Daniel Jones Making a Comeback (Literally)

 

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Source: MSN: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/duke-qb-daniel-jones-could-be-back-for-virginia-tech-game-just-weeks-after-surgery/ar-BBNDSeU

Just three weeks following surgery to repair a fractured left clavicle, Duke’s Daniel Jones is back for the Blue Devils and will start against Virginia Tech. We knew that he had a shot at returning during October, but a return this early is both exciting and nervewracking. Every hit he takes will be a scare, but I trust the judgment of Duke’s medical team to get him out when he’s able, which is apparently now. Duke Basketball Report stated the situation well:

“Three weeks isn’t long for most people to get over surgery and most of us aren’t running for our lives every Saturday.”

–JD King

“Facts.”

–Me

Bleed blue. Go Duke!

Preview: Virginia Tech

If you’re a football fan in any way, you probably know that Duke isn’t your average “football school”, and while Virginia Tech is no Bama, they’re formidable just about every year. Duke has managed to challenge them and even win in 2015 in awesome fashion:

That year was actually a similar situation to this year: the Blue Devils were pretty darn good that year and even made the Pinstripe Bowl Game, but Virginia Tech had struggled a bit that year, during coach Frank Beamer’s final year before retirement. Duke was even ranked at a similar spot to their current one: they were 23rd in the country at the time, which, by coincidence, was the last time Duke was ranked in college football before now. We took the Hokies to four OTs before finally defeating them on a magical two-point conversion by Thomas Sirk. Sirk would go on to transfer after losing the starting spot to his backup, who is now quarterback Daniel Jones. That game promoted Duke to officially bowl eligible. It was thrilling to watch.

Now Duke faces the Hokies in a similar yet slightly different situation: this time we’ll be at home, and Tech, who was previously ranked thirteenth, is coming off a stunning loss and a fall from the rankings after being shocked by Old Dominion. No, that’s no typo.

Duke has faced injury woes this season, from quarterback Daniel Jones’s broken collarbone to cornerback Mark Gilbert’s dislocated hip. It’s all been not-great luck for us, but the backups have stepped up to the challenge and have done well against Baylor and NCCU. Virginia Tech, despite the loss of starting quarterback Josh Jackson, is easily one of the most intimidating opponents we’ll face all season and it’s time for some guys to step up.

Players to Watch

If you watched the highlights of the 2015 Duke vs. Virginia Tech matchup, you probably saw that Shaun Wilson 58-yard run. Last year was Wilson’s final year as a Blue Devil, but fellow running back Brittain Brown, who shared touches with Wilson during his final year, has made himself into a star this year and he could have a big game in a big game. Old Dominion torched a usually stout defense, and hopefully Brittain Brown can find some routes to get the Duke offense rolling before Virginia Tech can figure too much out.

On the defensive end of the field, Joe Giles-Harris is one of the best linebackers in the game. He plays the weakside and against Northwestern racked up 9 tackles! We need him, big time.

Bleed blue.

Date: Saturday, September 29

Time: 7pm

Location: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC

Broadcast: ESPN2

*** UPDATE: Daniel Jones will start vs. Virginia Tech three weeks after surgery ***

Injury Report: Jones Out “Indefinitely”, Mark Gilbert Done for Season After Surgeries

Duke’s Mark Gilbert (28), who is out for the season, and Michael Carter II (26) embrace. Source: Zimbio

DURHAM, NC — Unfortunately, just happens in football. After yesterday’s win at Northwestern, two of the star players for the Blue Devils, QB Daniel Jones and CB Mark Gilbert, are going to be out for a while: Gilbert is out for the season and Jones is out indefinitely, per WRAL Sports. Both underwent surgeries on Sunday, as Jones suffered a fractured collarbone while Gilbert suffered what has been described as a freak hip injury. Luckily, Coach David Cutcliffe said that Jones’s injury was not season-ending and thinks that it “will be a much shorter recovery”. Gilbert, an All-American candidate, is an enormous loss, of course, but Jones’s indefinite recovery is a spark of optimism for us. Junior Quentin Harris will need to step up as Jones’s backup in the coming weeks: Duke visits Baylor next Saturday before returning home to face NC Central and, subsequently, VA Tech, who looks to be one of our most formidable opponents this season. Bleed blue, Duke fans. Look on the bright side: our defense looked stout and our offense still has weapons. All is not lost!

Duke Defeats Northwestern at a Price

EVANSTON, IL. — The good thing? We won. The bad thing? The price. QB Daniel Jones got off to the same start that killed the Wildcats a year ago, but at the beginning of the fourth quarter, he went out with an apparent shoulder injury, though collarbone seems to be another outlook, which isn’t good either. Mark Gilbert, our star cornerback, was helped off with a hip injury and could not put weight on his left side. Both players could face long-term injuries, which is a potentially tremendous issue for the entire season’s outlook. Coach David Cutcliffe said that Gilbert will be out for “quite some time” and Jones’s injury “doesn’t look great”. This is just awful. Losing either player would be a major blow to the Blue Devils: third-year Jones started the season looking better than ever, holding a completion percentage of more than 74% and throwing a whopping 3 touchdown passes in one quarter this afternoon, plus a 7/0 touchdown-turnover ratio in the first two games. while Gilbert had an ACC-leading six interceptions last season and is one of the best cornerbacks arguably in college football. It appears that Gilbert will be out for most, if not the remainder, of the season. In addition to Gilbert and Jones, center Zach Harmon, a veteran voice on a young, developing O-line also had to be helped off the field for a leg injury, while Jeremy McDuffie was unable to participate as well.

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Daniel Jones (17) and Brittain Brown (22). Source: The Chronicle (dukechronicle.com)

Not much good you can say about the game. We played wonderfully. The offense rolled, Quentin Harris wasn’t bad and didn’t turn the ball over. The defense was stout throughout the game even after losing Gilbert and deserves respectOur thoughts are with the injured players for a speedy recovery. Bleed blue.

Next Up: Northwestern

Joe Giles-Harris (44) calls for a recovered fumble as players pile on. © Duke Athletics

Duke will visit a familiar face this weekend: they’ve had a thing going with the Wildcats for a while and beat them pretty handily last year (they hadn’t otherwise) but Northwestern is good again and will be a really tough opponent, especially on their home soil.

For one thing (and no diss to Army) there’s a pretty big step up in the quality of the D-line, and Duke’s young offensive line needs to step it up to protect our quarterback. Daniel Jones thrived on the run-pass option play last year and absolutely befuddled the Wildcats’ linebackers. This year, without some key guys on the offensive line, that won’t be so easy and the offensive line will be a vital part of our success.

Last year Duke kept their offensive guys on the field, and while tiring, that was rewarding as it kept the NU offense off of it. The Northwestern offense is good but extremely inconsistent from the small sample we’ve had. That or Purdue really locked in on defense: in week one, the Wildcats scored 31 in the first half alone and then were held scoreless in the second half of play. The Boilermakers didn’t get quite enough offense going and Northwestern won, 31-27. It’s really difficult to go from 30 minutes/31 points to zero. I have no idea what happened but the only thing we need to be sure of is that they don’t score 31 in the first half in the first place. They also play two quarterbacks, so Duke has both of those guys to worry about.

Offensively, Brittain Brown should play after last week’s little scare, which eliminates lots of worries for one of Duke’s star players. I’m confident in both the offense and defense for the Blue Devils. We just have to get both rolling to limit and then hit the Wildcats where it hurts them (football-wise).

InsideNU is thinking vengeance (and lots of other comments about my hometown, our students, and our football program simply because we kicked their rear ends last season). We’re thinking validation that last season’s dub was no fluke. Bleed blue.

Duke Football Kicks Off, Cruises Past Army, 34-14

Both teams played very hard, as expected from the two schools, but in the end, Duke had the upper hand. In their opening game Friday night, Duke defeated Army West Point in a somewhat validating redemption game. Duke’s last loss of last season, the last of their six-game losing streak, was to the Black Knights, in a 20-16 shocker. The offense was amazing, especially for the first game of the season. TJ Rahming has brought in an improved game even from last year’s breakout, while Brittain Brown is probably one of the best if not the best player on the team.

Personally, I was there. The stadium was electrified, and some new effects were added for this season, like flickering lights. Not to mention the crowd when Zion Williamson and Nolan Smith showed up on the jumbotron.

Daniel Jones: Veteran

In his junior year (gulp: hello, NFL Draft eligibility), Daniel Jones showed off his arm:

His legs, too. He had some good decisions to run in the game as well.

Brittain Brown was the star of the show, and there was a scary moment where Brown went down in the 3rd quarter. Brown walked out of his own accord after apparently injuring his knee, however, and while Coach Cutcliffe later said that he would be sore following the injury but the trajectory was fine. He actually did return during the game but did not make any carries.

Joe Giles-Harris also left the game, but he said he cramped, plain and simple, so while painful, it’s nothing serious.

Bleed blue. Sorry about the late post. #DukeGang is back!

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