2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 5 - Duke at FIU
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Oct. 1 Duke 31 … at FIU 27
CFN Analysis: All of a sudden, Duke has won three in a row with the offense coming through clutch and the defense doing a decent job. Reality is about to set in with Florida State, Wake Forest, and Virginia Tech up next, and the Blue Devils will probably be major underdogs in each of the final seven games, but for now, getting by a dangerous FIU team is something to get excited about. The Blue Devils were in trouble, but Juwan Thompson came up with two short touchdown runs after Sean Renfree and the passing game did its job to come up with the win. With two weeks off to bask in the victory, there's time to enjoy before the Seminoles come to town.
FIU should be 5-0. It gagged away the loss to Louisiana two weeks ago, and it couldn't hold on late to stop Duke in a demoralizing fourth quarter collapse. Wesley Carroll had one of his best games as a Golden Panther, completing 25-of-39 throws for 348 yards and three touchdowns, and T.Y. Hilton appeared to be back to normal with five catches for 102 yards and a 63-yard score, but when the defense needed a late hold, it couldn't get it. It'll be critical to come up with a blowout win over Akron next week before diving back into Sun Belt play against Arkansas State, and the secondary has to come up with a good outing after a rough few weeks.
(AP) MIAMI -- Juwan Thompson scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead Duke past Florida International 31-27 on Saturday night.
The Blue Devils (3-2) rallied from a 10-point deficit early in the fourth quarter and took the lead on Thompson's 9-yard run with 6:52 remaining. On the previous play, Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo sacked Panthers quarterback Wesley Carroll, forcing a fumble. Anthony Young-Wiseman recovered the fumble at the Florida International 17 and ran it to the 9-yard line.
The Panthers (3-2) drove to the Blue Devils 12, but Carroll's fourth-down pass to T.Y. Hilton in the end zone fell incomplete with 2:29 remaining.
The Blue Devils cut it to 27-24 on Thompson's 6-yard run with 11:56 left. Sean Renfree's 52-yard pass to Conner Vernon to the Panthers 9-yard line set up the run.
Carroll threw his third touchdown pass with 13:30 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Panthers ahead 27-17. Carroll connected with Wayne Times on a 34-yard catch and run.
Renfree completed 28 of 43 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns while Carroll finished 26 of 40 for 328 yards.
The teams exchanged leads twice during a 31-point first quarter.
Florida International erased a 3-0 deficit on one play as Carroll connected with Hilton for a 63-yard play action touchdown pass and a 7-3 lead.
The Blue Devils countered and regained the lead 14-10 with a 5-play, 68-yard drive capped by Renfree's 31-yard touchdown pass to Vernon. Vernon finished with eight receptions and 117 yards.
Duke's lead was short-lived as Carroll's 15-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Faucher culminated a 10-play, 85-yard drive and gave the Panthers a 14-10 advantage.
Renfree threw his second touchdown pass on the next Duke drive when he connected with Cooper Helfet for 22 yards and gave the Blue Devils a 17-14 lead late in the quarter.
Renfree completed 12 of 14 passes for 173 yards in the first quarter and Carroll was 9-of-12 for 157 yards.
The scoring subsided in the second quarter. Florida International kicker Jack Griffin scored the only points of the quarter on a 36-yard field goal with 4:01 remaining to tie it at 17.
Duke (2-2) at Florida International (3-1) Oct. 1, 6:00, ESPNU
Here's The Deal … Now that Duke is the owner of a rare winning streak, two games, can it stay hot long enough to make November interesting in Durham for more than just hoops? After a somewhat sloppy defeat of Boston College two weeks ago, the Blue Devils played one of their better games of the four-year David Cutcliffe era, coasting to a 48-27 rout of Tulane. With little postseason margin for error remaining, the program has to move over .500 before ACC play continues on Oct. 15.
Good luck trying to figure out Florida International. Just when the Golden Panthers were about to create a stir following upsets of Louisville and UCF, they go ahead and fall at home to Louisiana-Lafayette, 36-31. They'll be looking to rally the troops at home on Saturday evening, while beating a team from an Automatic Qualifier conference for the second time in 2011.
Why Duke Might Win: For the first time all year, the Blue Devils offense took flight a week ago. Cutcliffe is holding out hope that it's the start of a trend that'll continue against a Florida International D that wilted in the face of UL-Lafayette QB Blaine Gautier. Duke actually approached balance by its one-dimensional standard, getting 333 yards through the air and 155 on the ground. QB Sean Renfree does a nice job of keeping all of his receivers happy, getting the ball in the hands of Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner and Brandon Braxton. If young RB Juwan Thompson can continue to grind out yards between the tackles, the passing game will be doubly tough to stop.
Why Florida International Might Win: If the game evolves into a high-scoring affair, the Golden Panthers should have no problem keeping pace. The suspect Duke defense will make sure of it. Even as star WR T.Y. Hilton was hobbled by a hamstring injury, Florida International still managed to score four touchdowns, three on the ground by up-and-coming RB Kedrick Rhodes. The sophomore registered a career day with 157 yards on 20 carries. He'll be a handful for an overachieving Blue Devils defense due for a letdown, especially now that top lineman Kenny Anunike has suffered a season-ending knee injury. Prior to last Saturday, FIU was excelling on defense, using its speed and tenacity to rank among the top 10 nationally in sacks and tackles for loss.
What To Watch Out For: The Golden Panthers defense might be the fastest one the Duke blockers have faced all year. And that includes Stanford. The unit closes quickly, and is not bashful about coming hard on the blitz. Best of all, it's extremely deep, getting contributions from up and down the two-deep. While DE Greg Hickman has set the pace with 5.5 stops for minus yards, he's one of eight Golden Panthers who has made two tackles for loss this fall. Florida International is not only talented, it's deep as well, which is liable to wear the Blue Devils out Saturday evening.
What Will Happen: Week 4 was a bit of an anomaly. Florida International isn't as bad as it looked. And Duke isn't quite as good. The Golden Panthers will regain the mojo they enjoyed earlier in September, using their speed to gain an edge on the Blue Devils. Since it remains uncertain whether Hilton will be back to 100%, FIU will rely on a defense that'll play with something to prove. It'll disrupt Renfree's rhythm with pressure and a mix of looks that keep him from setting his feet. Out to prove that its fast start was no fluke, Florida International will survive a stiff challenge from visiting Duke.
CFN Prediction: Florida International 28 … Duke 20
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FIU -3 O/U: 56
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