Below is our photo gallery from Saturday’s Duke vs. Elon football game. Click on any of the images to view the full-size slideshow.
Behind 4 TDs from senior QB Anthony Boone, the Blue Devils rolled to an easy 52-13 victory over Elon in their 2014 season opener. Re-live the top plays of the night with our highlights, courtesy of Endzone Elite.
DURHAM – Duke WR Issac Blakeney appears poised for a big year after a 2 touchdown performance in the season opener against Elon. Similarly, the running back tandem of Shaquille Powell and Josh Snead got off to a good start, gaining a combined 128 yards on 23 carries. Blue Devil Nation spoke with both Blakeney and Powell after the Duke victory.
DURHAM – Duke defeated Elon 52-13 in their season opener on Saturday night in front of over 31,000 fans in Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Devils’ starting defense held the Phoenix out of the end zone for the first 3 quarters before yielding a late touchdown. DT Carlos Wray recorded his first career sack early in the game, while S Deondre Singleton was credited with a quarterback hit on a safety blitz. Blue Devil Nation was on hand to hear their thoughts on the season opening win.
Duke in 2014: 0-0
Elon in 2014: 0-0
OUT – Dan Beilinson (TE), Johnathan Lloyd (CB), Trip McNeill (OL), Jake Sanders (OL)
OUT FOR SEASON – Kelby Brown (LB), Braxton Deaver (TE), Taariq Shabazz (DE)
OUT – Karl Bostick (RB)
The 2014 football season kicks off with Elon at Duke this Saturday evening. Duke and Elon last faced each other on September 4, 2010 in a game Duke won 41-27 at Wallace Wade Stadium, in the season opener for both teams. Including the 2010 loss to Duke, Elon has lost four season opening games in a row: 45-14 to Vanderbilt in 2011, 62-0 to North Carolina in 2012, and 70-0 to Georgia Tech in 2013. Under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, Duke is 4-2 in season opening games with both losses coming against Richmond. The four wins were over James Madison 31-7 in 2008, Elon in 2010, Florida International 46-26 in 2012 and NCCU 45-0 in 2013.
HOW DUKE CAN WIN
The Blue Devils can win by controlling the line of scrimmage, dictating the tempo of the game and executing a balanced game plan on both offense and defense.
Line of scrimmage – games are won or lost in the trenches so Duke will exploit their size and talent advantage to knock the Phoenix back on their heels and keep them there. By dominating the line of scrimmage, Duke will pummel Elon with the running game while being opportunistic with the pass. On defense, Duke will look to shutdown the Elon running game and force the Phoenix into must pass situations.
Tempo of game – playing fast to minimalize substitution opportunities provides an advantage to the deeper, more talented Blue Devils squad. Duke will substitute freely on dead ball situations and between possessions to ensure the Phoenix are always facing a fresh running back and set of receivers. By utilizing a trio of running backs and possibly a fourth, Duke’s running game will wear down the Phoenix defense as the game progresses. Offensive Coordinator Scottie Montgomery will call an aggressive game, so do not be surprised when Duke unveils a wrinkle or two.
Balanced game plan – mixing things up will keep Elon off balance and guessing. On offense, as stated above, Duke will feed Elon a steady diet of the running game, to both wear down their defense and set up quality passing situations. Being balanced is equally important on defense so look for Defensive Coordinator Jim Knowles to utilize the blitz as well as drop an extra defender into coverage. With the defensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, Coach Knowles will have flexibility to utilize multiple techniques with the back seven defenders.
HOW DUKE CAN LOSE
The wheels will have to completely come off for Duke to lose. Overconfidence and a total failure to value the football are pitfalls the Blue Devils must avoid. If Duke takes the field with a lackadaisical attitude and commits turnovers in bunches, Elon has the experience necessary to take advantage and capitalize on the miscues. Redshirt senior quarterback Mike Quinn is in charge of an offense that returns its leading rusher, B.J. Bennett, plus a couple of experienced receivers in Andre Davis and Kierre Brown.
Quinn set a Southern Conference record in 2013 by throwing 210 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. On the year, he threw for 2,618 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Bennett rushed for 464 yards on 123 attempts and will split time at running back with Tracey Coppedge who led the Phoenix in yards per rush at 4.8 with 90 attempts. Davis recorded 460 yards receiving while Brown logged 448 yards. Senior running back Karl Bostick, who is out with a broken leg, rushed for 443 yards in 2013.
WHY DUKE WILL WIN
The Blue Devils are looking to prove 10-4 in 2013 was not a fluke so they will be primed to start 2014 off in dominant fashion. Team Captains Anthony Boone, Laken Tomlinson, Jamison Crowder, Jeremy Cash and Kelby Brown will ensure the team is ready to go. The 2014 Blue Devils are a team with lofty goals and a committment to achieving those goals so they will take the field this coming Saturday with a steel focus to win.
With Head Coach David Cutcliffe, 2013 National Coach of the Year, at the helm, the chances of Duke taking the field less than 100 percent prepared and focused are slim to none.
Duke is too talented, too deep, too strong and too fast for Elon. This is a game that should be decided by halftime.
Duke 41, Elon 13
“We’re going to approach this game just like it was an ACC game,” said Duke senior running back Josh Snead.
At the same time the star runner followed up by immediately saying, “We’ve got the mindset that we want to come in and dominate.”
There is no doubt that the Elon game is considered to be the easiest game on the Blue Devils schedule, but there seems to be a focus of importance that the team needs to start the season playing well and carrying over the momentum from last seasons epic 10-4 mark, the most wins in school history.
“If you look back at the Texas A & M game, we played a great game and a few plays here and there and it would have been different,” said Snead. “We feel like we can build off that and capitalize going into this season.”
There is always heightened curiosity going into a season opener for every team. That certainly holds true for a Duke team where some have still questioned whether they can continue the success of a season ago or if they can match that intensity where they rolled off eight consecutive wins after a 2-2 start.
“We feel that we’ve put in the work in camp — a lot of hard work, said Snead. And a look around the pre season camp seemingly shows that with players look to be in good shape. After all, some of the younger Blue Devils know nothing but bowl games and that is a far cry from decades of not so great football.
“I know some feel that last year our program was a fluke,” said Snead. “We’ve got great coaches here who help us to sharpen our skills and fundamentals each week to go out and compete with the best.”
Snead stated what many have seen in practices, that players are on the same page, get to there stations quickly when the buzzer sounds and that kind of thing plays a big role on game day.
One of the main off-season concerns and a natural one after a 10-4 turnabout, is the fact that the Blue Devils had great leadership a year ago and it can be replaced.
“This year we are trying to be even better leaders. We have a lot of guys believe in what Coach Cut has presented to us. His mission, his plan, his vision.” said Snead.
Josh Snead is never one who is short for words when dealing with media, but he is also a player who seems poised to show off what he has learned on and off the field.
Snead is the type of player that finds ways to contribute be it a timely blocked punt in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl game or working to make sure newer Blue Devils continue to build on success.
“With me being one of the leaders, I try to help him out a lot. Anything he needed help with we go over.” said Snead with concern to true freshman running back Shaun Wilson currently slated to see time at the position this season.
Snead is one of a handful of redshirt seniors that in time will be considered some of the first building blocks for the resurgence of Duke Football under David Cutcliffe. And this Saturday, another chapter in that story is set to begin.