Category Archives: Duke Football

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Duke will outlast Indiana

12331363_453785051486127_663817368_nTwas the night before the bowl game and all through the house, Duke fans patiently await tomorrows match up with Indiana.  The Blue Devils have an opportunity to get their first bowl win since 1961 when they knocked off Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl and the program is hungry to do just that.

In order for Duke to come away with a win, they will have to put points on the board.  Scottie Montgomery will be making the calls one last time before he heads to East Carolina to be the Pirates next head coach.  Under his guidance, Thomas Sirk has blossomed to lead Duke in passing and rushing which is a rare thing indeed.

While Duke has been good on offense at times, their defense was a mess down the stretch and that bodes well for an Indiana team that can put points up in bunches.  In fact, it's the best offense Duke will have faced save North Carolina who scored 66 points which started the late season plummet.  Duke will also be without their leader in Jeremy Cash on the defensive side of the ball.

The Indiana offensive engine is started by Nate Sudfield who guided the Hoosiers to a Big Ten leading 491 yards a game.  But the true threat for the red clad bunch will be RB Jordan Howard and All Big Ten First Team selection who is a game changer.  The bottom line is Indiana can flat-out get on a roll on offense and they scored on everybody they played no matter the competition.

The Hoosiers are also coached by UNC alum Kevin Wilson, but while his team has been good on offense, the defense has been suspect. They are led by LB Marcus Oliver but they are not especially intimidating and this is where Duke needs to take advantage.  For that to happen, Duke needs to establish their running game and hit on some big plays while not turning the ball over.

As we approach the game, it will not be as cold as it normally is in New York this time of year, so that means no sloppy field.  Both teams will have to adjust to the atmosphere as well in Yankee Stadium which is unique in every way.  Duke sold their full allotment of tickets with the lat 1600 or so going to military and first response families.

The game shapes up as a good one where folks are expecting a track meet and lot's of scoring.  The over/under in the game is a whopping 72 points which is the second most of any bowl game played per projection.  Duke also comes in as a 3 point underdog.

Anything other than a win would be disappointing for Duke and the same can be said for Indiana.  The Hoosiers have the momentum coming in but Duke has historically done well in bowl games with time to prepare.

With that said it's time for the game prediction and the feeling here is that Duke will outlast Indiana and raise the trophy at day's end in the Bronx, New York.

Duke 41 Indiana 38

 

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Duke vs Indiana – Early Take

12049550_10206816510725398_728020460820336930_nThere is no further proof of progress for the Duke Football program than the fact they accepted their fourth consecutive bowl bid under David Cutcliffe.  The Blue Devils have become a main stay on bowl selection Sunday and the future remains bright.  But Duke will once again face a very tough match up, this time with an Indiana team that can score in bunches.  The New Era Pinstripe Bowl knows what it's doing during its short time on the bowl front.  Their bowl committee knows how to create fireworks and this match up points to a high scoring affair in famed Yankee Stadium.  The game will kick off the day after Christmas at 3:30 on ABC.  Here are some initial thoughts on the match up -

Both Teams Are Hungry

Indiana will be playing in their third bowl game in twenty-three seasons.  They have steadily improved under head coach Kevin WIlson and they rolled over in state rival Purdue on the road for the opportunity to keep playing.  To have a winning season against what was a challenging schedule they need a season capping victory.   While going to bowl games has now become common place for Duke, they have yet to win one in some time.  The last bowl win for the program was in 1961 when they won the Cotton Bowl over Arkansas.  If nothing else motivates Duke, the chance to get this long time monkey off it's back should.

Why Indiana is a Dangerous Opponent

In some corners, the fan base is saying this is a bowl game Duke should win.  But a further look at the match up shows it will be far from easy.  Firstly, Indiana played in the best conference this season in the Big Ten.  They come into the game with more momentum than Duke having beaten Maryland on the road 47-28 and rival Purdue in their house 54-36. in their last two outings.

The Hoosiers feature one of the the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten in Nate Sudfeld who has 3184 yards through the air and 24 touchdowns. The X-Factor is running back Jordan Howard who rushed for 1213 yards.  He did that in just nine games for he has battled injuries.  Most recently he tore through the Wolverines defense for 238 yards,  When the Hoosier offense is clicking nobody stops them and that always seems to be the case when Howard is healthy.

Indiana lost games to Ohio State 34-27, Michigan 48-41 and Iowa 35-27.  Those are quality opponents where they came up one score short from being even.   The Hoosiers have the 22nd best scoring offense in the nation while playing  in arguably the best conference division in college football.

On the Other Hand

Indiana let's up 37,1 ppg on defense which is translates into the 116th in the country.  They can be stopped as witnessed by Penn State allowing the a season low 7 points.  Their second lowest total was 26 to Michigan State.  There is one common opponent with Duke in Wake Forest.  The Hoosiers won that game 31-24 in Winston Salem.  The Deacons scored two late touchdowns to make the game seem closer than it actually was.  Still, teams have had success in scoring on the Hoosiers and the Duke offense will have to do so in order to come away with a win.

12065610_10206816508645346_5696463976488677169_nWhere is Duke Mentally?

After rolling to a 6-1 start the ridiculously controversial loss to Miami seemed to knock the Blue Devils flat on their back.  A talented UNC team really put a beat down on Duke hanging 66 points on the Blue Devils.  The team was reeling until they toughed out a win over Wake Forest. But even that win was not easy and the Blue Devils have not played their best football since early October.  Now Duke faces an opponent tailor-made to keep their defensive woes in the late season an issue of concern.  A major key will be for the staff to get the Blue Devils mind-set to where it was at the beginning of the season.

Duke Usually Prepares Well

The Blue Devils have been underdogs in each of their bowl match ups.  But they have always put on a good show for fans, especially when they almost defeated Texas A & M and Johnny Manziel a bit back.  Not many have given Duke a chance against some very tough draws.  In fact, Arizona State and Texas A & M were both top ten teams to start their seasons before slightly stumbling.  The Blue Devils will start practice Saturday and they have plenty to figure out a game plan.

Can Duke Flip It

Duke has been a few finger tips away from having better results on both sides of the ball.  The defense has struggled to produce turnovers and the secondary has been suspect at certain positions. The offense has not had that one game where it has all come together in both passing and rushing against a big  time opponent, save Virginia Tech.  A little better passing touch and crisper routes in the passing game can open up the flood gates against a suspect Indiana defense.  Make no mistake that Indiana is a quality opponent in that they played a very tough schedule and did some good things while doing so.  A win over the Hoosiers could allow Duke quite the hook to hang their hat on going into the off season with a bowl game trophy in the Yoh Center to show the continued progress,  Duke will be playing in a fully renovated Wallace Wade Stadium next season and they want nothing more than to hoist some hardware before that happens.

12045795_10206816510445391_3897396623502817468_oTicket Availability

Go to GoDuke.com to purchase tickets in that you will be guaranteed to sit with the Duke contingent.  Duke is banking on their solid alumni base in the New York area to turn out and it is important that happens.  With the game being the day after Christmas it does present some travel and logistical issues for some of the local fan base.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out but an opportunity to play in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is an attractive draw.  It is important to keep in mind that bowl game attendance is a vital factor on selection day each year.  If you can make it to the game, and support Duke,  please do so.  The phone number for tickets is 919-681 BLUE (2583).

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Duke Accepts Pinstripe Bowl Invite

16-672x372The Duke Blue Devils officially accepted a bid to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl which is held is prestigious Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.  The Blue Devils will be going bowling for the fourth consecutive season under head coach David Cutcliffe.

The Blue Devils will take on Indiana from the Big Ten in an attractive matchup of what should be a high scoring affair.  The clash of red and blue will take place on December 26th  with kickoff set for 3:30 on  ABC.

The Hoosiers come into the game having won must win contests against Maryland and Purdue.  They lost games to Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State by a single score.

Duke finished the season 7-5 after defeating Wake Forest and they've set a goal to be the first Cut Era team to win a bowl game.

“To be chosen to take part in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl brings an incredible level of excitement to our program,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said.  “Playing in our fourth consecutive bowl game means a great deal to our past, present and future Blue Devils.  This senior class is obviously a special one, and I could not be happier for a group of young men that has accomplished what no other class has done in the history of Duke Football with the four straight bowl game appearances.  We are thrilled to keep building our program while playing in front of so many Duke University alums and supporters in New York.

 “Next on our schedule are exams, and then we’ll get back to the practice field to prepare for a very well-coached Indiana squad,” Cutcliffe continued.  “We have tremendous respect for Coach Wilson and the entire Hoosier program.  At Duke, we take great pride in representing the Atlantic Coast Conference, and doing so against a program of Indiana’s caliber will be a challenge which we will embrace."

 “And we certainly look forward to working alongside Randy Levine, Mark Holtzman, John Mosley and the entire New Era Pinstripe Bowl staff for this event.  We know their group will do everything in their power to make this experience for our student-athletes the best it can possibly be.”

We encourage Duke fans to buy their tickets through GoDuke.com so that they may be among the fan base.  Duke has also pre purchased tickets for the game, so hurry over and get yours now.

Jeremy Cash

Jeremy Cash is ACC Defensive POY

DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt senior safety Jeremy Cash has been named the 2015 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

 

Cash received 19 votes to outdistance Clemson’s Shaq Lawson (13), Pittsburgh’s Ejuan Price (7), Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey (7), Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins (2), Virginia Tech’s Luther Maddy (1) and Virginia’s Quin Blanding (1).  Cash is the first Duke player to receive the honor since its inception in 1993. 

 

Cash also received one vote to finish tied for third in the conference’s Player of the Year balloting.  Clemson’s Deshaun Watson earned the honor, along with the Offensive Player of the Year accolade, by securing 39 of the 50 votes cast.

 

A 6-2, 210-pound native of Miami, Fla., Cash has amassed 101 tackles, 18.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, eight quarterback pressures, four pass breakups, three caused fumbles and one fumble recovery on the season.  He registered 10-plus tackles in games against Northwestern (11), Georgia Tech (12), Virginia Tech (11), Miami (12) and North Carolina (10) to push his career total of double digit tackle games to 15.

 

A finalist for both the Bronco Nagurski Award (National Defensive Player of the Year) and Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back in the nation), Cash has now reached the 100-tackle plateau in three consecutive seasons and is Duke’s career leader in caused fumbles with nine.  In 39 career games at Duke, Cash has compiled 333 tackles, 38.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, six interceptions, nine caused fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 15 pass breakups and 15 quarterback pressures.

 

One of seven players in Duke history to post three seasons with 100-plus tackles, Cash is a three-time All-ACC pick and earned All-America honors in each of the past two campaigns.  He currently ranks 12th on the school’s all-time tackle chart.

 

Over the past two-plus seasons, Cash has helped the Blue Devils to an overall record of 26-12, the 2013 ACC Coastal Division championship and three bowl appearances pending Sunday’s announcement for postseason games.  The 26 victories in a three-season stretch stand as a Duke program record.

Jeremy Cash

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Cash, Skura, Edwards 1st Team All ACC

DSC_0001-001GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson and Florida State running back Dalvin Cook are unanimous first-team selections to the 2015 All-Atlantic Coast Conference football team, as voted upon by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).

 

Both sophomores were named to the first team on all 50 ballots cast by ACSMA members.

 

Watson, who led the Tigers to an unbeaten regular season and a No. 1 national ranking, leads the ACC in total offense with 331.6 yards per game and has accounted for 36 touchdowns (27 passing, nine rushing).

 

Florida State’s Cook leads the ACC and ranks fifth nationally with 1,658 rushing yards in 11 games, and he leads the conference in scoring with 19 touchdowns.

 

Clemson and eighth-ranked North Carolina, which will meet in the 2015 Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship game on Saturday night in Charlotte, North Carolina, fill a combined 31 spots on the All-ACC first, second and third teams.

 

The Atlantic Division champion Tigers lead with 17 selections, including six on the first team.  The Coastal Division champion Tar Heels saw 13 players claim 14 spots, with junior Ryan Switzer chosen as both a second-team specialist and a third-team wide receiver.

 

Florida State had 12 total selections, and was second to Clemson in first-team selections with four.

 

The All-ACC first-team offensive unit includes the conference’s top two rushers in Cook and North Carolina’s Elijah Hood (1,280 yards and 16 touchdowns), as well as the top two leaders in receptions in Pitt’s Tyler Boyd (85 catches for 873 yards) and Clemson’s Artavis Scott (77 catches for 709 yards).

 

Also included among the first-team receiving corps are Virginia Tech’s Isaiah Ford, who leads all ACC wideouts with 10 touchdown catches and 937 receiving yards, and NC State tight end Jaylen Samuels (64 receptions, 599 yards and seven touchdowns).

 

The offensive line includes the 2015 ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipient in Florida State’s Roderick Johnson, as well as four-time ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week Landon Turner of North Carolina. They are joined by NC State tackle Joe Thuney, Clemson guard Eric Mac Lain and Duke center Matt Skura.

 

The special teams’ first unit features three-time All-ACC placekicker Roberto Aguayo of Florida State (106 points, including 20-of-24 field goal attempts) and Duke’s DeVon Edwards, who has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season.

 

The All-ACC first-team defensive unit is highlighted by several student-athletes that are current contenders for national awards, including a pair of Bronco Nagurski Award finalists in Duke safety Jeremy Cash and Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson. Cash is also one of three finalists for the the Jim Thorpe Award, and Lawson – who leads the nation with 20.5 tackles for loss – is a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy.

 

Also included is Pitt defensive end Ejuan Price, whose resume includes five quarterback sacks in a single game. Defensive tackles Carlos Watkins (Clemson), Luther Maddy (Virginia Tech) and Connor Wujciak (Boston College) complete the All-ACC first-team front five.

 

The first-team defensive unit also includes the ACC’s two leading tacklers in Virginia linebacker Micah Kiser (117) and safety Quin Blanding (115).

 

Kiser is joined on the first-team linebacker corps by Wake Forest’s Brandon Chubb and Louisville’s Keith Kelsey. Cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey of Florida State and Mackensie Alexander of Clemson join Cash and Blanding in the secondary. Syracuse’s Riley Dixon received the nod as first-team punter.

 

Nineteen student-athletes chosen to the 2015 All-ACC Football team by ACSMA are repeat selections from last season.

 

The 2015 ACSMA All-ACC Football Team:

 

First Team Offense
WR Tyler Boyd Jr. Pitt 147
WR Artavis Scott So. Clemson 130
WR Isaiah Ford So. Virginia Tech 124
TE Jaylen Samuels So. NC State 93
T Roderick Johnson So. Florida State 102
T Joe Thuney Sr.-R NC State 82
G Landon Turner Sr.-R North Carolina 132
G Eric Mac Lain Sr.-R Clemson 113
C Matt Skura Sr.-R Duke 94
QB Deshaun Watson So. Clemson 150
RB Dalvin Cook So. Florida State 150
RB Elijah Hood So. North Carolina 123
PK Roberto Aguayo Jr.-R Florida State 86
Sp. DeVon Edwards Jr.-R Duke 103
 

First Team Defense

DE Shaq Lawson Jr. Clemson 132
DE Ejuan Price Sr.-R Pitt 111
DT Carlos Watkins Jr.-R Clemson 101
DT Luther Maddy Sr.-R Virginia Tech 60
DT Connor Wujciak Sr.-R Boston College 60
LB Micah Kiser So.-R Virginia 93
LB Brandon Chubb Sr.-R Wake Forest 87
LB Keith Kelsey Jr. Louisville 78
CB Jalen Ramsey Jr. Florida State 122
CB Mackensie Alexander So.-R Clemson 81
S Jeremy Cash Sr.-R Duke 122
S Quin Blanding So. Virginia 88
P Riley Dixon Sr. Syracuse 77
Second Team Offense
WR Travis Rudolph So. Florida State 96
WR Canaan Severin Sr. Virginia 88
WR Mack Hollins Jr.-R North Carolina 63
WR Kermit Whitfield Jr. Florida State 63
TE Jordan Leggett Jr. Clemson 77
T Jon Heck Jr.-R North Carolina 79
T Adam Bisnowaty Jr.-R Pitt 77
G Dorian Johnson Jr. Pitt 49
G Caleb Peterson Jr.-R North Carolina 45
C Jay Guillermo Jr.-R Clemson 88
QB Marquise Williams Sr.-R North Carolina 95
RB Wayne Gallman So.-R Clemson 115
RB Qadree Ollison Fr.-R Pitt 69
PK Greg Huegel Fr.-R Clemson 77
Sp. Ryan Switzer Jr. North Carolina 83
 

Second Team Defense

DE Mike Rose Sr.-R NC State 96
DE DeMarcus Walker Jr. Florida State 81
DT Nile Lawrence-Stample Sr.-R Florida State 58
DT DeAngelo Brown Jr.-R Louisville 46
LB Steven Daniels Sr. Boston College 65
LB Ben Boulware Jr. Clemson 60
LB B.J. Goodson Sr.-R Clemson 60
LB Reggie Northrup Sr. Florida State 60
CB M.J. Stewart So. North Carolina 65
CB Artie Burns Jr. Miami 51
S Jayron Kearse Jr. Clemson 69

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Duke Secures a Winning Season

16-672x372It was only appropriate that Senior Tight End Braxton Deaver recovered and on side kick to help Duke hang on to defeat Wake Forest.  It must have been a sweet play for the player whose recruiting battle came down to the Blue Devils and Deacons years ago.

The win  moved Duke to 7-5 on the season and clinched 4th place in the ACC' Coastal Division.  More importantly the win guaranteed another winning season under David Cutcliffe while helping halt a four game late season skid. That winning season means the Blue Devils will play in their fourth consecutive bowl game

While the bowl bids have yet to go out, speculation has already begun and we'll share our take.  Look for Duke to be selected to play in the Military, Independence or Pin Stripe Bowl.  What Duke will now seek to do is end their season with a bowl trophy in hand.

Duke won by ironing out their passing game where Thomas Sirk was 26 of 39 for 275 yards.  Two of his touchdown passes went to senior Max McCaffrey on plays of 18 and 28 yards,

The Blue Devils were also aided by two Ross Martin field goals and 151 rushing yards, mot of which came in the second half.  Also big for Duke on offense were seven catches each from Anthony Nash and T.J, Rahming for a combined  121 yards.

Duke did have to hang on as they had trouble stopping a rally from Wake Forest where they scored 14 points in the 4th quarter.  In the end Duke got what it needed most and that was simply a win.

The Blue Devils will now wait for their bowl bid to come in as their seniors can still attain the goal of hoisting a bowl trophy.  Meanwhile, Duke will gain extra practice time that will also help for next year.