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Duke rides a 4-game losing streak into Saturday's matchup with UVA in Charlottesville

Duke looks to make it 4 in a row against Virginia

Duke rides a 4-game losing streak into Saturday's matchup with UVA in Charlottesville

Duke (3-6, 1-4 ACC) will look to make it four in a row against the Virginia Cavaliers (6-3, 3-2 ACC) on Saturday. Heading into the 3PM kickoff in Charlottesville, the Blue Devils are riding a 4-game losing streak while the surprising Wahoos have won 4 out of 5. Virginia ranks 3rd in the ACC in both total offense and total defense, and will present a significant challenge for Duke on both sides of the ball. After a disappointing performance on the road in Miami a week ago, the Blue Devils will need to put together a much better effort in Charlottesville if they hope to secure a tough ACC road win.

GAME INFO

Duke at Virginia

3:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 12

Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network; Sirius XM Radio (Channels 92 & 190)
TV: RSN – Rich Waltz (Play-by-play), Keith Jones (Analyst) and Jenn Hildreth (Sideline)
Internet: GoDuke.com; theACC.com

KEYS FOR DUKE

Duke's Desmond Scott dove for the game-winning TD last year against UVA -Lance Images

1. Winning attitude: Duke is in the midst of a 4-game losing streak, and it shows. The Blue Devils have lost tough games to Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and are in danger of taking a turn to Negative Town. Defensive leaders Matt Daniels and Charlie Hatcher will have to keep their unit focused and confident after they were picked apart by a speedy Miami offense last Saturday. Sean Renfree must take control of the offense, and Kyle Hill must do a better job keeping the offensive line in sync. In short, Duke must play hungry for a win for a full 60 minutes on Saturday.

2. Win the line of scrimmage: Football is won and lost in the trenches, and UVA’s offensive line has helped to power them to their 6-3 start after a dismal 2010 season. The Cavaliers rank 3rd in the ACC with 190 rushing yards per game and are 2nd in the ACC with just 8 sacks allowed all season. If the Blue Devils are to win this game, their young defensive linemen will have to play up to their potential. First and foremost, Duke cannot allow UVA to open holes for RB Perry Jones, who enters the game averaging 5.3 yards per carry. If the Blue Devils can put first-year QB Michael Rocco under pressure, he will make bad throws, as evidenced by his 9 INTs on the season. Virginia as a team ranks last in the ACC with 13 interceptions thrown, a number which the Blue Devil secondary will have to add to on Saturday.

3. 60 Minutes: Coach-speak, cliché, call it whatever you want. Virginia is a good football team and it will take a complete effort for the Blue Devils to pull off an upset on the road. Perhaps most important will be the offensive effort, as Duke’s offense has been wildly inconsistent of late. Sean Renfree will have to be wary of Chase Minnifield lurking in the Virginia secondary, but should be able to find mismatches in the Blue Devils’ favor down the field. Senior Cam Johnson will present a challenge for the Duke offensive line, but the duo of Desmond Scott and Juwan Thompson should still find room to run. Duke has 3 straight wins against Virginia, and they will have to play with confidence and consistency to keep their streak intact.

WHAT TO WATCH

1. Blue Devil Streaks: Duke has a few players closing in on several school records.

  • Senior WR Donovan Varner needs just two more catches to tie Clarkston Hines’ all-time receptions record at Duke. Varner ranks second with 187 grabs. Junior teammate WR Conner Vernon is right behind Varner with 184 catches.
  • Redshirt senior K Will Snyderwine compiled two points last week and ranks fourth on Duke’s all-time scoring chart with 209 points … Randy Gardner is third on the list with 221 points.
  • Donovan Varner has at least one catch in 34 straight games to match the third-longest streak in Duke history … The school record of 35 is held by Scottie Montgomery.

2. Red zone offense: It’s no secret Duke has struggled to score points at times this season. Duke ranks next to last in the ACC in red zone efficiency, scoring on just 72% of their opportunities. If the Blue Devils come away empty-handed in the red zone on Saturday, it will be an ominous sign.

3. Duke seniors: In particular, Matt Daniels and Donovan Varner, two great representatives of the Duke program, who always seem to come up with a play when their number is called. Duke fans have just three games left to watch these two All-ACC seniors and their classmates take the field. This senior class has never lost to Virginia, and would like to keep it that way on Saturday.

PREDICTION

Matt Daniels has never lost to UVA. Sean Renfree has never lost to UVA. Coach Cutcliffe is 3-0 against UVA since arriving in Durham. Coming off one of their most disappointing performances of the Cutcliffe era, Duke needs a win in the worst way. Expect the Blue Devils to put together a much improved effort against a bowl-bound Virginia team. At 6-3, the Wahoos have been one of the biggest surprises in the ACC this season, and they’ll certainly be gunning for the Blue Devils after 3 straight losses in the rivalry. There are few instances where history and karma seem to be on the Blue Devils’ side, but this may be one of them. Duke seems to have the Cavaliers’ number, and they come into this game with nothing to lose, in desperate need of a win. Duke 24, UVA 20

DT Korren Kirven has a busy summer planned

ESPNU150 DT Korren Kirven is staying in contact with Duke

DT Korren Kirven has a busy summer planned

Under new defensive line coach Rick Petri, the Blue Devils have targeted some of the top defensive line prospects in the class of 2012. One of the first linemen to visit Durham and pick up a verbal scholarship offer was Korren Kirven, a 6’5” 275 pound prospect from Lynchburg, Virginia. The recently-named ESPNU150 defensive tackle is now up to over 20 scholarship offers from many of the top programs in the ACC and SEC. Kirven visited Durham again for the Nike camp on May 23 and came away with All-Camp Team honors. When BDN last spoke with Kirven, he had come away impressed with the Duke program: “Duke – their whole academic thing down there is really good…it was a good visit.” With his recruitment picking up, Korren checked back in with BDN to update his summer plans.

BDN: How has your spring been going?

We had 7-on-7 stuff, that’s almost over. We have one more event, that’s at  UVA and we’re going to be traveling up there to play. That’s it with spring ball, but we’re going to be starting weight lifting, our weight-lifting program on Monday.

BDN: How has your 7-on-7 season gone?

We’ve been doing good, I think we only lost one time. Other than that, I think we’ve been pretty good.

BDN: What schools have you visited this spring?

I’m going down to UNC soon. The schools that I’ve visited, though, have been Virginia Tech, Duke, Tennessee, and Virginia. I think that’s about it, but I’m going to be doing a lot of traveling this summer.

BDN: Which coaches have had a chance to stop by to see you this spring?

Virginia Tech’s coaches, UVA, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Marshall, Colorado, Texas Tech, UCF, it’s quite a few of them. There’s a lot of them, I can’t really name all of them right now, but it was quite a few of them.

BDN: Which schools have you been in contact with the most so far?

My Virginia schools I always stay in contact with, but other than that, Alabama, Tennessee, Duke, Rutgers, Stanford, Notre Dame, Colorado, and Florida have been the schools that I’ve stayed in touch with, and Maryland.

BDN: You mentioned taking a lot of visits this summer, which schools are you definitely planning to visit?

Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, Colorado, and possibly Oregon.

BDN: Obviously you’ve got a lot of great choices in front of you, how you do plan to start to narrow things down at this point?

Yeah, I’m going to take all my visits and slowly narrow down my list and go from there. I’ll take all my officials and then I guess I’ll have a school.

BDN: That sounds like a long way off right now, doesn’t it?

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah.

BDN: Which schools do you feel like you have the best relationship with right now?

Always the Virginia schools stand out, but like I said, Florida and Alabama, and Tennessee.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Korren, and best of luck to you.

Okay, thank you man.