Category Archives: Duke Football

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

DSC_0090

Goin’ Coastal: inside the division race

After highly competitive races the past two seasons, it’s no surprise that the ACC Coastal Division remains up for grabs again in 2014 as we hit the half-way mark of the season. The Blue Devils thrust themselves back into the discussion with an impressive road victory at Georgia Tech on Saturday, and will take aim at current division leader Virginia this weekend.

At the start of the season, Coach Cutcliffe joked that one could easily flip the preseason Coastal Division predictions and it ultimately may be more accurate. Thus far, his words have proven prophetic, as Virginia, picked last by the media, finds themselves in first place. Meanwhile, preseason favorite Miami finds itself in sixth place, just ahead of preseason #23 North Carolina.

Here’s a quick recap of where the Coastal Division stands after six games, and a quick look at what’s ahead.

1. Virginia (4-2, 2-0)
Undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises within the ACC so far this year, Virginia is off to a 2-0 conference start after victories at home over Louisville and Pittsburgh. While they rank in the middle of the ACC in scoring offense and defense, they have been particularly tough against the run, holding opponents to just 2.7 yards per carry and also leading the conference with 19 forced turnovers. The road for the Wahoos gets tough from here on out, as they are likely to be underdogs in at least 4 of their remaining 6 games.
Final 6: @ Duke, vs. UNC, @ GT, @ FSU, vs. Miami, @ VT

2. Georgia Tech (5-1, 2-1)
The Yellow Jackets appeared poised to take control of the Coastal race with consecutive wins over Virginia Tech and Miami, but fell to Duke at home last Saturday. Though they feature a formidable rushing offense, Ted Roof will need to shore up his defense for Georgia Tech to keep their division title hopes alive. The Ramblin’ Wreck is allowing opponents to average 5.4 yards per carry and complete over 45% on 3rd down. With 4 of their final 6 on the road, Paul Johnson will have to rally his troops in enemy territory.
Final 6: @ UNC, @ Pitt, vs. UVA, @ NCSU, vs. Clemson, @ UGA

3. Duke (5-1, 1-1)
The Blue Devils cruised through their nonconference slate before falling to a talented and motivated Miami team in their conference opener. An open date seemed to be just the fix for Coach Cutcliffe’s squad, as Duke returned to form in a win over Georgia Tech. A balanced offensive attack behind a strong offensive line, coupled with their bend-but-don’t-break defense, could be just enough for the Blue Devils to repeat as Coastal Division champions. Duke finishes with 4 of 6 games at home, including their final three.
Final 6: vs. UVA, @ Pitt, @ Syracuse, vs. VT, vs. UNC, vs. WF

4. Virginia Tech (4-2, 1-1)
After a week 2 victory at Ohio State, the Hokies looked like the class of the Coastal Division, but came crashing back to earth with consecutive home losses against ECU and Georgia Tech. When they’re at their best, Virginia Tech is dominant on 3rd down, converting nearly 50% and holding opponents to less than 25%. They remain in the red on their turnover margin for the season, and are still searching for offensive consistency with Michael Brewer under center. The Hokies have a favorable remaining schedule and could easily re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the Coastal.
Final 6: @ Pitt, vs. Miami, vs. BC, @ Duke, @ WF, vs. UVA

5. Pitt (3-3, 1-1)
After a 3-0 start, the Panthers quickly spiraled into a 3-game losing streak, including a 24-19 loss in Charlottesville. James Conner is among the top rushers in the league, but Pitt has struggled to replace Tom Savage and Devin Street, ranking near the bottom of the conference in passing offense. Paul Chryst needs to find more ways to get the ball to the explosive Tyler Boyd if the Panthers hope to get back on track. They do finish with 4 of their final 6 at home, including a critical Thursday night matchup this week with Virginia Tech.
Final 6: vs. VT, vs. GT, vs. Duke, @ UNC, vs. Syracuse, @ Miami

6. Miami (4-3, 1-2)
The Hurricanes were picked to finish first in the Coastal for a second straight season, but have thus far disappointed. There is no questioning the talent on the Miami roster, but the execution simply hasn’t been consistent. The Hurricanes, with a freshman quarterback, rank near the bottom of the conference in 3rd down conversions and have already coughed up 16 turnovers. Duke Johnson is one of the most explosive players in the country, but only averages 15 carries per game. Miami does have a bye week before tough games at Virginia Tech and at home against Florida State.
Final 5: @ VT, vs. UNC, vs. FSU, @ UVA, vs. Pitt

7. North Carolina (2-4, 0-2)
After a 2-0 start, the Tar Heels have spiraled into a 4-game losing streak as they get ready to host Georgia Tech this Saturday. A year ago, the Tar Heels actually opened 1-5 and 0-3 in the ACC before reeling off 5 straight wins, so anything is possible. To turn this season around, Larry Fedora is going to have to find a way to stop opposing offenses. The Tar Heels are giving up over 500 yards and 43 points per game. With 2 rivalry games to close out their season, anything is possible.
Final 6: vs. GT, @ UVA, @ Miami, vs. Pitt, @ Duke, vs. NCSU

The division is clearly still wide open, but it’s worth mentioning that Duke does control their own destiny after their win over Georgia Tech. The next two games are crucial for the Blue Devils, as they host the first-place Cavaliers and travel to Pittsburgh out of their second bye week. Virginia Tech remains very much alive with a favorable schedule the rest of the way, and a November 15th showdown in Wallace Wade Stadium could be decisive.

Tickets for Duke’s stretch run are still available here, both for single game and package sales.

Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. Six

Another week of high school football is in the books and Blue Devil Nation is here with an update on the gridiron exploits of future Blue Devils as well as Duke recruiting targets. Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. 6 commences with a look at the two 2016 commits:

After verbally committing to Duke on Friday afternoon, 2016 running back Elijah Deveaux rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries Friday night as Charlotte Christian defeated Carolina Pride 62-19.

2016 wide receiver Scott Bracey caught a 44 yard touchdown pass as Benedictine defeated Bishop Ireton 29-26 on Saturday afternoon.

Moving on to future Blue Devils in the Class of 2015:

Wide receiver T.J. Rahming had three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown as McEachern defeated North Cobb 48-28. Rahming’s touchdown catch covered 43 yards. He also rushed three times for 41 yards.

Wide receiver Keyston Fuller caught a 74 yard touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter as Griffin defeated Mt. Zion-Jonesboro 41-16. Fuller was the game’s leading receiver with three receptions for 81 yards.

Wide receiver Aaron Young returned a kick-off to the opponent’s 48 yard line to setup the tying touchdown and Murrieta Valley went on to defeat Murrieta Mesa 50-47 in overtime.

Quarterback Quentin Harris threw two touchdown passes for 61 and nine yards, but Taft School fell to Choate 58-13. Harris completed 36 of 56 pass attempts for 309 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Top 2015 running back target Nyheim Hines ran for 147 yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries as Garner destroyed Clayton 63-10.

In the amazing performances category, 2015 running back target Albert Funderburke rushed for a Union County record 457 yards in Sun Valley’s 74-58 win over Piedmont. Funderburke rushed for five touchdowns including two of 71 yards each. His other three touchdown runs covered 42, 35 and seven yards.

Duke-GT

Duke Holds Off Georgia Tech

Duke-GTThe Duke Blue Devils evened their conference record to 1-1 on the season with a 31-25 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.  Their overall record now stands at 5-1 which puts them just one win from bowl eligibility.  The next win would mark the third straight season Duke will go to a bowl under the watch of head coach David Cutcliffe.

Duke used a solid running game, led by Josh Snead with 102 yards on the ground.  The Blue Devils rushed for 242 yards as a team and that helped lead them to a victory over previously undefeated and nationally ranked Georgia Tech.

With the win, Duke put itself back in the race to defend their Coastal Division crown from a season ago.  The win also sets up a key ACC matchup in Wallace Wade next week with Virginia which stands 2-0 in the division.

Duke was in control for much of the game against the Yellow Jackets, but a rally towards the end made for a close game.  The Blue Devils defense bent but did not break on the first several Yellow Jacket drives.  By allowing just two early field goals in the red zone, the Duke offense was able use time of possession to their advantage.

With a strategy designed to keep the Tech offense off the field, it enabled the defense to rest.  Duke was also aided in their big win by two timely interceptions.

Zavier Carmichael halted a Tech drive with an interception of Jacket quarterback, Justin Thomas, at the Duke four yard line.  That 3rd quarter pick stalled a Tech drive when Duke was up 24-12.

Later in the 4th quarter, the Duke defense forced Thomas out of the pocket and Jeremy Cash intercepted a desperation pass.  Cash returned the ball 23 yards to the  to the Yellow Jackets 23 yard line.

The Cash pick led to a game clinching touchdown.  Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk scored twice in the teams short yardage package.  The two Sirk scores came on runs of 3 and 1 yard, the last giving the Blue Devils a commanding 31-12 lead.

But the Yellow Jackets weren’t finished.  Duke started to play a softer defense to keep the ball in front of them when the Georgia tech was forced to pass the ball.  Reserve quarterback Tim Byerly led his team to a score in a mere 57 seconds, thanks to a solid kickoff return.

After the ensuing Duke drive stalled, Byerly took the Yellow Jackets  89 yards in 9 plays.

That score led to another key moment, where Ryan Smith secured an onside kick.  That helped Duke in that the Blue Devils ran out the clock.

The victory was the first in the David Cutcliffe era against a team that had been a nemesis.  The Blue Devils didn’t play particularly well in the games closing minutes, but stellar early play secured a win.

With the win over Georgia Tech, Cutcliffe has just one ACC team left in the Coastal  Division to defeat.  That team is Pitt and the Blue Devils will travel for that game on November 1st.  Duke lost it’s inaugural game with the Panthers a season ago in a shoot out at Wallace Wade.

The Blue Devils will have little time to enjoy this win in that they take on Virginia who has been on a bye week. The Cavaliers are much improved and have played a difficult schedule to date.  And Duke is surely one of them teams that has been circled on their schedule in that Duke has had great success in the series of late.

The Blue Devils righted the ship after a loss to Miami, but the passing game continues to not be the force many felt it would be in the pre season.  Thankfully, for Duke, their running game is the best it’s been since the days of Bill Murray.  That has allowed the team to start the season with a 5-1 record before they get into the meat of their ACC schedule.