Tag Archives: Matt Daniels

Blue Devils Crush Tulane 48-27

It was a great homecoming for Duke fans and the team alike, in that the Blue Devils ran roughshod over the Tulane.  When the dust cleared the scoreboard read Duke 48, Tulane 27 but it wasn’t that close.  In fact, Tulane had two late scores in the fourth quarter against Duke back ups to make the game look closer that it actually was.

Another great day for Sean Renfree

Duke quarterback Sean Renfree put together another solid outing, save an early interception for a touchdown.  Renfree went 21 of 30 for 278 yards and one passing touchdown.  But it was Renfree’s legs that allowed him to score two rushing touchdowns.  I just happened to be on the field for both and each one was right in front of me.  Renfree toughed his way in on the first one, a two yard run and the second he went pretty much untouched right up the middle.

Juwan Thompson carrying the load

Juwan Thompson averaged 4,9 yards per carry for 69 yards and two scores.  Thomspon was a chief component in Duke controlling the clock to the tune of  36 minutes to just 23 for Tulane.  It is also worth noting that Thompson has been forced into carrying the load while Josh Snead and Desmond Scott heal from injuries.

Duke defense shines

The Blue Devils went five straight quarters without letting up a touchdown and the two late Green Wave scores came against a bevy of back ups.  The early Tulane touchdown was an interception return.  A 122 yards of the Green Waves 318 yards of offense came on the last two drives, again, against the Duke subs.

Heartbreaking News

Kenny Anunike was lost for the season. Anunike was enjoying a fabulous season, leading the ACC sacks, and will be greatly missed moving forward.  BDN wishes him a speedy recovery.

Red Zone prowess

The Blue Devils were a perfect 7 for 7 in the red zone which helped them to 48 points, a season high.  The last time Duke scored more was November 6th against Virginia last season.  Duke also got a26 yard  field goal from Jeffrey Ijjas. Coach Cut said that it was a confidence builder in case Will Snyderwine got hurt again.  Actually, Snyderwine is still on the mend but did kick some of the extra points for the Blue Devils.

Blue Devil Nation Video will have some player interviews up shortly.

Looking at the Stats: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Duke notched their first win of the season on Saturday with a 20-19 victory over the Boston College Eagles to improve to 1-2 on the season. The victory was Coach David Cutcliffe’s third conference road victory and 13th overall win at the helm of the Blue Devils.

With three games in the books, season statistics start to have meaning by showing trends so here is a look at where Duke is shining and where they are in need of improvement. Even though this article is titled The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, there is no more relevant starting point than the ugly.

The Ugly

Duke’s performance in the Red Zone has been abysmal! In fact, Duke is ranked 120 out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams having ventured into the Red Zone 10 times with a success rate of 40 percent. Duke has missed three field goals, thrown an interception, turned the ball over on downs, and had time expire to end the 1st half on the six unsuccessful possessions.

The need to solve the Red Zone woes cannot be overstated. The Blue Devils must capitalize and come away with points at a much, much higher percentage on future trips into the Red Zone.

Equally troubling is Duke’s 0-6 performance on Field Goal attempts. A healthy Will Snyderwine back on the field should solve this problem. However, until Snyderwine is able to resume the kicking duties, Duke could be looking to try to convert fourth down into first down when in field goal range.

Enough discussion on the ugly stuff…

The Good

Defensive End Kenny Anunike leads the ACC in Sacks with four and is third in Tackles for Loss with five. An inability to pressure the quarterback has been a concern for the Blue Devils’ defense so Anunike’s performance the past two games is an exciting development and a statistic worth watching closely the next couple of weeks.

Staying on the defensive side of the ball, Matt Daniels is fifth in the ACC in Tackles averaging 10.3 per game and Kelby Brown is 17th with 6.7.

A known strength of the Blue Devils offense is talent and depth at the wide receiver position. All three of Duke’s starting wide outs are ranked in the ACC Top 10 in Receptions per Game. Conner Vernon is tied for third with 6.7, Donovan Varner is number six with 6, and Brandon Braxton is number seven with 5.7. Additionally, Vernon is tied for fifth in Receiving Yards per Game averaging 97.3.

Combining the Blue Devils’ wide receiver talent with quarterback Sean Renfree, results in Duke being ranked 25 of 120 nationally, and five of 12 in the ACC, in Passing Offense averaging 296.67 yards through the air per game.

Renfree set Duke’s single game completions record in the game against Boston College. His 41 completions this past Saturday surpassed Thaddeus Lewis’ previous mark of 40 completions set in 2009 against N.C. State.

Another noteworthy performer is true freshman Jamison Crowder who is ranked fourth in the ACC in Kick Returns averaging 21.2 yards per kick. Crowder has displayed good speed and looked good running the ball so fans should keep an eye on him because he has a good chance to break off a couple of long returns before this season is over.

Lee Butler is fourth in the ACC in Punt Returns averaging 7.7 yards per return.

The Bad

At 18.3 points per game, Duke is 11th in the ACC in Scoring Offense. With the arsenal of weapons available on offense, this is a statistic which must improve and a statistic everyone associated with the program expects to improve. Simply stated, Duke is too talented on the offensive side of the ball to continue to struggle scoring points.

Finally, the Blue Devils have failed to consistently run the ball in their first three games and are currently rank tied for 10th in the ACC at 96.3 yards per game. The struggles can be partially attributed to injuries sustained by Desmond Scott in the first game of the season and Josh Snead during preseason, but Duke needs to show improvement in the running game as the season progresses.

Juwan Thompson has been impressive averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the season but he needs help sharing the running responsibilities. The pending return to action of Desmond Scott in the next week or two will certainly provide Thompson the support he requires as Scott has been Duke’s leading rusher the past two seasons.

Moving Forward

The next two weeks will be critical as Duke faces non-conference foe Tulane (2-1), in Wallace Wade Stadium, followed by a trip to Miami to face the Florida International Golden Panthers (3-0). The expectation is Duke will build off the road victory over Boston College and play inspired football against the last two non-conference opponents this season. The objective is to reach Bye Week with a 3-2 record and then focus upon the tough ACC schedule in October and November.

Blue Devil Nation will be all over the action providing Duke Fans complete football coverage including an updated look at the statistics after the trip to play FIU.

BDN Rapid Reaction: Duke 20, Boston College 19

Duke emerged the victor in Chestnut Hill this afternoon with a 20-19 victory over the Boston College Eagles. It was an up-and-down game for both sides, but the Blue Devils were able to persevere.

No good!

Miscues in the kicking game were the story for both teams, highlighted by Nate Freese’s 23-yard FG try off the left upright with 43 seconds remaining. Freese also had a costly missed extra point earlier in the game. Duke had more than its fair share of kicking struggles, headlined by a blocked Alex King punt, a missed 33-yard FG by Jeff Ijjas, and a kickoff out of bounds by Paul Asack. Duke may have come away with the victory, but the question marks in the kicking game persist, and one has to wonder how long Duke can leave freshman Will Monday on the sideline if Will Snyderwine remains injured.

Killer V’s back on track

After an inconsistent start to the season, Duke’s dynamic receiving duo returned to their All-ACC form on Saturday, finishing with 18 catches and 194 receiving yards combined. Both took a few hard hits from the BC defense, but managed to secure the football and move the chains. Junior Conner Vernon had two impressive TD catches and finished with 6 catches and 112 yards. Senior Donovan Varner had his best game of the season and a career-high 12 catches. Brandon Braxton added 9 catches for 60 yards and tight end Cooper Helfet finished with 6 receptions for 59 yards. Juwan Thompson had 104 all-purpose yards, and overall, the Duke offense racked up 465 yards of total offense.

Renfree gets his mojo back

The story of the day for the Blue Devils, however, was the play of Duke QB Sean Renfree, who finally put up the kind of numbers Duke fans have come to expect from the redshirt-junior. Despite hit after hit from Luke Kuechly and the BC defense, Renfree stood strong and finished with 40 completions, 359 yards, and 2 touchdowns. His 1 interception came on a tipped pass that certainly could have been caught. Perhaps most importantly, it was Renfree, and not redshirt-freshman Anthony Boone, who pushed his way far enough into the end zone for the go-ahead 1-yard TD in the 4th quarter. This definitely was a performance for the second-year starting QB to build on.

Costly mistakes

Duke fans have seen their share of close losses over the years, and it certainly seemed like this was shaping up to be another heartbreaker. Instead, the disappointment falls on Boston College, who squandered their opportunity to win in the final seconds. The Blue Devils, however, made things difficult on themselves with numerous costly mistakes. In addition to the kicking woes, the Blue Devils were whistled for 9 devastating penalties for 79 yards. At least three of those penalties negated first downs for the offense, and a personal foul on the final BC drive nearly cost the game. The Blue Devils will have to eliminate these costly mistakes if they hope to play winning football. Fans and players should enjoy this victory today, and carry the good vibes into next weekend against Tulane. Starting tomorrow, however, it is back to work for #dukegang.

Bring on the Green Wave! WE ARE DUKE!

Stanford's Andrew Luck was finally able to smile in the 2nd half against Duke

Missed opportunities haunt Blue Devils against Stanford

Stanford's Andrew Luck was finally able to smile in the 2nd half against Duke-BDN Photo

BDN Rapid Reaction

The Blue Devils fell to Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal, 44-14 in Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday. The game played out much like we expected, with Duke competing with the Cardinal early, but unable to sustain their intensity for four quarters. Here’s our rapid reaction, along with our postgame interviews:

Missed opportunities

Duke scored just 1 of 3 trips to the red zone, missed three FGs, and recovered an onside kick but did nothing with the possession. In contrast, Stanford scored on all 4 of their trips to the red zone. That was essentially the difference in the game, as the Blue Devils failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities. The Duke offense was able to move the football well, racking up 335 total yards of offense, but couldn’t find the end zone until late in the 4th quarter on Anthony Boone’s 2-yard TD run. The turning point in the game was on the opening drive of the 2nd half, when Duke drove the ball into the red zone, but again came up empty. Stanford would score on the next possession to go up 24-7 and essentially put the game away. Too many missed opportunities to knock off the #6 team in the country; Duke will have to sort out their red zone struggles next week against a tough BC defense.

Defense challenges the Heisman favorite

It’s been a long time since the Blue Devil defense made a Heisman candidate look uncomfortable under center. In fact, the Duke defense has historically made average college QBs look like Heisman contenders. Today was a different story, as the Blue Devils were able to pressure Andrew Luck, knocking him down on several plays, including 2 sacks, and forcing a rare interception. In the 1st half, the Duke defense played well enough to keep the Blue Devils in the game, but without any help from the offense, they were unable to sustain their momentum. Senior safety Matt Daniels had another outstanding game with 13 tackles and likely caught the eye of several of the NFL scouts in attendance.

Great crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium

It takes more than a dismal opening week loss to Richmond to dim the spirits of the Duke Football faithful. While there were certainly several sections of empty seats, particularly in the hot sun, but the nearly 25,000 fans who were there were loud and intense. In particular, the much maligned Duke student section in Wallace Wade Stadium was as good as it has been in years. Well done! This Duke team has shown flashes of putting the pieces together, and their best football is still ahead of them this season. An excellent road test awaits in Chestnut Hill next Saturday, followed by a very winnable Homecoming matchup against Tulane. Let’s Go Duke!

 

Matt Daniels Interview

 

Kelby Brown Interview

Juwan Thompson Interview

 

Coach Cutcliffe Press Conference

 

Sean Renfree paced the Blue Devil offense in a situational scrimmage Tuesday evening. -BDN Photo

Renfree Highlights 60-snap scrimmage

Sean Renfree paced the Blue Devil offense in a situational scrimmage Tuesday evening. -BDN Photo

DURHAM, N.C. – Redshirt junior quarterback Sean Renfree completed 12-of-14 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown to highlight Duke’s 60-play situational scrimmage on Tuesday night at the Brooks Practice Facility.

Renfree’s scoring toss covered 10 yards to senior wideout Donovan Varner while senior tight end Cooper Helfet caught a scrimmage-high three passes for 45 yards.

“We got some good work in tonight,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said.  “We put ourselves in game-like situations to get a better feel.  This is the best camp we’ve had since we’ve been here.  It has been very competitive and very physical.  From August 8th until now, we’ve become a better football team.”

Sophomore running back Juwan Thompson headlined the ground attack with a 20-yard touchdown run.  The Blue Devils scrimmaged without the services of running backs Patrick Kurunwune and Josh Snead, and Cutcliffe expressed concern with the depth at the position.

“Josh Snead got hurt yesterday,” Cutcliffe said.  “We’ll wait for further evaluation by our medical staff before giving an update.  Patrick has missed some time.  Jay (Hollingsworth) has missed some time.  You do the math.”

Duke’s defense received a lift when senior safety Matt Daniels returned a fumble 29 yards for a touchdown.

The Blue Devils open the 2011 season at home against Richmond on September 3 at 7 p.m. in Wallace Wade Stadium.  Tickets are available online at www.GoDuke.com/tickets or by calling the Duke Athletics Ticket Office at 919-681-2583.