Tag Archives: 2019 Duke Football

Duke Condensed Game Highlights

The Duke Blue Devils handed the Virginia Tech Hokies their worst loss since joining the ACC with a 45-10 win.  Duke moves to 1-0 in the ACC and 3-1 overall on the season.  We will be talking of this epic victory soon enough but until then here is the condensed game (18:32) to watch or rewatched for your pleasure.  Duke had some outstanding highlights, so check it out.



Duke-Virginia Tech Friday Night Lights

Duke will take on Virginia Tech tonight at 7:00 on ESPN in a rare Friday night appearance.  The stakes are more than a little high for both teams find themselves at a season crossroads.  Both teams are 2-1 and while this is the ACC opener for Duke, Virginia Tech lost to Boston College in their opening game.  Since that time, the Hokies have won two straight games as have the Blue Devils.  To say this game is huge in a quest for competing in the Coastal Division is an understatement.  What does it all mean?  It will be a tense game where both teams lay it on the line.

About the Hokies

Expectations are always high in Blacksburg and this season is an important one for their head coach, Justin Fuente.  Hokies fans are currently mildly depressed that the team struggled to defeat Furman and Old Dominion, but that is because they are spoiled by lineage and expect a lot.

In hindsight, the 14 point win over Old Dominion looks much better now after they almost took down Virginia.  What I am saying is there is some overreaction by some in Blacksburg.  It is also clear, the Hokies have plenty of size and talent where they can throw two running backs at teams and a large offensive front.

While the Hokies have moved some people around on the offensive front, they are huge.  They also are likely to try to establish their running game more and like Duke, have had an off week to adjust their system.

Virginia Tech also hired respected former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill to their staff.  This means, they have had a lot of people studying Duke on film.  The Hokies main strength is the their quarterback, Ryan Willis.  He chewed up the Duke defense a season ago in a 31-14 win over a then-ranked and undefeated Duke team.  That loss sent Duke reeling for a bit before they found their way to a sixth win.

The bottom line is the Hokies in Blacksburg will lay it all on the line.  They have tall wideouts, a defense coached by a legendary Bud Foster.

About the Blue Devils

Duke coach David Cutcliffe has a solid relationship with Fuente and Foster.  But he and his staff must put that aside and have an almost perfect effort to win their ACC opener.  Duke has looked good since their season-opening loss to #2 Alabama.

A big reason for Duke winning their last two games has been the play of senior quarterback Quentin Harris.  The dual-threat Harris has been able to blend in well with pretty much an all new and very young group of receivers.

Last year, one of the more disappointing losses came at home to the Hokies.  In that game, Duke was undefeated and ranked but fell behind quickly and let down a capacity crowd in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The measuring stick for this season comes against the Hokies.  This is a huge game for the Blue Devils, who own one of the nations most difficult schedules.  In short, they need this win for bowl aspirations.

Duke is more than capable of coming out with a win.  But an untimely turnover or lack of early aggression could derail their hopes.  But it will also take four quarters of football and the thought here is Duke wants to be in the game in the fourth quarter.

What needs to happen for a win

Duke did not get pressure on Ryan Willis a season ago and if they allow him time he will pick them apart.  It has been a very long time since the Duke secondary has come away with an interception, so one of those to break the ice would surely help.  Duke will need to be resilient for they can expect some haymakers thrown their way.

What will happen

Firstly, I see a close game.  Virginia Tech opened as a 7 point favorite and that has dropped to 3.  I have seen that kind of movement go both ways, so while I am 3-0 straight up and 3-0 against the spread with predictions, I am swaying back and forth on what will happen tonight.

Conventional wisdom says pick the Hokies for the win.  It has been a few years since Duke won this game in overtime when Thomas Sirk showed the blueprint on how to win.  That blueprint was to play hard and when punched, punch harder.

I think Duke held Quentin Harris back a little when they went to an option a week ago.  But can Duke show enough new wrinkles to overcome the like of Jerry Kill helping the Hokies out or Bud Foster adjusting his defense after a bye week?

When teams get a week off, some improve greatly.  I think this will happen with the Hokies who feel they have to play better football.  On the other hand, Cutcliffe teams play well with time to prepare,

To date, the Hokies have turned the ball over a lot this season.  But a week off may cure that.  On the other side of the ball, the Duke defense has forced just 3 turnovers and had to steal a possession against Middle Tennessee State with an onside kick.

My common gut says to pick the Hokies 34-28.  My heart says it is time for Duke to win 31-28.

In short, this one can go either way.  For more on the intangibles and things I will not mention here, join Blue Devil Nation during our yearly special.

The pick is Duke 28-27



Duke Will Survive Road Challenge With Focus

The Duke Blue Devils travel to Middle Tennessee State this weekend where both teams hope to end the contest with a winning record.  The game will kick off around 7:00 and will be carried by Facebook Live.

About Middle Tennessee State

Firstly, the Blue Raiders have a potent offensive attack.  They scored 21 points in a loss at Michigan to open the season before bouncing back with a 45-26 win over Tennessee State.

Rick Stockstill has built a solid program in Murfreesboro and his teams have scored 30 or more points 74 times under his watch.  This years team is led by quarterback Asher O'Hara (runs and throws effectively) and wideout Ty Lee.  Both are talented players who are but a small part of the offense which also poses a strong ground attack.

Middle Tennessee ran the ball effectively a week ago after a slow start in Michigan.  They went undefeated at home a season ago and the last time they faced an ACC foe, they upset Syracuse on the road two years ago.

On defense, the Blue Raiders start six seniors and three juniors which provide experience.


This weekends contest will be their annual blackout game where fans are asked to wear black.  The Blue Raiders are 8-3 in these contests reserved for their better opponents.

The weather will be hot.  It is plenty humid in the Triangle this time of year, but also very much so in the middle of the state of Tennessee.

Duke must stay aggressive throughout the whole game for looking at the Middle Tennessee schedule the past few years, shows they are capable of putting up big points in the late quarters.  In other words, they adjust well after the half.

About Duke

The Blue Devils will try to be more consistent on both sides of the ball this week.  On offense, they need to start faster than in their first two games.  On defense, they need to limit big plays and third-down opportunities.

Last week, Quentin Harris was fabulous against the Aggies.  This week he faces an opponent in between the talent of Alabama and N.C. A&T, so all eyes will be on how he performs.

Duke has multiple injuries and some key players or starters will be out for this game.  While the Alabama game was technically played on a neutral field, this will be the Blue Devils first road contest.

Our thoughts on the outcome

This is more or less a must-win game for Duke if they want to keep bowl hopes alive.  On the other side, Middle Tennessee State is looking at this as one of their biggest opportunities to knock off a power five school at home.  Both teams face a difficult schedule in the future after this game.  Middle Tennessee will travel to Iowa a week later and Duke preps for the ACC opener at Virginia Tech after an off week.

Look for Duke to get the Blue Raiders best shot and they are not a team that will wilt as mentioned earlier.  That said, Duke needs a good start and to play resilient and match their opponent's emotion.

I feel there will be an emphasis on getting the running game going for Duke this week, but it the game will come down to playing opportunistic defense and the passing game.

Middle Tennessee will give Duke some trouble with their offensive schemes, but the Blue Devils defense should stiffen up enough to allow the offense a chance to win the game.

The pick here is Duke 35 Middle Tennessee State 21

My season prediction record to date is 2-0 overall and 2-0 vs the spread.  Last week I had the exact point differential of 32 in the win over NC A&T.  

Duke picked 5th in Coastal

GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Reigning national champion Clemson is an overwhelming preseason favorite to claim its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference football title, according to a poll of 173 media members credentialed for last week’s 2019 ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Tigers, who posted a perfect 15-0 record last season en route to earning their second College Football Playoff championship in three years, were also chosen to repeat as Atlantic Division winners. Virginia was picked to finish atop the Coastal Division following an eight-win 2018 season that culminated with a 28-0 shutout of South Carolina in the Belk Bowl.
Clemson was named the likely 2019 ACC champion on 170 ballots. Syracuse picked up two votes, and Virginia received one.
In the Atlantic Division preseason voting, Clemson led the way with 171 first-place votes and 1,209 total points. Syracuse received the other two first-place votes while placing second with 913 points.
Florida State (753 points) was tabbed for a third-place Atlantic Division finish, followed by NC State (666), Boston College (588), Wake Forest (462) and Louisville (253).
The balloting proved much tighter in the Coastal Division, where Virginia received 82 first-place votes and amassed 1,003 total points. The Cavaliers placed just 11 points ahead of Miami (55 first-place votes, 992 points), while Virginia Tech finished third in the voting with 20 first-place votes and 827 points.
All seven Coastal Division teams received at least one first-place vote. Pitt (eight first-place votes, 691) was fourth in the overall voting, followed by Duke (six first-place votes, 566). North Carolina (463) and Georgia Tech (302) each received one first-place vote.
The Atlantic and Coastal Division winners will meet in the 2019 ACC Football Championship Game on Saturday, December 7, at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
ACC Championship Votes
1. Clemson – 170
2. Syracuse – 2
3. Virginia – 1
Atlantic Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)
1. Clemson (171) – 1,209
2. Syracuse (2) – 913
3. Florida State – 753
4. NC State – 666
5. Boston College – 588
6. Wake Forest – 462
7. Louisville – 253
Coastal Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)
1. Virginia (82) – 1,003
2. Miami (55) – 992
3. Virginia Tech (20) – 827
4. Pitt (8) – 691
5. Duke (6) –566
6. North Carolina (1) – 463
7. Georgia Tech (1) – 302