Category Archives: Duke Football

Jeremy Cash

Duke at Georgia Tech Preview

Jeremy CashDuke at Georgia Tech Preview
12:30 PM ET
Saturday, October 11
Atlanta, GA
TV: ACCN
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 92 and XM Ch 194

Duke in 2014: 4-1
Georgia Tech in 2014: 5-0

DUKE INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Shaquille Powell (RB)
OUT – Dezmond Johnson (DE), Jamal Wallace (DT), Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

GEORGIA TECH INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Bryan Chamberlain (OT)

Duke and Georgia Tech last faced each other on September 14, 2013 in a game Georgia Tech won 38-14 at Wallace Wade Stadium. In their last game out, two weeks ago, Duke lost to Miami 22-10, while Georgia Tech defeated Miami 28-17 last Saturday evening.

HOW DUKE CAN WIN

In order to win on Saturday the Blue Devils will have to do four things: make each offensive possession count; get off the field on defense; create turnovers; and generate some magic on special teams.

Duke must make each and every offensive possession count. The Blue Devils cannot turn the ball over nor can they afford to go “three and out.” Avoiding empty possessions is paramount to victory!

To get off the field on defense, Duke first and foremost must stop the dive play. If Georgia Tech consistently gains three and half or four yards per play with fullback Zach Laskey on the dive, it will be a long afternoon for the Blue Devils defense. Duke must be prepared to stop Georgia Tech on both third and fourth down because Yellow Jackets Head Coach Paul Johnson will not be shy about keeping his offense on the field for a fourth and two at midfield.

Georgia Tech played flawless football last week against Miami, especially in the 2nd half. Duke cannot afford to allow the Yellow Jackets to establish offensive rhythm and grind out multiple, time consuming, points producing possessions, so the defense will need to take chances to create turnovers. The Blue Devils will need to get a couple of key stops and force the Yellow Jackets to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns.

Special teams play can set the tone and change the momentum of a game. Duke will need to block a punt or field goal attempt; execute a big return to setup a short field for the offense to cash in on with points, or pin the Yellow Jackets deep in their own territory with great kicks. Special teams have been solid for Duke in 2014 but against Georgia Tech they will need to step up and be spectacular!

HOW DUKE CAN LOSE

Duke’s perceived weakness is defense against the run, which plays right into the hands of Georgia Tech’s strength, the running game. As mentioned above, Georgia Tech’s running game starts with the dive play. The quarterback keeper and pitch to the outside come next. Georgia Tech will look to pound it up the middle and stretch the defense on the edges using a lethal combination of power and speed. Once the running game is clicking, the Yellow Jackets will look for opportunities to throw the ball down the field.

Justin Thomas is a talented option quarterback so if Duke does not prevent the Georgia Tech offense from executing at high efficiency, by disrupting possessions by creating turnovers, the Blue Devils will lose.

Simultaneously, the Blue Devils offense must be efficient, score points and, perhaps most important, keep the Yellow Jackets offense on the sidelines. If Duke’s offense stalls resulting in short possessions, or turns the ball over, the Blue Devils will lose.

WHY DUKE WILL WIN

Karma! Because a victory over the Yellow Jackets after a decade of futility is overdue! Coming off a bye week, the Blue Devils will be healthy, rested and prepared for Georgia Tech’s triple option offense. Jeremy Cash will be a disruptive force on defense. Most importantly, unlike in the Miami game, Anthony Boone and the Blue Devils offense will keep the pressure on Georgia Tech by moving the ball and scoring points! Jamison Crowder will step up and shine in Atlanta. This is a huge game for Duke and their efforts to repeat as Coastal Division Champions so the team will bounce back from the Miami loss and play like the champions they are!

BOTTOM LINE

A key turnover, an explosive special teams play and the strength of Ross Martin’s leg will lead Duke to their first victory over Georgia Tech in the Coach David Cutcliffe era.

Duke 30, Georgia Tech 27

Shaun Wilson hits the hole

Can Duke Beat The Jackets?

Bryon Fields pick-6
Bryon Fields pick-6

The Duke Blue Devils, rolled to a 10-2 regular season record after two consecutive ACC losses to Pitt and Georgia Tech a season ago. The Blue Devils lost their ACC opener to Miami this season and now must travel to Georgia Tech.  And the Yellow Jackets?   They’re  seemingly in the driver’s seat in the Coastal Division with wins over the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets have been a perpetual thorn in the Blue Devils side not only in the Cut era but for a decade or better.  They run that hard to stop option and you fear injuries when facing them due to their use of the cut block.  With an undefeated record and a national ranking, this seems to be a daunting task for the Dukies.

It’s hard to realistically envision a scenario where Duke can lose this game and stay in contention in their division.  In short, do not expect last seasons magic to take place twice if they go to 0-2 in the ACC.

While nobody may talk of it around the Duke Football camp, this has to be one of those games circled on the calendar.  A year ago, the Yellow Jackets literally ran the score up late in their 38-14 win in Durham.  A cold hard fact is that they have a history under their head man of handling the Blue Devils with relative ease.

If that is not enough, some fans remember fiery Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson dissing Duke during their last coaching search for less money in Atlanta.  Duke fans are undoubtedly happy with the way things turned out and having David Cutliffe at the helm, but there has been disrespect. If there is any team that Duke should want to rise up against on their schedule it is clearly Georgia Tech.

For Duke to defeat the Yellow Jackets in their backyard, they will have to control the ball and make few if any mistakes.  With a newfound running game, this can happen, but ironing out wrinkles in the passing game will be the key.

The Blue Devils have had a bye week to aid in getting said passing game going.  Senior quarterback Anthony Boone will have to improve upon his decision-making for that to happen.

A year ago, the Duke passing game struggled a bit early with concern to finding the end zone, but this season the Blue Devils rarely stretch the field.  A week ago Miami forced Duke to throw short and that led to a lot of unsuccessful third down plays.

Last season, Duke was able to correct many weaknesses during the bye week which enabled them to go on a roll.  They need similar results this year to stay in contention for a division title.

David Cutcliffe and Duke Football has shown a trend of resilience of late but will that continue?  The Blue Devils destiny is in their own hands for this weekends match up is huge for the team.

A win over an arch nemesis would be just the shot in the arm the Blue Devils need for their confidence and to show they are a contender.  A loss would seriously damage their hopes to defend their division title.

While a loss would not end Duke Football’s ascent to consistent respectability, it would stall the process. The Duke fan base is a mere two years removed from just wanting to get to a bowl game.  However, there is now some expectations for success and that’s new to most in Durham.

Duke Football can go a long ways in meeting the new expectations by finding a way to win this weekend.  The team can thwart those comments from some who say they were a flash in the pan.  And this should be a game where they want to show up and play their best football.

Under David Cutcliffe, Duke has beaten every team in their division now with the exception of this weeks opponent.  It’s time that Duke finds a way to get over the next hump.

If Duke is to beat Georgia Tech this weekend, it will be because the offense clicks after a bye week.  The Yellow Jackets will grind it out on offense against anyone.  But the one way to take them down to be aggressive on the offensive end.

Make no mistake about it, this is a critical and huge game for Duke Football.  It is clearly their most important game to date this season.  And after this Saturdays result, we’ll know a lot more about this team.

The Duke vs Georgia Tech game kicks off at 12:30 this Saturday on the ACC Network.

Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. Five

Welcome back Blue Devil faithful to Friday Night Lights Edition No 5 where Blue Devil Nation keeps you updated on the high school gridiron action for future Blue Devils and recruiting targets. Duke is still looking to add a running back to their 2015 class so this update will start with running back action.

Nyheim Hines rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns as Garner defeated West Johnston 56-14 to improve to 5-1 on the season. Additionally, Hines returned a kick-off 75 yards for a touchdown. He has rushed for 1,135 yards on the season.

Ruben Garnett rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown as Aquinas won their 20th straight game 31-6 over Hancock Central. Garnett’s touchdown run was for 16 yards in the 2nd quarter.

Trai Sharp sprained his right ankle on his second carry of the game and did not return to action. Carrboro lost to Randleman 27-20.

Turning to a couple of 2016 targets, Elijah Deveaux ran for 196 yards including a 48 yard touchdown as Charlotte Christian defeated Charlotte Latin 30-20.

Antonio Williams rushed for 310 yards as North Stanley defeated North Moore 42-9.

Wide receiver commit T.J. Rahming recorded seven catches for 90 yards including a 16 yard touchdown reception as McEachern defeated Marietta 37-23.

Wide receiver commit Aaron Young recorded six catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns but Murrieta Valley dropped a 38-35 decision to Elsinore.

Wide receiver commit Keyston Fuller and the Griffin Bears were idle on Friday night but here is a link to a nice article on the team’s 5-0 start.

Wide receiver commit DePriest Turner, who plays quarterback for his high school team, rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as Murphy defeated Davidson 27-14. Turner’s three rushing touchdowns covered 24, six and 11 yards, while his touchdown pass went for 28.

Quentin Harris threw a 16 yard touchdown pass to lead the Taft School to an 8-6 win over Trinity-Pawling.

Friday Night Lights: 2014 Edition No. Four

Friday Night Lights is back with updates on future Blue Devils and recruiting targets. Be sure and click the links to read articles from local media on the high school exploits of these young men.

Quarterback commit Quentin Harris completed 18 of 35 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort as Taft School fell to Brunswick School 53-14. The two touchdown throws covered 16 and 30 yards. Harris also threw an interception in the game. Taft School is now 0-2 on the season.

Nyheim Hines rushed for 250 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries as Garner defeated East Wake 33-21. Hines also threw a touchdown pass in the game. He was sick earlier in the day with a headache and dizziness, and had to be taken to see a doctor who cleared him to play.

Tight end Tyler Petite scored on a 26 yard touchdown reception as Campolindo defeated Dublin 45-14.

Wide receiver Flynn Nagel caught four touchdown passes as Lemont defeated Oak Forest 42-20. His four touchdowns covered 56, 20, 12 and six yards. Overall, the Duke commit finished with eight catches for 166 yards.

DePriest Turner threw two 4th Quarter touchdown passes to lead Murphy over Daphne 18-17. Turner has committed to Duke as a wide receiver. The linked articles’ photo gallery includes a couple of photos of Turner in action.

Ruben Garnett rushed for 86 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries as Aquinas defeated Mount de Sales 55-35.

Albert Funderburke carried the ball 24 times for 217 yards and three touchdowns as Sun Valley defeated Monroe 48-47 in a shootout. One of Funderburke’s touchdown runs was for 88 yards.

Last weekend, T.J. Rahming recorded seven catches for 88 yards including the game winning 25 yard touchdown as McEachern defeated Lovejoy 7-3. Here is a video of Rahming’s touchdown reception. Rahming has been invited to participate in the Army All American Bowl.

2016 wide receiver commit Scott Bracey suffered cramps on Friday night and was removed from the game in the 3rd Quarter. Benedictine defeated St. Christopher’s 23-17.

2016 running back prospect Elijah Deveaux scored on a 19 yard run as Charlotte Christian blanked Liberty Christian 10-0.

Jeremy Cash

Preview: Duke at Miami

Duke at Miami
7:30 PM ET
Saturday, September 27
Miami Gardens, FL
TV: ESPN2
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network, Sirius Ch 108 and XM Ch 193
Duke in 2014: 3-0
Miami in 2014: 2-2

DUKE INJURIES

QUESTIONABLE – Thomas Sirk (QB)
OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Dezmond Johnson (DL), Trip McNiell (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)

MIAMI INJURIES

OUT – Rashawn Scott (WR), Alex Gall (OG), Matt Goudis (K)
OUT FOR SEASON – Rayshawn Jenkins (DB)

Duke opens ACC play with a trip to ACC Coastal Division rival Miami on Saturday night. The Blue Devils defeated the Hurricanes 48-30 in Durham last season, behind a rushing attack that ran for 358 yards. Miami still hold a convincing lead on the all-time series, having won 9 out of 11 games and 4 out of 5 in Miami.

Shaun WilsonHOW DUKE CAN WIN

It will take a complete effort of solid fundamental football for the Blue Devils to upset the Hurricanes for a second year in a row: a positive turnover margin, strong specials teams play, and physicality in the trenches. Miami’s freshman QB Brad Kaaya is an undisputable talent, but will be playing in just his second ACC game. While he has already set the school record for passing yards in a game (and has a good chance to break it against the Blue Devils this week), Kaaya has thrown an interception in each of his 4 starts, a total of 7 picks on the season. Duke’s “opportunistic” secondary must continue that streak and take advantage of poor reads, tipped passes, and overthrows. Of course, to win the turnover battle, the Blue Devils must take care of the football better than they did against Tulane in week 4. The Hurricanes have proven adept at stripping the football in the early season, coming up with 6 fumble recoveries, including two forced by senior LB Thurston Armbrister and junior DB Deon Bush.

A quick look at the injury report for the week shows that Miami will be without their veteran kicker Matt Goudis for the 3rd straight week. Freshman walk-on Michael Badgley will take over the kicking duties, and is thus far mostly untested, converting his one and only FG attempt in his career. With an explosive Miami offense, Duke must win the field position battle, forcing the Hurricanes to face a long field. Special teams miscues or turnovers that lead to a short field will result in easy points for this offense. The Blue Devils will expect another big day out of their veteran special teams units led by Will Monday and Ross Martin.

For those who saw the Blue Devils defeat the Hurricanes a year ago, the victory was the direct result of Duke dominating in the trenches. To win again, Duke must contain the Hurricanes’ senior-laden pass rush, led by DL Anthony Chickillo, LB Denzel Perryman, DL Ufomba Kamalu, and LB Thurston Armbrister. The Blue Devils’ offensive line will be bolstered by the expected return of Lucas Patrick, and will need to impose its will to protect Anthony Boone and open holes for their explosive running back stable. When facing a dangerous offense like the Hurricanes, the best defense can be a good offense – one that is able to consistently move the chains and find the end zone. Third down conversions will be critical.

Defensively, there is one apparent key to beating the Hurricanes this year – holding them to under 4.0 yards per carry. Of course, when the ball is in the hands of Duke Johnson, that’s easier said than done, but both Louisville and Nebraska were able to accomplish just that in defeating Miami. Slowing the Hurricanes through the air is just as challenging, with Kaaya able to spread the ball around amongst TE Clive Walford (3.75 catches per game), WR Phillip Dorsett (33 yards per catch!), and Raleigh native WR Braxton Berrios (3.5 catches per game). With Miami’s athletes, explosive plays are almost inevitable; Duke must find ways to make the stops necessary to force punts and field goals instead of touchdowns – bend but don’t break.

DSC_0149HOW MIAMI CAN WIN

For Miami to win this game, they must match the Blue Devils’ intensity for a full 60 minutes. They do not have to play mistake-free football, but they certainly must shore-up a defense that allowed 334 yards and 6.2 yards per carry a week ago at Nebraska. A strong effort from Chickillo and Kamalu will be needed to contain a Duke running game that ranks 21st in the country and features freshman sensation Shaun Wilson, averaging 14.4 yards per carry. Success against the run will force Anthony Boone into obvious passing situations, where he has been prone to errant and forced throws.

Offensively, this is all about putting the ball in the Hurricanes’ playmakers’ hands. Duke’s young secondary will have its hands full with Dorsett, Berrios, and Walford, leaving plenty of running room for the explosive Johnson. If Miami is able to turn explosive plays into touchdowns, it will be a long night for the Blue Devils.

WHY MIAMI WILL WIN

The Hurricanes, coming off a loss and with last year’s thumping fresh in their minds, will be hungry for a victory Saturday night. Expect a much improved effort from Miami defensively, disrupting the Duke offense and stalling drives. Miami will find ways to utilize their playmakers in space, creating mismatches against the young Blue Devil secondary. Dorsett and Johnson will each find the end zone, and the Hurricanes will win the turnover battle. Miami will look to get out to an early lead, forcing the Blue Devils to play from behind for much of the game. Duke will not go down without a fight, but the Hurricanes’ athletes will prove too much for the untested Blue Devils.

BOTTOM LINE

The weakness of the Blue Devils’ nonconference schedule will catch up to them as they face a tough ACC opener at Miami. Coach Cutcliffe will have his team ready to play, but the Blue Devils will struggle to execute consistently against an athletic and motivated Hurricane squad. Duke opens with an ACC loss, but remains very much alive in the wide-open Coastal Division.

Miami 42, Duke 31