Friday Night Lights – Playoffs Approaching

Different states are on different schedules, so in North Carolina the regular season is winding down, with playoffs commencing next Friday night. Therefore, this week's results impacted conference championships and playoff seeding. In other states, the regular season marches on for another week or two.[private]

Defensive back Breon Borders and his Statesville (NC) teammates wrapped up the North Piedmont Conference Championship with a 56-6 rout of South Rowan. The Greyhounds finish the regular season at 10-1, and are the third overall seed in 3AA West. They host Enka (5-5) this coming Friday.

Charlotte Christian defeated Providence Day 24-16. Providence Day cornerback Bryon Fields is Duke's most recent verbal commit; Bryon recently won the Power 98 Athlete of the Week Award. Providence Day (7-4) will play at Charlotte Country Day (9-1) next Friday in the first round of the NCISAA playoffs.

Two-way player Quay Mann rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries in a losing effort as Northern Nash fell to Rocky Mount 26-9 to end their season with a disappointing 2-8 record.

Hidden Valley (VA)  fell to 5-4 on the season after bowing to undefeated Salem (9-0) by the score of  24-14.  Jake Kite caught six passes for 49 yards in the contest. The Titans play Cave Spring next Friday in their regular season finale.

Defensive Back Evrett Edwards caught seven passes for 69 yards, but Woodbridge (VA) was upset by Forest Park 21-19. Woodbridge must beat Stonewall Jackson next week in their regular season finale to qualify for the playoffs.

Dual threat quarterback Parker Boehme did not play as Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood dropped a controversial 17-16 decision to Flagler Palm Coast. Boehme was in a walking boot this week and is most likely out for the season after re-injuring a toe in last week's win over DeLand.

Quarterback T.J. Douglas ran for touchdowns of 77 and three yards and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass as Fort Myers defeated Ida Baker 30-27.

In California, Norco improved to 5-4 on the season with a 56-16 shellacking of Corona. Running back Joseph Ajeigbe rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on four carries. His touchdown run covered 68 yards.

Wide Receiver Darren Andrews caught a 68 yard touchdown pass in the 4th quarter as Bishop Amat (CA) defeated Loyola 30-20. In the 2nd Quarter, Andrews scored a touchdown on a screen pass that covered 60 yards. Overall, Andrews caught eight passes for 176 yards.

Walker (Marietta, GA) scored with 38 seconds remaining in the game to improve to 8-0 with a 21-14 victory over Whitefield Academy.  Defensive tackle Mike Ramsay stars for Walker.

2014 Report:

Northside defeated East Duplin 21 -14 to win the East Central Conference Championship and complete a perfect 11-0 regular season. The Monarchs are the #1 seed in the 2AA East and host Croatan (6-4) this coming Friday. Northside previously defeated Croatan 41-13 back on September 28.  Northside wide receiver Josh Cabrera is a Duke recruiting target.

Southern Durham and quarterback Kendall Hinton host Wilmington Hoggard in the first round of the 4A East Play-offs.

Shai McKenzie rushed for 323 yards and six touchdowns as Washington (PA) defeated Waynesburg 69-6 to finish the regular season undefeated at 8-0.

That's all for this week. Be sure and follow Duke's verbal commits and recruiting targets as Blue Devil Nation brings you the latest news on all the high school playoff action.[/private]

Duke Football needs to forget and move forward

BDN Photo, Mark Watson

Duke Football needs to put the Florida State loss behind them. There are three important games left in the season, the results of which will determine where Duke goes as far as bowl games are concerned.  Besides, there is not a lot worth remembering in the 48-7 defeat by FSU.

It is a bit bothersome that Duke did not exactly show against the ACC's best team.  It is evidence that this is a team still learning how to win and deal with the expectations that follow.  The truth of the matter is that the Blue Devils psyche is still fragile.  Many of the players, including some solid senior leaders, have never been on a winning college football team, so there is little past experience to draw upon.

Looking forward is a must for this football team, and the next game is not much easier as the Top 10-ranked Clemson Tigers come to town. Clemson is oh-so explosive, and unfortunately, giving up big plays is one of the real problems this Blue Devils squad continues to struggle with.  Until they learn to make some plays of their own to keep the game from getting out of hand, Duke's struggles could continue against teams the quality of the Tigers.

I honestly feel this Duke team is actually better than they realize.  The key will be for them to realize it, so they can turn games around when things are not going well. If N.C. State can pull an upset over Florida State, Duke should be able to hang with a team like Clemson.  For this to happen, Duke will need to play every down as if it is the last one.

Fortunately, two other teams on the schedule in Georgia Tech and Miami look a bit more beatable, but nothing will be easy as teams scramble to close the season on a high note to reach a desirable bowl game.  The Blue Devils will also need for the fan base to let go of last weekend's disappointing loss to Florida State and come out for the final two games of the careers of players like Conner Vernon to support them and thank them for where they have led this program.  Coach Cut made no secret of how he believes the fans helped in the big win over North Carolina, and the Devils will need that kind of support again.

By mid-week it will be November, and yet the Duke football team is playing in games that mean something.  It's been a long time coming, so now is the time for all to realize the opportunity that is at hand.  With that said, don't let last weekend's loss tarnish the Blue Devils' terrific season to date.  Turn out and support this team.  A big win will quickly ease the pain of Florida State.

BDN Game Recap – Duke 105 Western Washington 87

Photo Lance King for BDN

In their season opening exhibition game in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the Duke Blue Devils defeated the Western Washington Vikings by a 105-87 score.

What a start for Rasheed Sulaimon!

The freshman looked like an old pro in his first outing, putting up 20 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Sulaimon is a player who lets the game come to him, so he got those numbers efficiently. If Duke can consistently get this type of effort from Sulaimon, he'll be hard to get out of the lineup -- even when Seth Curry returns.  Coach K said, "He had an unbelievable first half and it started with his first play.  We called a certain thing and he made a read that was the opposite of what that play was, and it was the right read.  And for a freshman on his first play to have the guts to make a read and follow his instincts, well, that's impressive to me."

Senior Captains live up to billing

Senior Co-Captains Mason Plumlee (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Ryan Kelly (22 points 4 assists) led the way in scoring for Duke. Plumlee's 11 boards were a team high as were Kelly's 4 assists. Both players showed off their experience and both showed leadership, each in his own way. Plumlee also went 6 of 8 from the free throw stripe, but later in the locker room still wanted to do better. Duke said the intention was to go to Mason more this year, and in this game he led the team with 14 shots, knocking down 8 of them. Kelly was an outstanding 7 of 7 from the free throw stripe.  Coach K on Kelly and Plumlee: "I thought they were okay in the first half but in the second, they played like really good players."

13-0 run sparked Duke

Coach Krzyzewski called a timeout with 6:22 to go in the half, at which time Duke held a 39-32 lead. Another timeout, this time from Western Washington, took place after the Blue Devils went on a 13-0 run, which helped them take a 54-39 lead into the half.  Coach K on the timeout: "I though we let up a bit and "boom," because they're good they took advantage of it.   I thought every time we came out of a timeout we executed exactly what we wanted and usually scored.  I liked that."

Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy have nice debuts as well

True freshman Amile Jefferson scored 13 points on an efficient 5-7 shooting in his Cameron debut, while Alex Murphy tallied 6 points. Krzyzewski praised both in his post game press conference. Krzzyewski did say Jefferson left 4 points on the court but followed that up with an acknowledgement that he is learning.  Coach K on Amile:  "He's got the longest wing span on the team.  He has a 7'1" wing span.  When he starts moving well and playing like he did, there is a lot of length on the court."

Duke dominated from the free throw stripe

The Blue Devils got to the line 40 times, connecting on 31 of the attempts, while Western Washington had just 9 opportunities, connecting on 7 of them. Many of the calls that Duke got resulted from pushing the ball hard into the lane.

Important visitor

Jabari Parker and his family were visiting Duke today, and the Cameron Crazies were more than a little aware, holding up several signs along the way.  There were larger signs on campus but many were removed by Duke Compliance.  At the end of the half, Lola Parker walked over to see some pumpkins and take a picture.  The pumpkins spelled out "Jabari."  Parker is on crutches, still healing from a late summer injury.  For more thoughts on Parker and company, join BDN Premium, our subscription service, for full site access.


Duke is a work in progress.  But then again, every team in America is a work in progress in October.  Coach Krzyzewski seemed pleased with his team's opening game, and he said that the staff was still feeling the team out.  That process will continue as Duke takes on Winston-Salem State in another exhibition game on Thursday evening, also in Cameron.  It's hard to take much away from exhibition games, but considering how early we are, I thought Duke looked pretty good.  After a second viewing on Thursday, it should be easier to start forming educated opinions.  Coach K's opening statement to the media can be seen below.

BDN week 9 college football picks

The Blue Devils are going to a bowl game! BDN staff and the Blue Devil Greats have already reserved their seats. Do you have yours?

Week 8 of the college football season was just about perfect for Duke fans, with Duke reclaiming the Victory Bell and earning bowl eligibility against rival North Carolina. For one Duke fan, it was a perfect week, as Bob Green correctly picked all 10 games in week 8. He now trails our leader, Andrew Slater, by just one point overall.

Here are this week's standings:

Another great week of games in the world of college football, headlined by the top 10 matchup between Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Two undefeateds collide in Tuscaloosa, where the Crimson Tide host Mississippi State. Meanwhile, in the ACC, the Tar Heels look to avoid going 0-2 in rivalry games as they host Tom O'Brien's Wolfpack. Finally, it's First Place Football for the Blue Devils as they travel to Tallahassee to take on the Florida State Seminoles in a tough ACC matchup. Can the Blue Devils pull off the unlikely upset?

Here are this week's picks:

Patrick Cacchio:
The Seminoles rank second in the country in rush defense. The Blue Devils faced another top-5 rush defense in week 2 against Stanford (#4). Florida State will look to use their strength up front to shut down the Duke rushing attack and pressure Sean Renfree. This will be the Duke offensive line's toughest matchup for the year. If they lose the line of scrimmage, it will be a long day for the Blue Devils. Florida State 35, Duke 16

Bob Green: Beating Florida State is a tall order, but N.C. State pulled it off so who am I to underestimate this Duke team, which happens to be all alone atop the ACC Coastal Division standings. Of course, the Wolfpack won at home while the Blue Devils will have to pull off the upset in Tallahassee.

Florida State is number one in the ACC in Scoring Offense (44.4 ppg) and Scoring Defense (12.6 ppg). Move over to special teams and the Seminoles are number one in Kickoff Returns and number one in Kickoff Coverage. They are an athletic and talented team across the board. Quarterback E.J. Manuel is number one in Passing Efficiency. His mobility will be a big challenge.

Duke will need to win all the intangibles: turnovers, penalties, and field position. Field position can be a game within the game and talented Punter Will Monday and Kicker Ross Martin give the Blue Devils an opportunity.

Additionally, Duke must perform at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Demonstrating the ability to successfully run the ball for a second week in a row will go a long way toward achieving a victory on the road.

In the final analysis, from where I am sitting, the order is too tall. Duke will keep it competitive, but Florida State will prevail. Florida State 34, Duke 23.

Andrew Slater: Coming off the biggest win in, at least, two decades, Duke faces a Florida State team, which even Coach Cutcliffe acknowledged is more talented across the board. The Seminoles are the only college football team that is in both the top ten in total offense and total defense. With a combined sixteen sacks entering Saturday's matchup in Tallahassee, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Caradine may form the best overall defensive line tandem in college football. 6'5" E.J. Manuel, the highly accurate QB for the 'Noles and future NFL quarterback, will present a major challenge to the Duke defense. They've got a deep receiving corps and, even the unfortunate loss of RB Chris Thompson, is likely to be mitigated by their plethora of talented backs, notably James Wilder, Jr. Some day, Duke may end its losing streak to Florida State, but not this week. 51-17 Florida State.

Mark Watson: Duke has momentum after their rolicking win over UNC, but FSU is the best the ACC has to offer and they're good at all positions. The FSU run defense is as good as it gets, so this is an area of concern. I think Duke will show some serious fight but picking them to win against FSU would be a major upset with them being a 28 point underdog. FSU 38 Duke 16

Bob Harris: The Devils shock the football world with win #7 in Tallahassee. ‘Noles can’t replace Thompson. Duke 38 – Free Shoes U 31 (had to quote Coach Orr)

Matt Daniels: Florida State's offense has been struggling to put points on the board while Duke is steadily rolling coming off a program win and remaking history. Look for Duke to go down to Florida State and upset the world with a nail-biting victory. Duke 31, Florida State 24

Thad Lewis: Duke has learned from their mistakes at Virginia Tech and will play a complete game and pull off the upset.

Vinny Rey: Duke 16 Florida state 14. I’ve got this one going down to the end and being won by a last second field goal. Defensive struggle, but the Duke offense will make enough plays to win the game.