It’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.