Duke RB Shaun Wilson set the school record with 245 rushing yards Saturday.

Time To Give These Devils Their Due

DSC_0002-001It’s time to start giving the Devils their due.  Duke had to tough out a win over division rival Virginia today by a 20-13 score in Wallace Wade Stadium.  In doing so they pushed their ACC record to 2-1 and their overall tally to 6-1.

In case you haven’t noticed, Duke has now become bowl eligible for the third consecutive October under Coach David Cutcliffe.  Duke is still trying to get better and will continue to recruit better athletes due to on the field success.  But this is now a true football program and no longer one building towards that goal.

Today’s win wasn’t always pretty but it was effective on many levels.  Duke did not commit a turnover against a team that had 19 take away plays coming into the game which ranked them 2nd in the nation in that category.  The Blue Devils also had ten pass deflections by their defensive unit and as Coach Cutcliffe said post game, that is not the norm.

There is more.  The offensive front didn’t allow a single sack.  And Anthony Boone?  He admitted to struggling throwing the ball at times today and his coach did as well.  But Boone is a remarkable 16-1 as a starting quarterback in regular season games.

No matter where you look these days, be it the home side crowd which stayed into the game to the last second or the results, Duke Football is getting it done.  And there is upside which includes stadium facilities improvements to come and recruiting success will continue.

Make no mistake, going into an off week with consecutive ACC wins is huge for this team.  The 6-1 start represents the best beginning since the 1994 season.  It’s been since the long ago year of 1944 since Duke Football has had three consecutive 5-2 records or better and Cutcliffe has achieved that.

In fact, it is clear now that Duke has one of the best coaches in America in David Cutcliffe and a team poised to possibly enter the Top 25 this week.  It’s amazing what a win will do and Cutcliffe continues to deliver them to fans in droves.

It’s an exciting time for the Duke fan base these days.  And for those who have long suffered through lean years, the resurgence is starting to sink in.  Some actually seem a bit taken aback by the success and those fans are getting used to dare I say it?  Winning.

There’s plenty of work yet to be done this season for the Blue Devils.  But make no mistake about it, they control their own destiny just as much as they did a year ago when they won the Coastal Division Championship.

Duke rode the back of Shaquille Powell today in the second half.  That coupled with a great passing play where Thomas Sirk hit David Reeves with a jump pass helped Duke escape with a needed win.

Moving forward, the Blue Devils will have to play on the road against Pittsburgh and Syracuse.  They then finish the year with three home games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest.  All of the games are winnable and how many times could Duke fans even dream of that in the past few decades?

Coming into the season, many felt Duke would fall back a bit, but going into the bye week all looks rosy.  The Blue Devils still have to take care of business but how fun will it  be for a fan base to watch their team try to achieve goals?  And those same fans are sure relish these precious moments as their team continues to build on success.

It’s time to give these Cutcliffe led Devils their due, for they’re pretty darn resilient if not flat-out good.

Coach Cutcliffe 11-16-13

Coach Cutcliffe Post-Game: Duke 20, Virginia 13

DURHAM – Duke Head Coach Cutcliffe was clearly pleased with his team’s effort in a 20-13 Homecoming win on over Virginia on Saturday. He pointed out his defense’s 10 pass break-ups, the play of the offensive line, and an emotional boost from Shaquille Powell as keys to the victory. Duke is now 6-1, tied for 1st place in the ACC Coastal Division, and bowl-eligible for the 3rd straight year as they head into a second bye week.

 

Anthony Boone 10-18-14

Duke offense discusses 20-13 win over Virginia

DURHAM – Duke RB Shaquille Powell led two second-half scoring drives for the Blue Devils in their 20-13 victory over Virginia. Powell, who missed last week with a leg injury, returned to finish with 6.2 yards per carry against a highly-touted Virginia front seven. He received a standing ovation in the post-game locker room from his teammates for his efforts in the midst of his younger brother’s battle with a Wilms’ tumor. 

Senior quarterback Anthony Boone led Duke to yet another victory, moving to 16-1 as a starter in regular season games, moving him to second on the Blue Devils’ all-time list. He finished the day 22-37 for 176 yards and 1 toucdown, and perhaps most importantly, led the Blue Devils to no turnovers on the afternoon.

Senior WR Jamison Crowder once again led the Blue Devil receiving corps with 88 yards on 8 catches. He has had at least 2 catches in 35 straight games. He joined Conner Vernon and Clarkston Hines today in the 3,000 yard receiver club at Duke.

The game ball today probably is split between the aforementioned Powell and the Blue Devil offensive line. Entering today’s game, Virginia was among the top defenses in the country, forcing 19 turnovers, 23 sacks, and 43 tackles for loss. On Saturday, they finished without a single turnover, sack, or tackle for loss. Duke averaged 5.2 yards on the ground, nearly twice the season average of Virginia’s opponents entering today. Senior OL Takoby Cofield discussed the big victory and bowl eligibility.

Anthony Boone 8-30-14

Preview: Virginia at Duke

Anthony Boone 8-30-14Virginia at Duke
12:30 PM ET
Saturday, October 18
Durham, NC
TV: ACC Network (Affiliates)
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 92 and XM Ch 194
Duke in 2014: 5-1 (1-1 ACC)
Virginia in 2014: 4-2 (2-0 ACC)

DUKE INJURIES

PROBABLE
DE Dezmond Johnson (leg)
RB Shaquille Powell (leg) 

OUT
TE Dan Beilinson (upper body)
CB Johnathan Lloyd (lower body)
OL Trip McNeill (lower body)
DT Jamal Wallace (lower body)

VIRGINIA INJURIES

OUT
John Babcock (lower extremity)
Ryan Doull (medical)
Michael Guerci (lower extremity)
Tyler Lewris (lower extremity)
Jackson Matteo (lower extremity)
Demetrious Nicholson (lower extremity)
Jay Whitmire (medical)
Andrew Will (medical)

It’s Homecoming Weekend in Durham as the Blue Devils play host to the Coastal Division leading Virginia Cavaliers. Duke mounted an impressive comeback a year ago to defeat UVA 35-22 in Charlottesville. Under Coach Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils have won 5 of 6 games against the Wahoos, but still trail the all-time series 32-33.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

Ball security, ball security, ball security. Virginia ranks second in the country in takeaways with 19 through their first 6 games. Ten of those turnovers were fumbles, and seven of those were quarterback fumbles. Anthony Boone will will have to place great value on the football on Saturday, especially avoiding junior DB Maurice Canady in the secondary and senior DE Henry Coley in the backfield. Freshman safety Quin Blanding leads the ACC in tackles, and junior DE Eli Harold is another explosive pass-rusher. Simply put, the Virginia defense is loaded with playmakers, and will be the toughest test for this Blue Devil offense all year.

Duke will have to win the battle in the trenches to win the game on Saturday. It’s strength vs. strength, as the Blue Devils have averaged 225 yards rushing and 6.0 yards per carry through the first half of their season, while the Wahoos allow only 91.5 yards rushing and 2.7 yards per carry.  Similarly, Virginia has totaled 23 sacks on the season while Duke has allowed just 4. In all likelihood, the winner of the battle in the trenches will ultimately be the winner on the scoreboard.

DSC_0139HOW VIRGINIA CAN WIN

After a tough 2013, Mike London and his staff have found a formula for success in 2014; it all starts with this Virginia defense. The Cavaliers’ have an experienced secondary, but the strength is in the front seven. This group completely shut down one of the top rushers in the country in their last outing against Pittsburgh. They sacked UCLA’s Brett Hundley 5 times. They held a strong BYU rushing attack to under 4.0 yards per carry. Ten fumble recoveries and nine interceptions on the season have led to extra possessions for their offense. Expect the Virginia front 7 to focus on stopping the Blue Devil rushing attack, forcing Duke into obvious passing situations. Much like Miami, the Cavaliers believe they can match up with Duke’s receivers, and will dare Anthony Boone to beat them with his arm.

Offensively, Virginia features two seniors at the skill positions in RB Kevin Parks and WR Darius Jennings. Parks averages 71 rushing yards per game, while Jennings has already caught 13 receptions of 20 or more yards. Sophomore Greyson Lambert appears poised to return this week, but Duke is likely to see some of fellow sophomore Matt Johns as well. An inexperienced offensive line has performed well thus far, allowing just 5 sacks on the season.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

Over the past two seasons, Duke is 7-0 when favored at Wallace Wade Stadium. Under Coach Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils are 5-1 against UVA and 3-0 at home. For whatever reason, Duke seems to have Virginia’s number. Expect this to be a highly competitive Coastal Division showdown, with the Blue Devils pulling away in the second half behind Anthony Boone’s best game of 2014. Duke’s defense will be bolstered by the return of Dez Johnson and have success slowing the Cavaliers’ offense. Jim Knowles and his defense continue to find ways to stall opponents in the red zone; when the Duke defense is on the field,  Jeremy Cash will once again prove to be the best player on the field. A few key special teams plays will give Duke a boost, and Max McCaffrey will again fight his way into the end zone.

DSC_0059BOTTOM LINE

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that anything can happen in the ACC Coastal Division. The Duke offense will face a stiff test on Saturday, but redshirt-senior QB Anthony Boone and his slowly-healing receivers appear poised for a break-out game.

Duke 31, Virginia 27