Category Archives: Duke Football

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All-ACC safety Jeremy Cash to return for senior season

DURHAM, N.C. – Two-time All-America safety Jeremy Cash will return to Duke for his final season of eligibility in 2015, head coach David Cutcliffe announced on Thursday.  Cash graduated from Duke this past December with a degree in psychology and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in liberal studies.

A 6-2, 205-pound native of Miami, Fla., Cash has earned All-America honors in each of his two seasons with the Blue Devils while helping Duke to a two-year record of 19-8, the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship and consecutive bowl game appearances.

In 27 career games at Duke, Cash has compiled 232 tackles, 20.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, six interceptions, 11 pass breakups, seven QB pressures, six caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries.  He has reached double figures in the tackle column 10 times including a career-high 14 stops against both Georgia Tech and Troy in 2013.  Additionally, Cash has posted six or more tackles in 23 games with the Blue Devils.

As a team captain in 2014, Cash recorded 111 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions, seven pass breakups, five QB pressures, four caused fumbles and one fumble recovery en route to earning second team All-America honors from both the Walter Camp Foundation and Football Writers Association of America.  He is the only defensive back in the nation to record 100-plus tackles, 10.0-plus tackles for loss and 5.0-plus sacks this past season.

In the ACC, Cash ranked third in caused fumbles per game (0.31), eighth in tackles per game (8.54), tied for 12th in sacks per game (0.42), tied for 18th in passes defended per game (0.69) and tied for 18th in tackles for loss per game (0.81).  He twice earned ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors following performances against Miami and Georgia Tech.

The Blue Devils are coming off last season’s 9-4 campaign which included a second place finish in the ACC Coastal Division and berth in the 81st Hyundai Sun Bowl against Arizona State.  Cash will spearhead a 2015 defense that returns six starters – including all five in the backfield – from a unit that ranked among the ACC leaders in scoring defense (4th; 21.8), pass efficiency defense (4th; 115.2), opponent third down percentage (4th; .344), fumble recoveries (4th; 10) and sacks per game (7th; 2.23).

 

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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.

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2014 Sun Bowl Photo Gallery

EL PASO – Blue Devil Nation was on hand to capture the highs and lows of Duke’s 36-31 Sun Bowl loss to Arizona State.

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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.

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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.

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Sun Bowl Preview: Arizona State vs Duke

DSC_0164Sun Bowl Preview: Arizona State vs Duke
2:00 PM ET
Saturday, December 27
El Paso, TX
TV: CBS

Duke in 2014: 9-3
Arizona State in 2014: 9-3

This will be the first ever meeting between Duke and Arizona State. In their last game out, on November 29, Duke defeated Wake Forest 41-21, while Arizona State lost to Arizona 42-35 on November 28. Arizona State compiled a 4-2 record against teams ranked in the Top 25 compared to a 1-0 record by Duke.

ARIZONA STATE SCOUTING REPORT

The Sun Devils are a powerful offensive team, which averages 37 points per game and features a 1,000 yard receiver and a 1,000 yard rusher. Their defensive strategy is to blitz, blitz and blitz some more while utilizing man-to-man pass coverage in the secondary. This aggressive approach has resulted in Arizona State being tied for seventh in the nation in Sacks with 39 and fifth in the nation in Tackles for Loss with 97. However, the Sun Devils are 84th in Pass Defense Efficiency.

All American wide receiver Jaelen Strong (#21) is projected to be a 1st or 2nd Round selectee in the 2015 NFL Draft. At 6’3 215 pounds, he is a big, physical receiver who uses his height to go up and get the ball. Strong, who has 75 receptions for 1,062 yards and 10 touchdowns, is going to be a big test for Duke’s secondary.

Running back D.J. Foster (#8) has rushed for 1,002 yards and nine touchdowns in 2014 and is already receiving hype as a potential 2015 Heisman Trophy candidate. Foster is also a dangerous receiver out of the backfield having recorded 59 receptions for 646 yards and three touchdowns. He is the Sun Devils second leading receiver.

There is a some uncertainty at quarterback for Arizona State. Senior Taylor Kelly (#10) will start but back up Mike Bercovici (#2) could see playing time. Kelly threw 20 touchdown passes against five interceptions in nine games this season, but he was pulled in the season finale against Arizona in favor of Bercovici.

Bercovici started three games in the middle of the season when Kelly was sidelined with a foot injury leading the Sun Devils to a 2-1 record including wins over Top 25 Stanford and USC. He threw 12 touchdowns and four interceptions on the season.

Defensive lineman Marcus Hardison (#1) has 10 quarterback sacks, 14 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Hardison is dynamic playmaker and his match up against Duke left tackle Takoby Cofield will be key to the game outcome.

Safety Damarious Randall (#3) is the team’s leading tackler with 101 and also leads the team with three interceptions.

Other players to keep an eye on include: wide receiver Cameron Smith (#6) recorded 41 receptions for 546 yards and six touchdowns; linebacker Laiu Moeakiola (#28) recorded five quarterback sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss; linebacker Salamo Fiso (#58) recorded 3.5 quarterback sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

Strong quarterback play will be the number one factor for Duke to secure a victory. Anthony Boone must manage the game plan by throwing accurate passes and executing solid reads to keep the Blue Devils offense clicking. His running skills will be important to counter Arizona State’s blitz package as the QB draw play and read option keeper could exploit the Sun Devils aggressiveness. However, the main thing Duke needs Anthony Boone to do is accurately pass the ball to Duke receivers who will be facing lots of man-on-man coverage.

The second most important factor for Duke will be achieving balance on offense. Duke is at their best when successfully running and passing the ball. Teams that have shut down Duke’s running game and forced the Blue Devils offense to be one dimensional have had success against the Blue Devils in 2014.

On defense, Duke must prevent explosive plays. Arizona State has tremendous team speed so it will be important for the Blue Devils to keep the Sun Devils in front of them. To counter Arizona State’s potent rushing attack, Duke must protect the edges with lateral quickness followed by solid open field tackling. Missed tackles will be costly against D.J. Foster and Demario Richard (#4).

Special teams play is key to winning the very important field position battle. Duke must excel in the kick and kick return game to ensure they play on a short field, while forcing Arizona State to play on a long field. The Sun Devils did not return a kick-off nor a punt for a touchdown in 2014.

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

Ball security is paramount for the Devils…make that the Blue Devils. Duke cannot turn the ball over to Arizona State’s high octane offense and be successful. If Duke has trouble hanging on to the football, they will lose.

Anthony Boone must have time to execute the offense, make his reads and throw the ball. If he spends the afternoon being hurried, harassed and sacked, he will make costly mistakes and Duke will lose. The offensive line must protect Boone against the blitzing Sun Devils defense. Achieving success running the ball would go a long way toward slowing down the blitz.

KEYS TO THE GAME FOR DUKE

1. Strong quarterback play.
2. Achieving offensive balance.
3. Preventing explosive plays.
4. Winning the kicking game.

BOTTOM LINE

This game will be a strength against strength match up with Arizona’s blitzing defense against Duke’s offensive line, which is ranked number one in the nation in Tackles for Loss Allowed and eleventh in the nation in Sacks Allowed. The battle along the line of scrimmage will be critical.

There is an expectation the Sun Bowl will be a shootout as both the Blue Devils and the Sun Devils possess high octane offenses, but I am predicting both defenses will prove to be stouter than expected. With the over/under set at 66.5 points, the under will prevail as Duke wins their first bowl game in almost 54 years.

Duke 30, Arizona State 27