Tag Archives: Duke Football

Will Duke Get Back to Winning Ways vs Syracuse?

The Duke Blue Devils take on the Syracuse Orange in Wallace Wade Stadium this Saturday afternoon where they seek to end a three-game losing streak.

After starting the season 3-1, Duke has stumbled against ACC competition where they currently own a 2-3 mark which is good for sixth place in the topsy-turvey Coastal Division.

In their last three league losses, the Blue Devils have been within a play of winning two of the games. Now the team is coming off a lopsided loss to Notre Dame and they're facing the injury bug which most recently sidelined one of its offensive line leaders in the center, Jack Willoughby.

On the other side of the ball, the Syracuse Orange has struggled even more. So far this season, the team is winless in the league while owning a 3-6 mark in all games.

You can make a case that Syracuse is the most disappointing team in the league. They were considered a lock for a bowl game by many in the preseason, but they have had trouble stopping opposing teams offenses.

One has to think the Orange sees the Blue Devils as a chance to get their first ACC victory. A closer look at the teams on paper shows some pretty even stats and quarterback Tommy DeVito and their offense can put up some points.

Duke needs to get back to the basics in many ways. The team needs to come out on fire and not allow their opponent early game success in order to halt the losing streak.

The Blue Devils have struggled at times with their run game and to beat Syracuse they will need some success on the ground to keep the defense off the field. It is worth noting that Syracuse is also coming off a bye week where they have had extra time to prepare.

My gut tells me that this game could be closer than some people think. Duke has been labeled a 10 point favorite by the oddsmakers. The feeling here is that Duke will need a solid defensive effort to win this game.

As for predictions, I stand at 8-1 straight up for the season and 6-1-1 against the spread. The pick here is Duke 28 Syracuse 20.

Duke Gets Win over Georgia Tech

The Duke Blue Devils moved to 2-1 in the ACC and 4-2 overall with a 41-23 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

The game was far from pretty but the Blue Devils did what it takes to hold off the Yellow Jackets.

Duke reeled off 38 straight points in the 1st half after Georgia Tech took the opening drive for a score.

The scoring started off with a 33 yards AJ Reed field goal which was the first of two for the game.

True freshman wideout Eli Pancol would later score on a 3 yard run for his third score of the season.

Duke running back Deon Jackson would add two short running scores of 1 and 7 yards. Duke QB Quentin Harris added a one-yard plunge after a career-high rush from Manteo Durant.

Georgia Tech would rebound for a quick score before the half on a James Graham 8 yard run to make the half time score 38-14.

Duke came out flat as a pancake in the 2nd half. Georgia Tech quickly added a field goal to cut the lead to 38-17. Duke added an AJ Reed FG, he has yet to miss for the season.

The Yellow Jackets then scored 8 play 41 yard drive a blocked punt to make it Duke 41-23.

The Blue Devils have struggled of late to put forth a consistent effort and they now must travel to Virginia. The Cavaliers have had the Blue Devils number and Duke will be the underdog in Charlottesville.

Duke, UNC, and Virginia all 2-1 in the league are currently all tied atop the contention crowded Coastal Division.

Can Duke Finally Defeat Pitt? Preview

The Duke Blue Devils host the Pitt Panthers on Durham Day this Saturday evening at 8:00 on Brooks Field in Wallace Wade Stadium.  Make no mistake, this is a critical game for both teams, so we can expect a physical and spirited match up.

About Pitt

The Pitt Panthers are the defending Coastal Division champions and they have plenty of weapons on both sides of the ball.  The Panthers have defeated Duke in four consecutive outings and even the last Duke win came in overtime.

The Panthers opened their season with a loss to Virginia and played highly ranked Penn State to a one-score game on the road.  They rebounded well to win three games, including a win over Central Florida, a team which has been a power the last few years..

Last week, they held out a bunch of starters in a win over Delaware.  Pitt was without starting quarterback Kenny Picket last week.  Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi confirmed on Thursday that he would play.  In short, Pitt took advantage of a lesser opponent to rest their key players for this week's game.

Pitt has big receivers which will test Duke more than any team since Alabama.  They also have some veterans on the defensive side of the ball.  They are a solid football team, right down to their special teams which really comes after opposing punters.

A Panther strength is their pass rush where they have a whopping 24 sacks this season.  That is the 2nd most in the entire nation and a reason they are 3-2 against a tough early-season schedule.

Narduzzi has a way of imparting his confidence in his team.  A defensive guy, he harped all week on how many yards they gave up against Delaware.  But make no mistake, he is confident.  While he talks respect of Duke there seem to be an underlying sarcasm in some of his statements

The Pitt head man all but gave Duke some bulletin board material yesterday during a media session.  He basically said his team played a bad game against Virginia and they wanted another shot after saying his team would be well prepared for Duke watching the film all week.  The kicker was when he said I wish we played Virginia at 8:00 and Duke at noon.  I guess he thinks they could survive Duke and still have enough left over for Virginia.

Anyhow, Pitt is cocky, talented, always physical and confident.

About Duke

The Blue Devils must put a big program win over Virginia Tech behind them.  The performance was stellar, but Pitt is an upgrade in competition.

Duke comes into the game 1-0 in league lay and 3-1 overall and they hope to protect their home field.   The hope is to have some local residents in the stand for Durham Day, but a negative intangible is that the students are on Fall break.

Quintin Harris has had a great season to date, but he will face a vicious rush.  It is encouraging that Duke has allowed a single sack on the season.

The Duke secondary came up with their first interception of the season against the Hokies.  They will be tested in this game, so perhaps the Blue Devils rush can get to the Pitt quarterback.  The lack of finishing plays when in position has bugged Duke head coach David Cutcliffe.

Duke lost Brittain Brown for the season this past week, but overall they are pretty healthy.  With a tough slate this season, each game is critical for Duke bowl aspirations.

What will happen

My prediction last week was not as close as previous games but I am 4-0 straight up on the season and 4-0 against the spread.  Duke is currently a slight 3.5 favorite in this game which seems to infuriate the Panthers who have quite simply had Duke's number.

We know we will get some football weather and both teams will have to deal with a late 8:00 kickoff.  Pitt does not want to drop to 0-2 in the league and Duke wants to make a run at the Coastal, so they need a win.

Which team can play four full quarters of football?  Duke has fallen short in the area against Pitt, but this is a new opportunity.  I expect a very competitive and physical game.  With these two, points can come in droves as witnessed by past scores, but on paper, both defenses look pretty good.

At some point, Duke has to get out from under the Pitt shadow, right?  Well, it will not be easy but I am counting on Duke rising to the occasion.  To do so, they need a quicker start than a week ago and remain aggressive without too many gambles.

The pick here is Duke 31 Pitt 24

A Program Win for Duke Football

The end of the first quarter came to a close in Blacksburg last evening and Duke trailed Virginia Tech 3-0.  The Blue Devils could not even manage ten yards of offense and there was not a single first down on the ledger.

What happened next has people talking about Duke Football and David Cutcliffe for the Blue Devils went on to outscore the favored Hokies by a score of 45-7.

When the dust cleared, Duke had dominated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg 45-10 in a game that served notice to the nation.  The Blue Devils won their ACC opener in grand style before a nationally televised audience on ESPN.

The Blue Devils were so dominant that they sent Virginia Tech fans to the exits with their first score in the third quarter. Duke also spoiled the Hokies white-out party where former head coach Frank Beamer and player Michael Vick were on the sidelines.

This was one of David Cutcliffe's finest moments, but it was also one for the program on the whole.  Duke not only won by their largest margin on the road ever under their long-time coach, but they handed a traditionally strong program their worst defeat since 1950.

It is hard to know where to start when talking about the positives from the win.  Quintin Harris was once again solid accounting for three touchdowns as the new leader of the team.  He gained a team-leading 100 yards in rushing including an explosive back-breaking 42-yard jaunt to go with two passing touchdowns.

Tight end, Noah Gray caught two touchdown passes.  The first came on a one-play drive after a turnover.  Turnover was a sweet word on the evening.  Duke recovered a fumble which led to a score and a momentum swing and the secondary got their first interception on the season from Leon Johnson.

True freshman wideout, Jalon Calhoun connected on a double-pass trick play to Deon Jackson for a score.  And this is where I mention Duke offensive coordinator Zac Roper called a near-perfect game for three-quarters.

And on defense, the Blue Devils held the Hokies offensive attack to 259 yards.  But a closer look shows that if you take away two plays, a 45-yard run and a 72-yard touchdown pass the Hokies gained a mere 142 yards.

Duke limited explosive plays while making some of their own.  And when their strategy failed them in the first quarter, they made adjustments that drove their opponent mad.  The change of pace on offense and the personnel packages was quite simply masterful coaching.

And then there was the special teams play.  Josh Blackwell almost broke a return save a slip.  AJ Reed stayed perfect on the season with a 31-yard field goal.  And punter Austin Parker rolled for 28 yards on a fake punt, which interestingly gives him bragging rights for the highest yards per carry of any player on the team this season.

Back to the defensive side of the ball, Duke senior linebacker Koby Quansah was stellar.  He recovered that key fumble and was a part of 13 tackles and a half of a sack.  On a night when Duke managed a single sack, their secondary played well shutting down Hokies quarterback Ryan Willis for all but a handful of plays.

Another highlight for Duke was getting backup quarterback Chris Katrenick some snaps.  And he wanted in on the fun as well as witnessed by his 9-yard run for a score to mark the final margin of victory.

While Duke got off to a miserable start, they showed off some maturity that has not always been there in the past.  The players were clearly tougher, more physical and quicker than their opponent and they let it show.

I cannot help but wonder if David Cutcliffe wanted to show the nation more about Duke football on a Friday night to remember.  Duke dressed in their black uniforms played the tough guy role on this occasion and did so with authority.

It is no secret Daniel Jones has had a great NFL debut, but some in the media felt the need to take shots at Duke Football when speaking of him.  Nevermind the team has been to 6 bowls in the last 7 seasons.  So, perhaps last nights performance will make some of them come around as they did with the aforementioned Jones.

Wins like the one over Virginia Tech cannot help but gain some attention and Duke likely helped itself with any possible recruits watching or seeing the result.

So, this was a program win.  Duke Gang should be proud as should the fans who ought to turn out in appreciation next Saturday when the team takes on Pitt.

While this is an ultimate feel-good moment for Duke alumni, family, friends and fans, the Blue Devils will soon need to go back to work to continue to build on their most recent accomplishment.  That is, of course,  after some well deserved weekend celebration.

Duke has a two-game homestand coming up in Wallace Wade Stadium on Brooks Field and fans will hopefully turn out to support the team.  The next step in the journey is to solve one of the most physical teams in football -- the Pitt Panthers.

As David Cutcliffe likes to say, "Are you ready for some football?"

Watch Every Daniel Jones Pass & Run

Do you think people will be talking about Daniel Jones this week?  The former Duke quarterback had a story-book debut where he led the New York Giants to an 18 point comeback win.

Jones scored on a seven-yard scamper up the middle with 1:16 remaining in the game as the Giants then held on for a 32-31 win,

The rookie quarterbacks stellar debut makes him the toast of New York.  Jones hit on 23-36 pass attempts for 336 yards with two scores.

His first career NFL touchdown came on an 11 yard rushing play.  The Giants would go into the half trailing 28-10 before Jones ignited a second-half rally.

Jones heorics also came at a time when the Giants lost their star tailback, Sequan Barkley to injury.  This was the first career win for Jones which also provided the first victory of the season for the Giants who now stand 1-2.

Check out every pass and run from Jones -


Duke Football Notebook 9-10

The Duke Blue Devils evened up their season record to 1-1 with a lopsided win over North Carolina A & T and they hope to build on their momentum this week versus Middle Tennessee State.

Bobo practicing

Jake Bobo has returned to the practice field per Duke Coach David Cutcliffe.  While he will not play this weekend, Bobo has seemingly made Duke look into adjustments that would allow him to be on the field at the same time as freshmen breakout talent Jalon Calhoun.  Cutcliffe has high praise for Calhoun who had a stellar game against the Aggies.

Injuries Piling Up

A season ago Duke was plagued by injuries and that trend is continuing this year.  Cutcliffe said that his team had 13 scholarship players out after the win over the Aggies.  He ruled Gunnar Holmberg out for the year today, giving the team two scholarship quarterbacks to work with.  DL Ben Frye has returned to practice and is rounding back into playing shape.

Penalties, film and discipline

Cutcliffe said some of the penalties called against his team may not have been as obvious on film review.  On the other hand, he said there are discipline penalties that they will try to correct.

Duke will stay in Nashville

The Blue Devils will stay in Nashville for their game with Middle Tennessee State.  That makes the trip all the more attractive to the fan base who will be traveling with the team.  Cutcliffe said he had some good relationships with Middle Tennessee coaches and that his wife would entertain the family during the visit.

Cut warns fan base that Middle Tennessee is a Solid Program

The Blue Raiders can play and they have an established football program.  Cutcliffe spoke of his opponent with high praise.  They lost to Michigan by 19 on the road in their opener and bounced by with a 45-26 win over Tennessee State this past week.  The program is known for their offense, but more on that in our preview out this Thursday.

Duke has a bye week coming

The Blue Devils have a bye week after this weekends contest and before they travel to Virginia Tech for their ACC opener.

Facebook Live

The game will be telecast on Facebook Live, but we have yet to see if there is an application to stream this to TV or if any station will carry the game.  The rights are owned by Stadium but the game will not be on their streaming service.  I hoe to have more information when I release the game preview.  Speaking of previews, we are 2-0 vs the spread on the season and 2-0 overall and had the exact point spread at 32 this past week.

The game is huge for the Blue Raiders

The Red Raiders will have a "blackout," for the game where fans are asked to wear black.  The current line is Duke by 6 in the contest.