James Madison Dukes (0-0) vs Bucknell Bison (0-0)
2023-09-02 18:00:00 EDT
The Line: Betting Odds: James Madison Dukes -- Over/Under:
(Get latest betting odds)
The Bucknell Bison and James Madison Dukes meet Saturday in week 1 college football action at Bridgeforth Stadium. Let’s preview this game and give out a pick and prediction.
Bucknell Bison Betting Preview
Bucknell is coming off a 3-win season that ended with back-to-back wins, and Dave Cecchini enters his fifth year as head coach. Cecchini brings back his coordinators from last season as well. Nick Semptimphelter returns at quarterback after 746 passing yards and 4 touchdowns on 52.9 percent completions. Rushawn Baker is back after 646 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns, while Damian Harris and Marques Owens are a returning receiving duo that combined for 600 yards and 1 touchdown. Defensively, Blake Leake returns after 83 tackles, Tyler Alston led Bucknell with 6 sacks and Alex Smith Jr. had 3 interceptions. Bucknell has won a combined 4 games in the last 2 years, so there’s reason for hesitation here. However, Bucknell returns all of its key producers on offense from a year ago, and that’s encouraging. Also, Bucknell finished last season strong, so I expect a bounce back year in the Patriot.
James Madison Dukes Betting Preview
James Madison won 8 games last year to really set the tone in the FBS, and Curt Cignetti returns for his fifth year, and he brings back his coordinators. Billy Atkins will have a chance to takeover at quarterback after 43 pass attempts last year and 2 touchdowns. Latrele Palmer will get more touches after 5 touchdowns on 101 carries, while Reggie Brown is the only returning productive receiver after 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. Defensively, Taurus Jones returns after leading James Madison with 81 tackles, James Carpenter had 5.5 sacks and Jailin Walker had 3 interceptions. James Madison has to find a quarterback and playmakers on offense, but it has stability at head coach and the defense is in decent shape. James Madison showed it can play in FBS play after coming from the CAA. I’d say James Madison is the team to beat in the Sun Belt East this season.
Bucknell should be a lot better than it was a season ago, and it finished the season strong to build positive vibes. However, there’s a clear talent gap between these teams, and James Madison is the front-runners to win the Sun Belt. There are no excuses for James Madison not to win this game comfortably at home. James Madison needs to set the tone early for what should be a successful season. I’ll lay the chalk with the Dukes.