Duke Routs Temple for Independence Bowl, 56-27

Duke finished off this season with a bang to win the Walk-On Independence Bowl, defeating the Temple Owls by a smashing score of 56-27. Not much was expected as Duke had lost their two final games of the season in lopsided fashion and had been 2-4 later in the season after a 5-1 start. The Blue Devils came in a 3.5-point underdog, especially having suffered multiple hits to the defensive corps throughout the season, including star CB Mark Gilbert, S Deondre Singleton, and Edgar Cerenord, and would also play without arguably their most important defensive players, Joe Giles-Harris and Ben Humphreys. However, the defense was the one that stepped up in the second half to hold Temple scoreless while the offense racked up 36 points to fuel the win.

Quarterback Daniel Jones played in what is likely to have been his final game in a Duke uniform, ending his season as prolifically as his team with 429 passing yard, 121 rushing yards, and 6 overall touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rushing). Senior wide receiver TJ Rahming also had an impressive performance in his last game, making 12 receptions for 240 yards, his season high. Temple couldn’t seem to defend Duke’s passing game, and as their offense was stopped by Duke’s defensive game, the second half was a downright blowout.

The defense stepped up incredibly well today despite a season marred by injuries. They stopped the owls on fourth down 3 times (one a botched snap on a punt), as well as under 50% on 3rd down (6-14). Duke’s offense was just a bit excited about throwing the ball on three separate occasions and was intercepted (twice for Jones, once for backup Quentin Harris who entered the game intermittently). Temple actually led 27-20 at the half, and had even led 20-7 early, but came to a grinding halt immediately as Duke started to roll on both sides of the field and the blowout began.

Offensively, multiple Independence Bowl records were set: Daniel Jones set two with both the most passing yards and passing touchdowns, while the entire team combined to set the scoring record.


Daniel Jones now has a decision to make regarding next season. Many have said- and personally, I agree- that leaving Duke for the 2018 NFL Draft would probably be the best option for Jones. As much as we love having him here at Duke, he’s graduated with a degree in economics and is one of the highest ranked quarterbacks this year- even a possible first round pick, something that hasn’t happened to a Duke quarterback in years (and only once!). With multiple NFL teams looking for a quarterback pretty much imminently, and the 2019 class looking stacked with guys like Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, he could easily go a lot higher if he were to leave this year. Also, that’s a full year of NFL salary. We’ve been so lucky to have him and he’s worked his butt off to go from barely being looked at as a recruit to a huge prospect in the NFL and he showed it today. Look to Krazies’ Korner to get information on his decision and next year’s outlook.

Bleed blue. Congratulations to the Duke football team of 2018!

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 ***

Duke Trounces NCCU, 55-13, But Injury Woes Get Worse

Deon Jackson carries the football as NCCU defensive players chase after. © Duke Athletics

 

 

Duke defeated NCCU on Saturday, 55-13, but the injury woes continued to worsen as Quentin Harris, who’s backing up QB Daniel Jones (fractured left clavicle), went down. Seriously, football gods? (We’ve had lots of injuries lately). Harris appears to be fine as he was riding a bike and grinning on the sideline, but boy, oh, boy, “appears” is not what we need right now. Brittain Brown also left with a hand injury, which is almost even more concerning.

Katre-magic

Chris Katrenick came in during the third quarter for Harris and led two scoring drives in his absence, which is encouraging. I’m happy for him, as he probably didn’t think he’d get too many minutes this season so it had to be pretty exciting for him as bad as the injuries to his predecessors are. Katrenick even led two scoring drives and finished out the game with 54 yards and a touchdown

4th Down Not-So-Magic

NCCU halted Duke on fourth down, the second time at the 1-yard line, four times during the game today. That’s certainly something to practice. On one of them, Harris fumbled and the Eagles returned it for a 55-yard defensive score, which brought the game to a nervewracking 20-13, Duke still in the lead. While Duke never trailed, that was certainly not somewhere we wanted to be.

Wait, What?

I just wanted to mention that the rumors are true: Duke LED two polls this week, those being based upon numbers instead of human voters. Not in basketball, soccer, or lacrosse: In football. Over Bama. For Duke to be ranked period is awesome, so #1 is almost unimaginable! Duke Football is on the rise. David Cutcliffe is our saving grace. By the way, we got votes on (more major) polls last week, too, and with all the upsets/near-upsets (Army, who we beat handily, took #6 Oklahoma to OT).

Next Up: Angry VA Tech

Next week, we’ll face an exceptionally angry Virginia Tech, who was ranked thirteenth in the nation until Old Dominion pulled one of the biggest upsets in decades on Saturday. We know for a fact that Virginia Tech is very, very good, and what the heck happened for them to lose 49-35 to the Monarchs has got to be one heck of a story, but also that they’re going to be really, really mad, and looking to avenge that loss. Duke will have to pull a lot of surprises to beat a Virginia Tech team that wants to beat somebody right now.

Bleed blue. Just a quick note about Jayson Tatum: is this not adorable?

 

 

Duke Rides Hot First Half to Beat Baylor, 40-27

Author’s note: Sorry for the delay on this one. I was not able to return to write this post until a few hours after the game. 

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Duke’s Brittain Brown (22) breaks a tackle. Source: YouTube.

Quentin Harris shone in his debut as Duke’s starter in Daniel Jones’s absence, whose left clavicle fracture is keeping him off the field and Harris on. Despite being absolutely riddled with injuries from last week, Duke was able to mostly keep it together and get the win, 40-27. The first half was hot for us on both ends of the field, in which the defense shut out Baylor and the offense scored 23 points, but the second half was where Duke was tested and demonstrated that they could prevail. Baylor was thinking comeback throughout the entire game. Kudos to them for the pertinacity to keep going.

The One-Hander

It’s not been very celebrated that Jonathan Lloyd made this catch one-handed for the epic touchdown during the second quarter. You watching, @SportsCenter?

Stout Defense 

Despite Duke’s streak of seven scoreless fourth quarters being broken, Duke’s defense just looks better and better. The defensive line imposed their will upon the Bears: both Baylor quarterbacks both had a tendency to hold the ball a little bit longer than necessary and it burned them (when the refs weren’t turning a blind eye to the O-line’s repeated holding offenses. Just sayin’).

Bleed blue. Duke will come back home to take on NCCU next weekend.

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.