Tag Archives: Duke Football News

Georgia Tech at Duke Game Notes

Site: Durham, N.C.
Stadium: Wallace Wade Stadium
Surface: Natural Grass
Capacity: 33,941
Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network; Sirius XM Radio (Channels 94 & 193)
TV: ACC Network - Tim Brant (Play-by-play), Dave Archer (Analyst) and Mike Hogewood (Sideline)
Internet: GoDuke.com; theACC.com
Tickets: 1-877-375-DUKE
Series: Georgia Tech, 47-30-1
Last Time: Georgia Tech went ahead with an 85-yard interception return for a TD by Mario Butler in the third quarter and held on for a 30-20 win over Duke in Atlanta, Ga. Duke passed for 334 yards, and Georgia Tech ran for 320.

Duke Hosts Georgia Tech
• The Blue Devils will close out the home portion of their 2011 schedule this week by hosting Georgia Tech.
• Duke is 3-7 overall and 1-5 in ACC play following its 31-21 loss at Virginia last week. The Yellow Jackets stand at 7-3 overall and 4-3 in league play after losing at home to Virginia Tech, 37-26, last Thursday night.
• Duke and Georgia Tech have met 78 times on the gridiron dating back to 1933. The Yellow Jackets have won seven straight over the Blue Devils and lead the all-time series, 47-30-1.
• Duke’s last win came in 2003 (41-17 in Durham).

Senior Day
• A total of 20 seniors will be honors prior to the game for Duke’s annual Senior Day festivities.
• The list includes K Paul Asack, S Matt Daniels, S Jeffrey Faris, WR Guillermo Freile, TE Ryan Hall, NG Charlie Hatcher, TE Cooper Helfet, OT Kyle Hill, RB Jay Hollingsworth, K Jeffrey Ijjas, P Alex King, OT Jon Needham, TE Danny Parker, TE George Pearkes, LB Kevin Rojas, WR Preston Scott, K Will Snyderwine, S Josh Trezvant, WR Donovan Varner and CB Johnny Williams.

Virginia Defeats Duke, 31-21
• Virginia QB Michael Rocco threw two touchdown passes to lead the Cavaliers to a 31-21 victory over Duke as 45,733 fans looked on at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.
• With a seven-catch outing, WR Donovan Varner became Duke’s all-time leader in pass receptions, eclipsing the record of 189 catches set by 2010 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Clarkston Hines from 1986-89. Varner finished with 132 receiving yards and scored his first touchdown of the year on a 64-yard strike from QB Sean Renfree.
• Duke RB Juwan Thompson rushed for a pair of one-yard touchdowns — his third multi-touchdown game of the season — while Renfree threw for 303 yard to mark the eighth 300-yard passing day of his career.
• Duke S Walt Canty posted a career-high 15 tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage.
• Duke freshman LBs C.J. France (8 tackles) and David Helton (7 tackles) earned the first starting assignments of their careers. Duke played without LB Kelby Brown, the team’s leader in tackles for loss entering the week.

Record Book Watch
• Senior WR Donovan Varner broke one school record and tied another one last week at Virginia. The Miami, Fla., native became Duke’s all-time leader in receptions, passing Clarkston Hines who had 189 grabs from 1986-89. In addition, Varner equaled Scottie Montgomery’s school standard of most consecutive games with at least one catch (35).
• Redshirt junior QB Sean Renfree’s 303-yard outing against Virginia marked the eighth 300-yard game of his career, moving him into a tie for fourth place on the school’s all-time list. Thaddeus Lewis holds the school standard with 11.
• Junior WR Conner Vernon’s 22 career games with 5+ catches are the most in school history ... Vernon’s nine games with 5+ receptions in 2009 matched the school’s single-season record.
• Duke has 19 rushing touchdowns through 10 games this season — matching last year’s total for the most since 1994. Sophomore RB Juwan Thompson has seven rushing scores — the highest total by a Duke running back since 2005 when Justin Boyle scored nine times on the ground.

Watzone’s Monday Musings – Basketball opens, football struggles and recruiting

BDN Monday Musings Duke Cheerleader of the Week - BDN Photo/Rick Crank

Chances are you need no reminder that this is the opening week of the basketball season where pretty much everybody in the nation plays on Friday.  The Blue Devils open the season with a true test in Belmont, a 9 p.m. prime time game on ESPNU. Of course, they then wake up the next day and take on Presbyterian at 4:30 on the same station.  Meanwhile the football team heads to Virginia trying to make it four in a row on the Cavs in a 3:00 game which conflicts with the men's game, not unusual for this time of year.

Duke opens with a dangerous and deep Belmont team

Unless one lives under a rock, they realize that the Duke and college basketball season opens for real this Friday.  In the first two pre season games Duke has looked like a work in progress in that they are.  But Coach Krzyzewski and company will have to bring their best game to defeat a Belmont team that won 30 games a season ago and they return everybody.  Belmont is a legitimate top 40 type team and they jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the new mainland Maui Invitational format and Coach K more than welcomed a season opening challenge for his young team.  "We have to have a chip on our shoulder, an edge,'' Byrd said. "We've got 10 of 12 back, and I would expect we'd be better. I feel good about us at every spot the way we play," said Belmont Bruins coach Rick Byrd," and you can bet they will relish the opportunity of playing college basketball royalty in Cameron.  Belmont played 10 players last season when they won 30 games having what Coach Byrd, who has over 500 wins, called 10 starters.  Bryd also said that his team would not lose their composure in Cameron and that a win would solidify his team as a top 25 contender.  Thankfully for Duke, their opponent on Saturday, Presbyterian will offer much less resistance.

Coach K and the record

Having been around Coach K quite a bit in the past, I can tell you that he puts his focus on the next game and never rests in the present or recent accomplishments.  But this season is a little different in that media types have been on campus daily for several coming special presentations which I will cover next week.  Look for a dizzying amount of material coming out as he will soon become the winningest college basketball coach in history.  This is where I could go into my vast amount memories since his first day on the Duke campus, but I am taking a cue from Coach and will visit this after this weeks games.  Still, all I can say is that Duke fans should stop and realize how lucky they are to have him as their coach and never forget his faithfulness to the university where he will remain for his entire career.

Youth will be served

For Duke to have success in the coming season, several freshman must take on key roles.  We all know about Austin Rivers and have no worries there, but the other freshman seem green.  Alex Murphy was awarded the start in the opening exhibition game and he failed to step up earning him the last spot on the bench in the next game.  Silent "G," otherwise known as Michael Gbinije has been just that, quiet and Quinn Cook while at times showing flashes of greatness has been making some mental mistakes from his PG spot.  Several times, all of the freshman were unaware of defenders and were stripped of the ball in the exhibitions and that means there is a long ways to go.  If Duke is to succeed this season, they will need one of the aforementioned three if not more to become key contributors in their role.  There is no reason to think this will not happen but there is reason to expect some significant growing pains while the process works it's way out.

Prospect Tony Parker could pick a school as early as this week

The behemoth post player that fits into the role vacated by the likes of Carlos Boozer, Elton Brand and Shelden Williams may be making his choice as early as late this week.  Parker is a key recruit for the Blue Devils and they have been courting him from the very start.  Parker will choose between Duke, Ohio State, Memphis and UCLA, but IMO, it is down to just two schools.  A careful examination of future rosters makes it clear to me where he should wind up with my objectivity cap on.  There is a good opportunity for Parker at Duke and perhaps he will see that Coach K has been there all along in the recruiting process or that his parents have favored the Blue Devils from the word go.  We'll have more on this one in our Blue Devil Nation Premium section, out extended subscription service which brings you on the inside of the happenings around the program.

Duke takes on Virginia

The Cavaliers want to avoid four straight losses to Duke when the two meet in Charlottesville this Saturday.  Some of Coach David Cutcliffe and companies biggest wins have been against the Cavs but for that to continue, Duke will have to make a lot of adjustments this week, most of them mental.  The Blue Devils defeated Virginia 55-48 in a wildly entertaining game a season ago but to think we'll see a shootout this weekend could disappoint.  Coming into the season these teams looked pretty even on paper, but Mike London has his team playing solid football and wanting to secure a bowl game with a win, while the Blue Devils are thirsting for not only a break but a victory.  The Blue Devils could cure a lot of ills with a 4th win both over the Cavs and on the season but make no mistake, the team will be underdogs in the remainder of their games.  Afterall, the Cavs went down to Miami and punched the Canes in the mouth, while Duke played one of their worst games of the season there.  If momentum has anything to do with the outcome early Saturday evening, then the Blue Devils face a tall order.

Playing for next year?

Sure, Duke could win three games and be bowl eligible but reality tells us that will not happen.  At this point the Blue Devils are starting to play for next season and they need another win this year to help with their confidence going into the off season.  Virginia, Georgia Tech and North Carolina remain on the schedule and there is no one game which looks like a win at this time.  There has been no breakthrough win this season and it is hard to see major improvement with the offense averaging six less points per game to go with three wins.  In short, Duke needs to make their own off season momentum by either continuing a streak over UVA or finding a way to defeat two programs that have dominated them in the past.  Going into the season I stated that anything less than four wins would be a disaster and I still feel that way. The Blue Devils stumbled out of the gate and lost to a bad Richmond team and with that being there third straight loss to an FBS school, it was a killer and should have been the fourth win.  I do realize that Duke has played some teams close but they just don't seem like they know how to win or close games out with them on the line.  Next year will be a tell tale year in many respects for the program and that's why finding some momentum heading into the off season is oh-so important.

Don’t give up on these Blue Devils

DURHAM - Had somebody told you Duke would lose to Virginia Tech by four points, you would have probably taken it going into the game.  The Blue Devils came up short once again, dropping a 14-10 heart-breaker to the ranked Hokies on Saturday but they are showing signs of progress just not in the win column.

Duke held Virginia Tech scoreless in the second half and how many teams have done that this season?  The Duke defense would bend a little bit but not break and they were oh-so close to a breakthrough win.  Seniors Matt Daniels and Charlie Hatcher played huge roles and led the young defense.  In fact, you could hear Matt Daniels laying the wood on his hits from inside the press box at Wallace Wade Stadium.

While the season is not over, I took time to ponder the fact that there were the only two players that Duke will lose on that side of the ball that started .  The Blue Devil still have four more games for young players to learn this season and I personally think they are going to beat somebody they're not supposed to for at some point Duke will get the right bounce of a loose ball or not have an interception from a freakishly tipped pass.

The bottom line is the defense is young and does have talent and while replacing the two solid seniors will be a tall task, the Blue Devils will welcome another group  of redshirt players along with a new class.

Take a look at the offensive side of the ball and you'll see a similar picture.  Duke will lose Donovan Varner, Cooper Helfet and a couple of lineman but they have a lot of replacements ready to step up.  While Duke has not had success in the win column, a few bounces or made field goals could have them 6-2 instead of 3-5.  We are talking 3 points more per average in the three losses here.

Again, the season is certainly not over and the staff will take a look at some things this week, but if they prepare as they did for the Hokies, they will get better and we can only hope a win or two comes from that.  The seniors still have a chance to be a part of a springboard for Duke to take it to another level.

It is a time to support the efforts and not jump ship.  A fan beside me after the game said Duke just found ways to lose games and I asked him his age which was 19 years old.  I said you can more than double that for me in that I have seen the Blue Devils lose in ways that you would think a black cloud constantly hovers over the program.

Face it, losses are frustrating and many of us see progress only in the win column, but the potential is now there, facilities are improving and kids want to play for Duke and the current staff.  I won't insult you with, "Rome wasn't built in a day," comments but I can say that progress under Cutcliffe has been made, just not at the pace some want.

The next step for the program is to push their way through to a win and believe that can happen.  Duke has nothing to lose so they can go out and be aggressive and that's what I hope to see the remainder of the season.  Having dealt with the kids in a media mode I can tell you that their character is unquestioned and that they do want to win but they are young and learning how to win.  At this point the players need to believe in themselves and go out there with no doubt in their minds that they should win.  Maybe, just maybe, Duke will start to get the right bounce of the ball and that seemingly dark cloud will dissipate.

As a long time follower of the program, I understand frustration but we need to step back and realize you cannot turn around a football program like you can in  basketball.  There are improvements folks but it may take another season to see it in a clear manner.  That said, support the team when they play Georgia Tech in their final home game this season and if big plays are made by the youth, recognize you will be seeing them again just more seasoned.


BDN Monday Musings – Tony Parker visit, Duke opens with Bellarmine, rotations and more

Monday Musing's Duke Cheerleader of the Week

It's been some kind of busy around here of late and we'd have it no other way.  Of course, there will come a time when dual basketball and football coverage will take a toll  in that at BDN we try and cover it all.  This week is yet another exciting one for Duke fans and we discuss that further in this weeks Monday Musings -

This time they play somebody else

Trust me when I say that the Duke Men's Basketball team is ready to take on somebody besides themselves and on Saturday it all begins. The Blue Devils will tip it off against Bellarmine at 7 p.m. this Saturday and all eyes will be on how Coach Mike Krzzyzewski uses his rotation.  Our guess is that the brothers Plumlee will start alongside Ryan Kelly with Austin Rivers and Seth Curry in the backcourt.  But we also think you will see as many as four more players crack the starting rotation at some point this season.  Duke has to take full advantage and advance in the two exhibition game in that their opener against Belmont is no walk in the park.  Belmont returns everybody off a 30 plus win NCAA Tournament team, so this is in no way a gimme game even in Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Anyhow, expect varying analogies after the game on Saturday but if you've been following BDN, you already know what to expect.

Who will step up?

Duke is looking for players to step up and the question is who is really in the mix?  Alex Murphy has drawn the praise of Coach in practices with his on court smarts, but will he stand up physically against the likes of UCLA , Memphis or Kansas in Maui?  Michael Gbinije can do a lot of things well on both side of the ball but can he take a leap forward and be aggressive? Andre Dawkins is surely in the lineup, probably the sixth man, but can he be consistent when not jacking the threes?  Quinn Cook?  He looked great in the Blue-White game, but some say he has struggle in practice at times.  Can Cook find a way to claim the keys to the ship at some point in the season?  Tyler Thornton is not as exciting an offensive player but he is a solid on ball defender and hard worker, so will this be enough to gain him valuable minutes?  Josh Hairston is openly called the fourth big by coaches but will he too take advantage of his time on the court and take another leap forward?  Duke needs no less that two or three of these guys to contribute so it'll be interesting thing to watch and see who takes the bull by the horns and makes themselves a contributor.

Tony Parker is in town

Duke has been recruiting Tony Parker for a long time now and Coach K has made it clear to him that he is their choice.  His recruitment has taken a lot of turns with comments and such, but it now appears that Parker is realizing the opportunity that is at hand and that he is in rare air being coveted by the nations top coaching staff.  Coach K loves Parkers hands and sees him as a perfect fit in the Blue Devils system.  Coach Capel would help Wojo work with him to make him a great big before he leaves Duke.  There is no reason to feel anything but positive about the Blue Devils chances with big Tony who wants to make a choice before his high school season starts.  And for those with a scorecard the open signing period is from November the 9th to the 16th.  Rasheed Sulaimon will send his LOI in, the question is who else will?

All quiet on McGary front

Nobody really knows where Mitch McGary stands at this time but Duke fans are hoping he waits to cast his lot until he plays in Cameron Indoor Stadium in the N.C. Pro Am Clash in Cameron.  That's right!  My friends at the NC Pro Am are now a sponsor and I look forward to working with them to promote the event that features Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor.  And yes, we really will get to the update on the event soon.  I did say things had bee crazy around here, didn't I?

Some of our cheeleaders pics can be found on the Blue Devil Nation Open Group Facebook page- BDN Photo by Rick Crank

Valiant second half effort by football team

Almost.  I know we all want wins but Duke has at least put itself in a position where a couple of plays could have meant a 5-2 mark instead of 3-4.  Fans need to think back when they had that opportunity before and support the program.  The guys need the support and you know what?  Almost all of them return and they will learn by the adversity faced as will the staff.  We in no way have jumped off the bandwagon and neither should you.  Duke takes on Virginia Tech this weekend in Wallace Wade and it is a great time for fans to take in the Saturday double header with basketball.

Facebook Page

Blue Devil Nation has an open group Facebook page that we are just starting to refine.  We have put a ton of pictures up from Countdown to Craziness, so join us today.  The open group means you can download Duke Photo's, converse and even place links.  So help us out Blue Devil fans and le't see your pride. Here is the link to Facebook page.


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Duke Football Highlights Video vs Wake Forest

BDN Photo

Duke came up just short against the Wake Forest Demon Deacon this past weekend, despite a dominant second half effort.  BDN Video looks back at the Duke highlights in a game where victory was right there, but slipped away on one play.  The Blue Devils have improved this season and winning close games is next up for the crew to take it to the next level.  A couple of executed plays is all that separates this team from a 5-2 season.