run defense in the nation (3.5 yards per rushing play allowed to FBS teams that would combine to average 5.0 yprp against an average team) and that strength should serve them well against an Air Force team that runs the ball 85% of the time. Of course, defending the option is different than defending a traditional run attack and this season there was no correlation between the yprp average for Air Force as a function of the level of the run defense that they were facing (excluding Navy and Army, who know how to defend the option). In fact, there was a slightly negative correlation due to averaging 6.2 yprp against Wyoming and Boise State, the only two better than average run defenses that they faced (5.5 yprp overall in 9 games other than Navy and Army). I’m not going to assume that Air Force will run the ball better against JMU than they normally do – or even close to as good as usual – but I do think they’ll be relatively better against the Dukes’ strong front line than a traditional running team would be. James Madison being without star Jalen Green (15.5 sacks in 9 games) has significantly hurt the Dukes’ pass defense (just 3 sacks total in 3 games without Green), as they’ve been 0.7 yppp worse than average in those 3 games. However, Green’s absence has not hurt the run defense at all (just 2.9 yprp allowed in those games).

James Madison’s top 3 tacklers, Fisher, Walker, and Kamara – along with DL Carpenter and LB Jones – are all in the transfer portal (CB Logan withdrew from the portal), but there were reports that most of the players in the portal will play in this game and only DE Kamara (and offensive LG Miller) have opted out of playing (the rest are on the bowl game depth chart). With Kamara and Green out, I project 307 yards at 5.0 yppl for Air Force in this game (assuming QB Zac Larrier is out – although he may play).

James Madison quarterback Jordan McCloud had a great season, averaging 8.1 yards per pass play against FBS opponents that would combine to allow 6.8 yppp to an average quarterback. McCloud has entered the transfer portal but he has stated his intentions to play in this game – and top WR Elijah Sarratt is also on the depth chart despite his intention to transfer. JMU’s offense is 0.5 yppl better than average and they should move the ball pretty well against a mediocre Air Force defense that yielded 5.5 yppl to non-option teams that would combine to average 5.5 yppl against an average defense. I exclude their games against Army and Navy (on both offense and defense) because option teams defend option teams extremely well and including those games would not reflect how the Air Force offense or defense would perform against non-option teams. There is rain and wind expected in Fort Worth on Saturday but I still project 323 yards at 5.8 yppl for James Madison in this game.

The bad weather is likely to affect James Madison more, as wind and rain tend to affect the pass game and not the run game – unless the field is really slippery. With all things considered I get James Madison by 2.5 points and 41.5 total points. Air Force does apply to a 21-4-1 ATS situation that plays on bowl underdogs on a losing streak (AF lost their last 4 games after starting the season 8-0) and Military Academies are 39-15 ATS in bowl games and tend to play particularly well in Texas, where a disproportionate amount of men that serve tend to come from.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • James Madison
  • Air Force


  • Run Plays 32.2 25.0
  • Run Yards 146.9 86.8
  • YPRP 4.6 3.5


  • Pass Comp 23.4 23.4
  • Pass Att 33.8 38.8
  • Comp % 69.1% 60.2%
  • Pass Yards 298.8 276.6
  • Sacks 1.6 3.9
  • Sack Yards 10.6 26.5
  • Sack % 4.6% 9.2%
  • Pass Plays 35.5 42.7
  • Net Pass Yards 288.3 250.2
  • YPPP 8.1 5.9


  • Total Plays 67.6 67.7
  • Total Yards 435.2 337.0
  • YPPL 6.4 5.0


  • Int 0.8 1.2
  • Int % 2.4% 3.0%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.6
  • Turnovers 1.2 1.8
  • Points 35.2 18.5
Share This