Out of the Frying Pan...

James Madison head coach Mickey Matthews seemed almost disconsolate when talking about the task of facing sixth-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown on Saturday.

"We are going to play hard, but I don't know how we are going to match up to them," Matthews said resignedly. "I've been watching movies for a day and a half, and they are really good. They are the highest ranked team we ever played. When we played Virginia Tech with Michael Vick, they were 11th.

"They are really good," the coach repeated. "You just can't say anything bad about them. People talk about Maine beating Mississippi State and New Hampshire beating Rutgers, but Rutgers and Mississippi State could put together an all star team and not be as good as West Virginia. They are huge, they can run, they have a great quarterback, great running backs, and great special teams. That about covers it."

Matthews was also complimentary of West Virginia's rushing attacking. Noting that the Mountaineers had about a 3-1 run to pass ratio against Maryland, the Dukes' coach didn't seem optimistic about the prospects of slowing WVU's rushing juggernaut.

"They have all those offensive linemen back. I don't know how we are going to slow [the running game] down, because no one else has. I don't know what we are going to do. Maybe we'll try to play with 13 guys if we can."

Matthews said he doesn't mind playing Division 1 teams, but playing a top ten team is a different matter entirely.

"When we decide to play someone, we don't just play Division 1 games. We play top 10 and top 25 teams," Matthews noted. "I assume we need the money as an athletic dept, so we are going to go play it. I don't mind playing D1 schools; I just don't like playing Top 10 teams. When you watch the tape they are outclassing a lot of people in the Big East. I don't know if they even talked to any of the players on our team [during recruiting].

"I don't think there's a lot of difference in the MAC or lower levels of Conference USA than good Division 1AA teams," said Matthews, whose 2-0 Dukes are coming off an impressive win over 1AA fifth-ranked Villanova. "We can compete with them. But you talk about playing a Top Ten team rather than a MAC school, and the whole thing changes. They're good."

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