Tag Archives: Duke vs NCCU

Duke Football vs NCCU Gameday Preview

Duke Football

The 2017 Duke Blue Devils football teams opens their season this Saturday against North Carolina Central in Wallace Wade Stadium. Kickoff is at 6:00 and a few tickets remain for the contest at GoDuke.com.

What to look for -- new names

Duke is coming off a 4-8 season and if David Cutcliffe has his way, the team will rebound this season and go to their fifth bowl game in six seasons.

The Blue Devils will be breaking in some new players against the Eagles, where they have eight true freshman on their depth chart. Among those are Victor Dimukeje, Drew Jordan and Derrick Tangelo up front on the defensive line.  These young men will all play a significant role this season.

Duke will also feature Michael Carter II and Marquis Waters as true freshman in the two deep in the secondary.  Redshirt freshman Xander Gagnon and Myles Hudzick will also be high on the depth chart and get some snaps on the defensive side of the ball.

On offense true freshman Deon Jackson is currently fourth on the depth chart at running back but will see some action.  Duke will also play offensive Rakavious Chambers (Fr 6-3, 325) on the offensive front for some snaps.  Duke is strong at the TE spot this season which makes it more impressive that true freshman Noah Gray moved to third on the depth chat.  Cutcliffe said he would be seeing special teams action as well.

What to look for -- Veterans to be more consistent on offense

Duke plays the 22nd toughest schedule in the country per Phil Steele.

Daniel Jones is entering his second season as a starter and should be much more familiar with the offense.  Jones is no longer a secret so teams will come after him but Duke should be able to block effectively with some veteran players up front.  Cutcliffe also said that he would play his young depth a lot in the trenches as well.

Duke has a veteran leader in Shaun Willson in a better offensive backfield than most realize.  Still, the key to success will be establishing the run and a good deep passing game.

While Duke loves to stretch the field with their short passing game, veteran wideouts and competition at the position should allow them to improve as a unit.  The top target is T.J. Rahming and there are players with both speed and experience who play with him.  Daniel Helm will also see plenty of targets from his TE position.

What to look for -- Defense

Well, I have already mentioned the youth in the trenches above, but veterans Mike Ramsay and Edgar Cerenord will have to have a big season.  Cutcliffe  said both DT's  had s great spring and pre season camp.

The Blue Devils will have one of the ACC's best linebacking corps where they are deep at the position.  Ben Humphreys and Joe Giles Harris are the main strength for the defense and will keep the Eagles honest in game one.

There is more concern in the secondary where many new players are breaking into the rotation.  Jeremy McDuffie made major strides in the off season but will be playing with a cast vs the Eagles.

Duke is no longer afraid to kick a FG

Games can be won or lost via the kicking game.  A season ago Duke likely lost a game or two due to momentum sapping missed opportunities.  This season, they seem more confident in trotting out the kicker to earn them three points.  Austin Parker has currently edged out William Holmquist (RS Senior, transfer) but both could see action and will at some point this season.


During yesterdays press conference, Cutcliffe said the team is taking last years record personal.  He also seemed confident that this years team is one of his most talented group of players.  According to the long time Blue Devil coach, there is lots of competition in practices and that some spots would be further earned in game action.  So, expect the depth chart to shake up a bit as Duke faces a brutal September schedule.

Additional notes

David Cutcliffe coached teams are 7-2 in home openers.  Duke is 5-0 all time versus NCCU.  Duke won a season ago 49-6.  Duke hosts Northwestern the following week.  Bring three items on a list at Go.Duke.com and you can get into the game for five dollars.

Duke vs NCCU

The Eagles have built a good program down the road in Durham and the game has been beneficial to both them and the local community. The Eagles have some talent and are coming off a close bowl game loss.

Duke is the deeper team here and one who could contend in the ACC.  The Blue Devils will likely try to establish the run game while taking some shots down the field.  But don't expect Duke to show but part of their playbook in that they have Northwestern, Baylor, North Carolina and Miami to finish out September.

Duke wins this one.  Blue Devils 51 NCCU 9

Monday Musings – It’s time for some Duke Football

SONY DSCIt's that time of year again folks! Duke Football is less than twelve days from kicking off their 2013 season against North Carolina Central in Wallace Wade Stadium. It'll be a 4:00 start. Inside the locker room, the Blue Devils are where most teams are this time of year mentally: they're anxious to compete against someone other than a teammate.

Coach David Cutcliffe has ushered in many changes since his arrival in Durham, with the main boost being facilities upgrades. Those upgrades were on display this past Saturday during Meet the Devils Day, where fans could meet and interact with players, and pick up some autographs and pictures along the way.

The event was held in the Paschal Field House, which is the new practice facility, so it allowed fans to see the new digs first hand. Having observed the changes surrounding the program in an up close and personal way through our coverage, I can tell you that the differences are like night and day from when Cut and company arrived on the Methodist Flats.  Players quickly pop to their assigned areas in practice, and there is a definite sense of togetherness and focus. Trust me when I say this:  there will be some more bumps in the road along the way, but a foundation is finally in place and as a result, Duke recruiting continues to get better each season. Better recruiting of course leads to better results on the field.

In the coming seasons we'll be seeing the removal of the track and a new press box, not to mention an upgraded concourse which will connect to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Some of us used to say we wanted to see these kinds of things happen before we die.  Well, I'm not dead yet, and it is just great to see the administration finally dedicating the necessary support for these important steps to be taken.

Duke players, coaches, and fans had a ton of fun going to the Belk Bowl last season, despite losing it in heartbreaking fashion. But let's face it: to make another bowl game this season, Duke will need to take another step forward -- this one being winning games that are regarded as toss-ups on paper.  Many fans are falling into the trap of thinking Duke will be a favorite over teams they defeated a season ago, like Wake Forest and Virginia. Even without Florida State and Clemson on the schedule this year -- which is nice -- you could make a case that ten games could fall into that toss-up category.  Duke has to start winning some more of those.

But if the Blue Devils struggle in those games, and the record suffers, it is important for the fan base to focus on the big picture.  That big picture consists of a program that undoubtedly is moving in the right direction.

Duke can and will win some games this season, but keep in mind that it wasn't that long ago when the Devils struggled simply to compete at this level.  It takes time -- a lot of time -- for a foundation to solidify.

For me, I will enjoy attending the opener like any other person who follows the program. It will be a new team, breaking in a new starting quarterback and replacing some really good players who graduated off of last year's squad.  It will be interesting to see which players step up and how they handle the inevitable adversity which comes to all teams.  I can tell you that these players are hungry for a win after losing every game since their rollicking and most satisfying victory over arch rival North Carolina a season ago, a win which landed the Victory Bell back in Durham.

One of the things Coach Cutcliffe has mentioned on several occasions this off-season is how much the fans helped Duke defeat North Carolina at home. We live in an age in which every move a team makes is televised in some way, but attending the games with some good old-fashioned live support makes things happen.  Fan support is one of the most important elixirs when it comes to winning, so in a sense the fan base and team are in this thing together.

And should the Blue Devils make it to another bowl, it will not likely be right down the road as it was in Charlotte last year, so fan turnout and continued support will be even more important.  A season ago in their close loss to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, Duke drew some very solid ratings on ESPN.  The team got a taste of something special and fans' thirst for a bowl game was quenched.  But everyone left wanting more.  And that's a good thing.

The truth of the matter is that the program is not at a place where you can count on a bowl game just yet, but these Blue Devils are in a position to compete in every game on their schedule this season and with some luck and good play, they could take their fan base bowling again.

But one game at a time is the way to get it done.  Game One: Duke will take on NCCU at Wallace Wade on August 31st at 4:00.  Tickets are still available through GoDuke.com.