Helm To Join Duke Football Program

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe announced on Wednesday that Daniel Helm has signed a financial aid agreement with the institution to enroll for the spring, 2015 semester.  Helm spent the past two semesters as a member of the football program at the University of Tennessee.

Helm, a 6-4, 240-pound tight end who played in all 12 regular season games with two starting assignments as a true freshman for the Volunteers in 2014, will sit out the 2015 campaign in compliance with NCAA transfer regulations and have three seasons of eligibility beginning in the fall of 2016.

While helping Tennessee to a 6-6 overall record, Helm totaled six pass receptions for 37 yards including a season-high two catches for 16 yards versus Florida on October 4.  In addition, he caught a two-point conversion in Tennessee’s 35-32 loss to No. 12 Georgia on September 27.

A native of Chatham, Ill., Helm was charted as a four-star tight end prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals.com andScout.com at Glenwood High School while playing for Dan Rourke.  Over his final two seasons at Glenwood, he totaled 79 receptions for 1,386 yards and 30 touchdowns and finished his prep career with a school record 35 receiving touchdowns.

Duke’s spring semester begins Wednesday, January 7.  The Blue Devils, who are coming off a 9-4 season which included a berth in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, open spring practice on February 6.

Duke Drops Pesky Toledo 86-69

B3ZjNbnCQAAusd8After jumping out to an early 18-4 lead, it looked as if the number two ranked Blue Devils were going to cruise to another win.  But Toledo roared back to pull with 41-37 at the half and suddenly this was a hard-fought affair.

Duke would ultimately break away in the second half for an 86-69 victory and in the process push their season record to 11-0.  The Blue Devils were once again led by Jahlil Okafor who talked a game high 27 points.  But it was the guard play down the stretch of senior Quinn Cook and freshman Tyus Jones that allowed Duke to finally pull away.

Cook scored 20 points for the undefeated Blue Devils while Tyus Jones chipped in with 15 points and a game high 8 assists.  The duo went 15 for 15 combined from the free throw stripe as well.

Every time it looked like Duke would pull away, the Rockets would battle back, mainly on the play of Julius Brown who led them with 19.  Brown consistently scored off ball screens and Duke not rotating.

Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised the Rockets in the post game press conference and for good reason.  He lauded a veteran club playing a tough schedule for pushing his Blue Devils and allowing them to learn more about themselves as a team.

This was the kind of game which prepares team well for the coming ACC wars but first Duke must take on Wofford on Wednesday,  Like Toledo, Wofford is an experienced and well coached team.

Duke has now won 115 consecutive non conference home games in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Coach Mike Krzyzewski was the recipient of his 994th win as a college coach as he closes in on 1000 wins, a mark which has never been achieved.

With the win, the 2nd ranked Blue Devils become second in wins of any team in college hoops this decade, at 161 which is four ahead of 3rd place Syracuse and three game behind Kansas.

Here is what Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor had to say post game -

Coach Cutcliffe talks Sun Bowl loss

EL PASO - Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe addressed the media after his team's heartbreaking 36-31 loss to Arizona State in the 2014 Hyundai Sun Bowl. The Blue Devils battled back from an early 20-3 deficit only to watch another 4th quarter bowl game lead slip away. Despite the loss, Cutcliffe was particularly upbeat about the direction of the Duke program, thanks to an outstanding class of seniors who have led the Blue Devils to 3 straight postseason bowl games, and the most successful 2-year stretch in Duke Football history.

Duke falls to Arizona State in Sun Bowl thriller

EL PASO - For the third straight season, the Blue Devils played a thrilling bowl game. For the third straight season, they came up short. On Saturday afternoon, Arizona State emerged with the 2014 Sun Bowl victory, 36-31.

After falling in an early 20-3 deficit, Duke battled all the way back to take a 31-30 4th quarter lead on a half-back pass from senior Jamison Crowder to Issac Blakeney with 5:03 left to play. But it was not to be, as the ensuing kickoff was returned 96 yards by Kalen Ballage to the Duke 4-yard line. The Sun Devils' Taylor Kelly then quickly found Demario Richard for the 4-yard touchdown to put ASU on top for good. Anthony Boone led the Blue Devils back down the field on a 9-play, 57 yard drive, but the decisive play landed in the arms of ASU DB Kweishi Brown instead of Duke's Crowder in the back of the end zone.

The heartbreaking loss overshadowed a number of outstanding individual plays by the Blue Devils. Crowder finished the day with 7 catches and 102 yards, tying fellow Blue Devil Conner Vernon for the all-time ACC receptions record.  With Duke trailing 20-10 late in the first half, the senior All-American also returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown.  The Duke ground game was paced all day by another inspired performance from Shaquille Powell, who finished with 29 carries and 118 yards, while adding 3 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.  DeVon Edwards led the Duke defense with 14 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. Seniors Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo and Jamal Bruce each added a sack of ASU's Taylor Kelly in their final games as Blue Devils. AJ Wolf may have had the defensive play of the day for Duke, as he blew up a 4th and inches try with 9:22 left and the Blue Devils down a touchdown.  A fake punt by Will Monday found Johnell Barnes for a 30-yard gain, keeping the Duke drive alive as they trailed by a touchdown mid-way through the 4th quarter.

The Duke offense outgained the Sun Devils, 400 to 392, on the day, but lost the turnover margin 2-0; that proved to be the difference in an otherwise well-played game by both teams. A costly fumble by senior WR Issac Blakeney and Boone's late interception both came in the red zone, with the Blue Devils threatening to score. Jim Knowles' defense managed to hold Kelly and his offense to just 4 of 14 on 3rd down, and though they gave up over 100 yards to star WR Jaelen Strong, they kept him out of the end zone.

The loss drops Duke to 9-4 on the 2014 season, and still in search of their first bowl victory since 1961. The Sun Bowl marks the end of an era of sorts for the Blue Devils, as an incredible group of seniors moves on from Durham. Led by the likes of Boone, Crowder, Blakeney, and All-American OL Laken Tomlinson, this group accomplished the most successful 2-year campaign in Duke Football history. Their accomplishments should and will be celebrated at the annual football banquet on January 23, 2015.