Category Archives: Duke Football

Duke Gets Win over Georgia Tech

The Duke Blue Devils moved to 2-1 in the ACC and 4-2 overall with a 41-23 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The game was far from pretty but the Blue Devils did what it takes to hold off the Yellow Jackets.

Duke reeled off 38 straight points in the 1st half after Georgia Tech took the opening drive for a score.

The scoring started off with a 33 yards AJ Reed field goal which was the first of two for the game.

True freshman wideout Eli Pancol would later score on a 3 yard run for his third score of the season.

Duke running back Deon Jackson would add two short running scores of 1 and 7 yards. Duke QB Quentin Harris added a one-yard plunge after a career-high rush from Manteo Durant.

Georgia Tech would rebound for a quick score before the half on a James Graham 8 yard run to make the half time score 38-14.

Duke came out flat as a pancake in the 2nd half. Georgia Tech quickly added a field goal to cut the lead to 38-17. Duke added an AJ Reed FG, he has yet to miss for the season.

The Yellow Jackets then scored 8 play 41 yard drive a blocked punt to make it Duke 41-23.

The Blue Devils have struggled of late to put forth a consistent effort and they now must travel to Virginia. The Cavaliers have had the Blue Devils number and Duke will be the underdog in Charlottesville.

Duke, UNC, and Virginia all 2-1 in the league are currently all tied atop the contention crowded Coastal Division.

Can Duke Swat the Yellow Jackets?

The Duke Blue Devils return to the Brooks field this Saturday to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Wallace Wade Stadium.

About Georgia Tech

Well, those Paul Johnson-David Cutcliffe matchups are over. It may be odd for some Duke fans to not see the full-fledged option attack of the past when Duke faces the Yellow Jackets this weekend.

The Jackets are now led by first-year coach Geoff Collins and they will run a more traditional offensive system. Collins team has some capable defenders but on the offensive side of the ball, they have struggled not having scored over 24 points this season. In fact, at 1-4, they are fresh off a 38-22 loss to North Carolina a week ago.

The key for Georgia Tech will be to try and get off to a quick start against Duke. Teams that have done so, have given the Blue Devils headaches. The Yellow Jackets will seek to control the ball via their run game while hoping their defense can slow down Quentin Harris and the offense.

About Duke

The Blue Devils must put the Pitt loss behind them and that is easier said than done. A week ago, a horrid start doomed Duke as their comeback fell short in a highly frustrating loss to Pitt where they did not protect their home field.

Duke is a heavy favorite in this game where the line is Duke by 17.5. If the Blue Devils play up to their capabilities, this should be their fourth win on the season. In fact, this is a must-win for bowl hopes in that Duke will be the underdog in most of their remaining games where things currently stand,

The Blue Devils are a pretty good football team, but the aforementioned schedule leaves no room for losing close games as happened a week ago. Duke should be able to slow down Georgia Tech with its defense which had to deal with the offense's mistakes a week ago.

What will happen

Duke may get out of the gate a little slow but they should shake off the funk of a week ago for the win. The Blue Devils may rest some borderline injured players in this one as well, but they will look to bounce back with a good overall performance. The key will be to not look ahead to a game at Virginia and take care of the business at hand.

I dropped to 4-1 on my straight-up picks and stand at 4-1 vs the spread. I hope to bounce back this week as well. The pick here is Duke 37 Georgia Tech 11

Can Duke Finally Defeat Pitt? Preview

The Duke Blue Devils host the Pitt Panthers on Durham Day this Saturday evening at 8:00 on Brooks Field in Wallace Wade Stadium.  Make no mistake, this is a critical game for both teams, so we can expect a physical and spirited match up.

About Pitt

The Pitt Panthers are the defending Coastal Division champions and they have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball.  The Panthers have defeated Duke in four consecutive outings and even the last Duke win came in overtime.

The Panthers opened their season with a loss to Virginia and played highly ranked Penn State to a one-score game on the road.  They rebounded well to win three games, including a win over Central Florida, a team which has been a power the last few years..

Last week, they held out a bunch of starters in a win over Delaware.  Pitt was without starting quarterback Kenny Picket last week.  Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi confirmed on Thursday that he would play.  In short, Pitt took advantage of a lesser opponent to rest their key players for this week's game.

Pitt has big receivers which will test Duke more than any team since Alabama.  They also have some veterans on the defensive side of the ball.  They are a solid football team, right down to their special teams which really comes after opposing punters.

A Panther strength is their pass rush where they have a whopping 24 sacks this season.  That is the 2nd most in the entire nation and a reason they are 3-2 against a tough early-season schedule.

Narduzzi has a way of imparting his confidence in his team.  A defensive guy, he harped all week on how many yards they gave up against Delaware.  But make no mistake, he is confident.  While he talks respect of Duke there seem to be an underlying sarcasm in some of his statements

The Pitt head man all but gave Duke some bulletin board material yesterday during a media session.  He basically said his team played a bad game against Virginia and they wanted another shot after saying his team would be well prepared for Duke watching the film all week.  The kicker was when he said I wish we played Virginia at 8:00 and Duke at noon.  I guess he thinks they could survive Duke and still have enough left over for Virginia.

Anyhow, Pitt is cocky, talented, always physical and confident.

About Duke

The Blue Devils must put a big program win over Virginia Tech behind them.  The performance was stellar, but Pitt is an upgrade in competition.

Duke comes into the game 1-0 in league lay and 3-1 overall and they hope to protect their home field.   The hope is to have some local residents in the stand for Durham Day, but a negative intangible is that the students are on Fall break.

Quintin Harris has had a great season to date, but he will face a vicious rush.  It is encouraging that Duke has allowed a single sack on the season.

The Duke secondary came up with their first interception of the season against the Hokies.  They will be tested in this game, so perhaps the Blue Devils rush can get to the Pitt quarterback.  The lack of finishing plays when in position has bugged Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

Duke lost Brittain Brown for the season this past week, but overall they are pretty healthy.  With a tough slate this season, each game is critical for Duke bowl aspirations.

What will happen

My prediction last week was not as close as previous games but I am 4-0 straight up on the season and 4-0 against the spread.  Duke is currently a slight 3.5 favorite in this game which seems to infuriate the Panthers who have quite simply had Duke's number.

We know we will get some football weather and both teams will have to deal with a late 8:00 kickoff.  Pitt does not want to drop to 0-2 in the league and Duke wants to make a run at the Coastal, so they need a win.

Which team can play four full quarters of football?  Duke has fallen short in the area against Pitt, but this is a new opportunity.  I expect a very competitive and physical game.  With these two, points can come in droves as witnessed by past scores, but on paper, both defenses look pretty good.

At some point, Duke has to get out from under the Pitt shadow, right?  Well, it will not be easy but I am counting on Duke rising to the occasion.  To do so, they need a quicker start than a week ago and remain aggressive without too many gambles.

The pick here is Duke 31 Pitt 24

A Program Win for Duke Football

The end of the first quarter came to a close in Blacksburg last evening and Duke trailed Virginia Tech 3-0.  The Blue Devils could not even manage ten yards of offense and there was not a single first down on the ledger.

What happened next has people talking about Duke Football and David Cutcliffe for the Blue Devils went on to outscore the favored Hokies by a score of 45-7.

When the dust cleared, Duke had dominated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 45-10 in a game that served notice to the nation.  The Blue Devils won their ACC opener in grand style before a nationally televised audience on ESPN.

The Blue Devils were so dominant that they sent Virginia Tech fans to the exits with their first score in the third quarter. Duke also spoiled the Hokies white-out party where former head coach Frank Beamer and player Michael Vick were on the sidelines.

This was one of David Cutcliffe's finest moments, but it was also one for the program on the whole.  Duke not only won by their largest margin on the road ever under their long-time coach, but they handed a traditionally strong program their worst defeat since 1950.

It is hard to know where to start when talking about the positives from the win.  Quintin Harris was once again solid accounting for three touchdowns as the new leader of the team.  He gained a team-leading 100 yards in rushing including an explosive back-breaking 42-yard jaunt to go with two passing touchdowns.

Tight end, Noah Gray caught two touchdown passes.  The first came on a one-play drive after a turnover.  Turnover was a sweet word on the evening.  Duke recovered a fumble which led to a score and a momentum swing and the secondary got their first interception on the season from Leon Johnson.

True freshman wideout, Jalon Calhoun connected on a double-pass trick play to Deon Jackson for a score.  And this is where I mention Duke offensive coordinator Zac Roper called a near-perfect game for three-quarters.

And on defense, the Blue Devils held the Hokies offensive attack to 259 yards.  But a closer look shows that if you take away two plays, a 45-yard run and a 72-yard touchdown pass the Hokies gained a mere 142 yards.

Duke limited explosive plays while making some of their own.  And when their strategy failed them in the first quarter, they made adjustments that drove their opponent mad.  The change of pace on offense and the personnel packages was quite simply masterful coaching.

And then there was the special teams play.  Josh Blackwell almost broke a return save a slip.  AJ Reed stayed perfect on the season with a 31-yard field goal.  And punter Austin Parker rolled for 28 yards on a fake punt, which interestingly gives him bragging rights for the highest yards per carry of any player on the team this season.

Back to the defensive side of the ball, Duke senior linebacker Koby Quansah was stellar.  He recovered that key fumble and was a part of 13 tackles and a half of a sack.  On a night when Duke managed a single sack, their secondary played well shutting down Hokies quarterback Ryan Willis for all but a handful of plays.

Another highlight for Duke was getting backup quarterback Chris Katrenick some snaps.  And he wanted in on the fun as well as witnessed by his 9-yard run for a score to mark the final margin of victory.

While Duke got off to a miserable start, they showed off some maturity that has not always been there in the past.  The players were clearly tougher, more physical and quicker than their opponent and they let it show.

I cannot help but wonder if David Cutcliffe wanted to show the nation more about Duke football on a Friday night to remember.  Duke dressed in their black uniforms played the tough guy role on this occasion and did so with authority.

It is no secret Daniel Jones has had a great NFL debut, but some in the media felt the need to take shots at Duke Football when speaking of him.  Nevermind the team has been to 6 bowls in the last 7 seasons.  So, perhaps last nights performance will make some of them come around as they did with the aforementioned Jones.

Wins like the one over Virginia Tech cannot help but gain some attention and Duke likely helped itself with any possible recruits watching or seeing the result.

So, this was a program win.  Duke Gang should be proud as should the fans who ought to turn out in appreciation next Saturday when the team takes on Pitt.

While this is an ultimate feel-good moment for Duke alumni, family, friends and fans, the Blue Devils will soon need to go back to work to continue to build on their most recent accomplishment.  That is, of course,  after some well deserved weekend celebration.

Duke has a two-game homestand coming up in Wallace Wade Stadium on Brooks Field and fans will hopefully turn out to support the team.  The next step in the journey is to solve one of the most physical teams in football -- the Pitt Panthers.

As David Cutcliffe likes to say, "Are you ready for some football?"

Duke Condensed Game Highlights

The Duke Blue Devils handed the Virginia Tech Hokies their worst loss since joining the ACC with a 45-10 win.  Duke moves to 1-0 in the ACC and 3-1 overall on the season.  We will be talking of this epic victory soon enough but until then here is the condensed game (18:32) to watch or rewatched for your pleasure.  Duke had some outstanding highlights, so check it out.



Duke-Virginia Tech Friday Night Lights

Duke will take on Virginia Tech tonight at 7:00 on ESPN in a rare Friday night appearance.  The stakes are more than a little high for both teams find themselves at a season crossroads.  Both teams are 2-1 and while this is the ACC opener for Duke, Virginia Tech lost to Boston College in their opening game.  Since that time, the Hokies have won two straight games as have the Blue Devils.  To say this game is huge in a quest for competing in the Coastal Division is an understatement.  What does it all mean?  It will be a tense game where both teams lay it on the line.

About the Hokies

Expectations are always high in Blacksburg and this season is an important one for their head coach, Justin Fuente.  Hokies fans are currently mildly depressed that the team struggled to defeat Furman and Old Dominion, but that is because they are spoiled by lineage and expect a lot.

In hindsight, the 14 point win over Old Dominion looks much better now after they almost took down Virginia.  What I am saying is there is some overreaction by some in Blacksburg.  It is also clear, the Hokies have plenty of size and talent where they can throw two running backs at teams and a large offensive front.

While the Hokies have moved some people around on the offensive front, they are huge.  They also are likely to try to establish their running game more and like Duke, have had an off week to adjust their system.

Virginia Tech also hired respected former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill to their staff.  This means, they have had a lot of people studying Duke on film.  The Hokies main strength is the their quarterback, Ryan Willis.  He chewed up the Duke defense a season ago in a 31-14 win over a then-ranked and undefeated Duke team.  That loss sent Duke reeling for a bit before they found their way to a sixth win.

The bottom line is the Hokies in Blacksburg will lay it all on the line.  They have tall wideouts, a defense coached by a legendary Bud Foster.

About the Blue Devils

Duke coach David Cutcliffe has a solid relationship with Fuente and Foster.  But he and his staff must put that aside and have an almost perfect effort to win their ACC opener.  Duke has looked good since their season-opening loss to #2 Alabama.

A big reason for Duke winning their last two games has been the play of senior quarterback Quentin Harris.  The dual-threat Harris has been able to blend in well with pretty much an all new and very young group of receivers.

Last year, one of the more disappointing losses came at home to the Hokies.  In that game, Duke was undefeated and ranked but fell behind quickly and let down a capacity crowd in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The measuring stick for this season comes against the Hokies.  This is a huge game for the Blue Devils, who own one of the nations most difficult schedules.  In short, they need this win for bowl aspirations.

Duke is more than capable of coming out with a win.  But an untimely turnover or lack of early aggression could derail their hopes.  But it will also take four quarters of football and the thought here is Duke wants to be in the game in the fourth quarter.

What needs to happen for a win

Duke did not get pressure on Ryan Willis a season ago and if they allow him time he will pick them apart.  It has been a very long time since the Duke secondary has come away with an interception, so one of those to break the ice would surely help.  Duke will need to be resilient for they can expect some haymakers thrown their way.

What will happen

Firstly, I see a close game.  Virginia Tech opened as a 7 point favorite and that has dropped to 3.  I have seen that kind of movement go both ways, so while I am 3-0 straight up and 3-0 against the spread with predictions, I am swaying back and forth on what will happen tonight.

Conventional wisdom says pick the Hokies for the win.  It has been a few years since Duke won this game in overtime when Thomas Sirk showed the blueprint on how to win.  That blueprint was to play hard and when punched, punch harder.

I think Duke held Quentin Harris back a little when they went to an option a week ago.  But can Duke show enough new wrinkles to overcome the like of Jerry Kill helping the Hokies out or Bud Foster adjusting his defense after a bye week?

When teams get a week off, some improve greatly.  I think this will happen with the Hokies who feel they have to play better football.  On the other hand, Cutcliffe teams play well with time to prepare,

To date, the Hokies have turned the ball over a lot this season.  But a week off may cure that.  On the other side of the ball, the Duke defense has forced just 3 turnovers and had to steal a possession against Middle Tennessee State with an onside kick.

My common gut says to pick the Hokies 34-28.  My heart says it is time for Duke to win 31-28.

In short, this one can go either way.  For more on the intangibles and things I will not mention here, join Blue Devil Nation during our yearly special.

The pick is Duke 28-27