Don't call them a cupcake. They've been here for years.
One of the top teams in college football's FCS division, James Madison, will meet up one of the top teams in the FBS division, West Virginia, in Landover Md. on Saturday.
The game will take place at FedEx Field, the home of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
You may remember back in 2010 when the Dukes went in to Blacksburg, Va. and fearlessly knocked off No. 13 Virginia Tech in Lane Stadium—one of college football's most treacherous venues.
JMU has also had plenty of success in its own division. Last year, the Dukes went to the second round of the FCS playoffs, losing to eventual national champion North Dakota State. In 2008, they reached the semifinals where they were dropped by Montana, a team that was out for revenge from 2004.
That year, JMU smote Montana 31-21 to take the national title. So yes, the Dukes have been a strong football program for years.
2004 was also the last time JMU and WVU squared off. In Morgantown, the Mountaineers prevailed 45-10, thanks to a prolific Rasheed Marshall-Chris Henry connection.
This year, James Madison yet again has the talent to take the FCS title. The 2012 Dukes began the year 2-0, outscoring Saint Francis and Alcorn State by a combined score of 97-10.
West Virginia is off to a good start in 2012 as well, picking up where it left off last year after an impressive Orange Bowl win over Clemson. The Mountaineers are 1-0 with a 69-34 win over in-state rival Marshall.
Despite the success, you can bet West Virginia won't be overlooking what is a quite talented JMU squad.
Players To Watch
WVU QB Geno Smith: Smith is one of the nation's top Heisman Trophy candidates and is already off to a strong start in 2012. The senior went 32-of-36 for 323 yards through the air and five total touchdowns, including one on the ground.
JMU QB Justin Thorpe: Thorpe is off to a great 2012 campaign of his own. A proven runner and passer, Thorpe has recorded 317 yards passing, 177 yards rushing and six total touchdowns so far. He'll provide a challenge for the WVU defense that gave up 413 yards to Marshall QB Rakeem Cato.
WVU IR Tavon Austin: Inside receiver Tavon Austin had a relatively subdued performance in Week 1 against Marshall. The nation's leader in all-purpose yardage from 2011 had just 53 receiving yards on ten catches against the Herd, though he did add an electric 70-yard rush. Will the JMU defense have the speed to keep him in check?
JMU RB Dae'Quan Scott: Scott, the Dukes leading rusher, has just 180 yards and 3 TDs so far in 2012, but he totaled 1,304 yards and 12 TD in 2011. He'll be looking to see more success this week against a WVU defense that allowed 144.8 yards per game on the ground last year.
WVU LB Isaiah Bruce: In his first collegiate game, Bruce registered a game-high 16 tackles, to go with a 43-yard fumble return for a touchdown. He'll be very important in containing Scott and Thorpe, but will he be able to continue his early success?
JMU FS Dean Marlowe: The Queens, N.Y. native led the Dukes with four INTs last season and has already started strong, recording another in 2012. He was an all-CAA selection last year as a freshman and is the No. 2 tackler for JMU so far this year. He and the rest of the JMU secondary will be faced with a massive task of slowing down the West Virginia air raid offense.
Three Keys to the Game
1. Can JMU slow down the WVU offense? In Week 1 against Marshall, West Virginia proved that it is not only dangerous through the air, but also on the ground. The Mountaineers ran for 331 yards and are ranked No. 4 in FBS in per-game rushing. They're also ranked No. 1 in per-game scoring. Needless to say, the Dukes have their work cut out for them.
2. Can WVU slow down Thorpe? Marshall QB Rakeem Cato had a strong day against WVU as the Herd offense ran 101 plays—more than any other FBS team in Week 1. Whether or not JMU can keep up with the WVU offense will be contingent on how well Thorpe can do with his arm and his legs.
3. Will WVU overlook JMU? James Madison caught the Hokies napping in 2008, delivering a huge upset to their doorstep. Because of that, you'd have to imagine that West Virginia will be ready to go on Saturday. However, it'd also be easy for the Mountaineers to be looking ahead to their upcoming Big 12 Conference slate.
Start Time, TV Coverage, and More
Time: Saturday, Sept. 15 | 4:30 p.m. EST
Location: FedEx Field | Landover, Md.
TV Coverage: Root Sports Pittsburgh
Live Stream: None. Neither JMU nor WVU nor Root Sports will be streaming this game (If you know of one, please comment below).