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Opponent Breakdown: James Madison Dukes Defense

NCAA Football: James Madison at Appalachian State David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

James Madison will bring one of the best defenses Louisville will face this year to Cardinal Stadium. They boast the best run defense in the country and play fast and physically at all levels. The Dukes aren’t a team that has played against the country's top offenses but have been very good against some very productive teams. Competition matters but I don’t care who you are playing when you’re putting up the numbers this defense is.

The defensive line for JMU is a bit undersized in the middle but they are plenty big enough across the entire group and they can really run. Isaac Ukwu is the key player on the edge with five sacks on the season. He shows a good ability to get around the corner and bend back toward the quarterback. Jamare Edwards is the best player on the inside at 6-3/281. He has seven tackles for loss this year and he is a disruptive player against the run. UofL seems to have struggled more with quick interior players as opposed to size so this will be a spot to watch on Saturday.

Taurus Jones is the most productive player on this defense as he leads the team in tackles and tackles for loss. He and Jailin Walker have made a ton of plays in the Dukes’ 4-2-5 scheme. Walker has a couple of interceptions on the year and he is second on the team in PBUs. This is a complete defense but these two guys flash the most when you watch this team play. They have a disruptive defensive line in front of them and they get to roam and make plays.

The secondary for JMU is the group that probably deserves the most scrutiny. Their stats are mostly in the middle of the pack and they haven’t pulled in many interceptions. They do look athletic from what I’ve seen and they are one of the best teams in the country when it comes to breaking up passes. Chauncey Logan is the top player at corner with 8 PBUs as a true freshman.

The rest of the group has put up solid numbers but none of them really stick out individually. The one thing that really jumps out when you watch them play is that they will lay a big hit if it’s there for them. This group can run well and I think they do a good job of being opportunistic. They get after the ball when it’s in the air and they don’t leave a lot of guys open. Louisville will have to exploit this group through the air as they have shown they can be beaten in the pass game. Georgia Southern put up over 500 yards on them. UofL should have success here.