CFN Take: Duke Blasted By North Carolina
Posted Nov 20, 2014

Duke Blue Devils 2014 ... Head Coach: David Cutcliffe

2014 Duke Blue Devils

2014 Schedule
Record: 8-3

Aug. 30 Elon W 52-13
Sep. 6 at Troy W 34-17
Sep. 13 Kansas W 41-3
Sep. 20 Tulane W 47-13
Sep. 27 at Miami L 22-10
Oct. 11 at Georgia Tech W 31-25
Oct. 18 Virginia W 20-13
Oct. 25  OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 at Pitt W 51-48 2OT
Nov. 8 at Syracuse W 27-10
Nov. 15 Virginia Tech L 17-16
Nov. 20 North Carolina L 45-20
Nov. 29 Wake Forest
Nov. 20 North Carolina 45, at Duke 20
And You Care Because … Marquise Williams threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more as North Carolina became bowl eligible and clinched the Coastal title for Georgia Tech. Both teams had problems with turnovers, but UNC came up big early on with a ten-yard fumble recovery for a score to go along with Williams’ two touchdown passes for a 21-7 first quarter lead, while a one-yard T.J. Logan touchdown run and a 30-yard Thomas Moore field goal made it 38-7 before Duke got an 18-yard Jamison Crowder touchdown catch and a one-yard Thomas Sirk scoring run to make the score look better.
What Else? North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 18-of-27 passes for 276 yards and two score, and ran 21 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 22-of-40 passes for 262 yards and two scores with a pick, and ran 14 times for a team-high 36 yards
- Total yards: North Carolina 592 – Duke 378
- Turnovers: Duke 3 – North Carolina 3
Game Rating: C-

Nov. 15 Virginia Tech 17, at Duke 16
And You Care Because … Three key Duke turnovers helped Virginia Tech pull off the tough win, getting a ten-yard Isaiah Ford touchdown catch in the second quarter off a 98-yard drive, and scoring ten unanswered points on a 35-yard Joey Slye field goal in the third and a 15-yard Bucky Hodges touchdown catch in the fourth. Duke had a 10-0 lead early, but settled for three Ross Martin field goals and only got into the end zone on a two-yard Josh Snead run. A failed fake punt allowed Duke to have a shot at a key late field goal, but Martin missed - the Blue Devils had their chances, but turnovers proved too costly.
What Else? Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer completed 12-of-23 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns with a pick
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 18-of-40 passes for 181 yards and two picks, and ran 14 times for 34 yards
- Turnovers: Duke 3 – Virginia Tech 1
- Total yards: Duke 326 – Virginia Tech 293
Game Rating: B-

Nov. 8 Duke 27, at Syracuse 10
And You Care Because … Duke busted through a 10-10 tie with 17 unanswered points in just over five minutes in the fourth quarter starting with a 52-yard Jamison Crowder punt return for a score. Ross Martin added his second field goal of the game, and Issac Blakeney cranked out a 54-yard touchdown catch as the Blue Devils pulled away. Syracuse tied it at ten on an eight-yard run from Mitch Kimble, but that was it for the struggling offense.
What Else? Duke WR Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 58 yards and returned six punts for 106 yards and a score
- Syracuse quarterbacks combined to complete 17-of-32 passes for 105 yards and two interceptions
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 15-of-33 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns with a pick
- Total yards: Duke 259 – Syracuse 224
Game Rating: C+

Nov. 1 Duke 51, at Pitt 48 2OT
And You Care Because … In the second overtime, Pitt settled for a 43-yard Chris Blewitt field goal, and Duke answered with a five-yard Thomas Sirk touchdown run for the win. In a back and forth shootout, the Blue Devils got three Anthony Boone touchdown passes and a 12-yard scoring run in the first overtime, but the defense couldn’t stop James Conner, who rumbled for three short touchdown runs. The game appeared to turn in the fourth after Blewitt tied the game at 31 with a 38-yard field goal, but got blown past for a kickoff return for a score on the ensuing boot by DeVon Edwards. Instead, the Panthers went on a long touchdown march ending with Conner’s third touchdown run to tie it, carrying over into overtime.
What Else? Tim of possession: Pitt 41:08 – Duke 18:52
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 23-of-31 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns, and ran seven times for a team-high 47 yards and a score
- Pitt RB James Conner ran 38 times for 268 yards and three scores
- Duke WR Jamison Crowder caught nine passes for 165 yards and two scores
Game Rating: A

Oct. 18 at Duke 20, Virginia 13
And You Care Because … Thomas Sirk came up with a jump pass to David Reeves for a three-yard score to break the tie and give Duke the lead, and then the D did the rest holding on as Virginia’s final drive stalled. Ross Martin hit field goals from 19 and 25 yards out for the Blue Devils, while long Virginia drives were stopped and the O had to settle for two Ian Frye field goals after getting its lone touchdown midway through the second quarter on a five-yard Khalek Shepherd catch.
What Else? Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 22-of-37 passes for 176 yards and a score, and ran six times for 34 yards
- Virginia QB Matt Johns completed 21-of-44 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown
- Virginia WR Mile Gooch caught six passes for 129 yards
- Duke WR Jamison Crowder caught eight passes for 99 yards
Game Rating: B+

Oct. 11 Duke 31, at Georgia Tech 25
And You Care Because … Duke tow two short touchdown runs from Thomas Sirk and a four-yard scoring dash from Josh Snead on the way to a 31-12 lead, but Georgia Tech fought its way back with two scoring runs from Tim Byerly to make it a six-point game late. Duke recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock to close out a sloppy day from the Yellow Jackets, who turned it over three times and committed eight penalties.
What Else? Duke RB Anthony Boone ran 14 times for 102 yards and a touchdown
- Georgia Tech QB Tim Byerly completed 7-of-10 passes for 125 yards, and ran six times for 30 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Thomas suffered an injured ankle, but completed 6-of-15 passes for 61 yards and two interceptions, and ran 15 times for a team-high 119 yards
- Rushing yards: Georgia Tech 282 – Duke 250
- Third down conversions: Georgia Tech 7-of-11 – Duke 6-of 13
Game Rating: C+

Sept. 27 at Miami 22, Duke 10
And You Care Because … Miami came up with a 9-0 lead helped by a seven-yard Duke Johnson run, but it was a struggle to put the game away, needing a fourth quarter 47-yard Joseph Yearby touchdown catch. Duke managed a seven-yard Shaquille Powell touchdown run in the second quarter, but three turnovers and misfires on third downs made it an ugly performance. The Duke offense that ripped up Miami last year came up with just 264 yards.
What Else? Each team committed eight penalties. Duke turned it over three times, Miami twice
- Third down conversions: Miami 2-of-13 – Duke 2-of-16 (and 0-of-3 on fourth downs)
- Miami RB Duke Johnson ran 25 times for 155 yards and a score, and caught two passes for ten yards
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 22-of-51 passes for 179 yards and two picks
Game Rating: C

Sept. 20 Duke 47, Tulane 13
And You Care Because … Keyed by an opportunistic defense, Duke blew open a game that got as close as 26-13 midway through the third quarter. The Blue Devils created five turnovers, including a pair of pick-sixes to close out the scoring in the final quarter. The Green Wave actually had more first downs and led in time of possession, couldn’t overcome a flood of mistakes on both sides of the ball.
What Else? How sloppy was Tulane? Besides the five turnovers, the Green Wave committed 13 penalties and was just 6-of-24 on third and fourth-down attempts.
- It was a huge game for the Duke defense. Yeah, there were the four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns, but the Blue Devils also generated eight stops for loss, three sacks and six pass breakups.
- Tanner Lee is struggling badly as the Tulane quarterback. He got a lot of help from RB Lazedrick Thompson and the ground game, yet still went 14-of-35 for 160 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions.
- Thomas Sirk is the new Brandon Connette in Durham. The running complement to starting QB Anthony Boone, Sirk rushed for a team-high 94 yards and a score on just five carries Saturday.
Game Rating: C

Sept. 13 at Duke 41, Kansas 3
And You Care Because … Duke jumped out to a 17-0 first quarter lead with a 36-yard Max McCaffrey touchdown catch and a 69-yard scoring dash from Shaun Wilson. Kansas came up with a 34-yard Matthew Wyman field goal late in the first quarter, but then it was all Duke scoring 24 unanswered points including Wilson touchdown dashes from 68 and 45 yards out and a ten-yard McCaffrey catch.
What Else? Duke RB Shaun Wilson ran 12 times for 245 yards and three touchdowns averaging 20.4 yards per carry.
- Kansas QB Montell Cozart completed 11-of-27 passes for 89 yards and two picks. He also ran eight times for 30 yards.
- Kansas P Trevor Pardula averaged 51.8 yards per punt on his eight attempts putting two inside the20.
- Duke outgained Kansas 511 yards to 297.
Game Rating: D

Sept. 6 Duke 34, at Troy 17
And You Care Because … Troy jumped out to a 14-3 first half lead on short touchdown runs from Brandon Silvers and Jordan Chunn, but it was all Duke the rest of the way, going on a 31-3 run with Anthony Boone running for scores from 30 and five yards out and hitting Isaac Blakeney on a 49-yard touchdown. Troy only managed a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter to pull within seven, but the Blue Devils answered right back with a seven play drive finishing with Boone’s second scoring run. Boone completed 27-of-41 passes for 268 yards and a score, while Troy sputtered after a good start with Brandon Silvers completed 19-of-27 passes for 160 yards.
Game Rating: C+

Aug. 30 at Duke 52, Elon 13
And You Care Because … The offense picked up where it left off at the end of last year with four touchdown passes form Anthony Boone on the way to a 35-6 lead early in the third quarter. Elon was able to move the ball a bit, but the Duke defense didn’t break until late allowing just two field goals until the fourth quarter.
What Else? Anthony Boone misfired a few times, but he hit on the plays he needed to completing 22-of-33 passes for 247 yards and four scores. He spread the ball around well.
- Elon was able to run the ball a bit, but had to ditch the ground game to try to keep up. The Duke secondary gave up one big play, but kept just about everything else underneath.
- There was a little bit of a pass rush, but the Blue Devils hardly sold out coming up with just two sacks and three tackles for loss. The secondary was able to hold its own without the constant pressure.
- It was a sharp performance. Duke committed just two penalties and the O line kept Boone relatively clean.
Game Rating: C-

2014 Preview 

Duke broke through with its first-ever 10-win season and a highly improbable first ACC Coastal Division title last year. The biggest surprise of all is that the Blue Devils are just getting started.

Last season in Durham was epic. Duke, the noted basketball school, provided football fans in the region with a reason to celebrate. In 2012, the Blue Devils reached a milestone with the school’s first bowl game in nearly two decades. In 2013, they reset expectations across the league and the country with a hellacious eight-game winning streak that included upsets of Virginia Tech for the first time since 1981 and Miami three weeks later. Without any warning, the balance of power was suddenly shifting beneath the Coastal foundation like a blue and white tectonic plate.

The inimitable leader of the Duke renaissance is head coach David Cutcliffe. He’s succeeding in changing the culture in Durham among players and fans. Though it might seem otherwise, the Blue Devils have not been an overnight success story; they’ve arduously laid a ground floor drenched in sweat, patience and an unwavering belief in a righteous man who’s shot straight with them from the moment he stepped foot on campus. Duke took its usual lumps in Cut's first five seasons in Durham, finishing below .500 and no higher than fifth place in the ACC Coastal Division each year. Progress, though, was constant, even if it had to be measured by an unconventional ruler.

Next on the agenda for Cutcliffe and his flock is to sustain excellence. Duke doesn’t want to be Wake Forest, a program whose success is fleeting. No, Duke is striving to become the Stanford of the Eastern Seaboard by achieving perennial football success at an esteemed academic institution. With 17 starters back this fall, and a locker room gushing with confidence, the Blue Devils are poised to quiet those critics expecting 2013 to go down as a momentary blip on the college football radar.

The Blue Devils should be similar to last year’s edition; the offense, even without coordinator Kurt Roper, will work to overcome defensive deficiencies, especially along the front wall. And special teams will be a hidden plus, thanks to the presence of P Will Monday, PK Ross Martin and return men Jamison Crowder and DeVon Edwards. An occasional reprisal of Duke’s 52-48 Chick-fil-A Bowl loss to Texas A&M is almost a certainty with this team in 2014.

Duke was one of college football’s feel-good stories of 2013, ascending to new heights under the leadership of a meticulous, hard-working coach who’d earned the trust and affection of his players. Might it have been a table-setter? Even better days are ahead for the Blue Devils who’ve got the talent and the mojo to add more bricks to the foundation in 2014.

What to watch for on offense: Rotation discontinuation. You know the theory about teams with two quarterbacks really having none? Yeah, Cutcliffe doesn’t subscribe to it. The Blue Devils did a brilliant job in 2013 of employing their two complementary signal-callers, Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette. While Boone has the better arm talent, Connette was the more dangerous runner, especially in short-yardage situations. Unfortunately for Duke, though, Connette decided to transfer closer to his California home, where he’ll finish his career at Fresno State. It was an underrated blow for the offense, which will miss the 27 combined touchdowns and different looks that Connette produced in 2013.

What to watch for on defense: The development of the D-line. The Blue Devils have a number of concerns on defense, none bigger than replacing the production DT Sydney Sarmiento and ends Kenny Anunike and Justin Foxx. Senior Jamal Bruce is set at the nose. On the outside, expectations are high for Dezmond Johnson and Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo, who’ve started games, but have yet to play to their full potential. It’s time for both players to transform those flashes of ability into consistency off the edge.

The team will be far better if… the defense forces more punts. While the Blue Devils made a lot of money plays a year ago, they also stumbled too often at the basics, like stuffing the run, wrapping up in space and avoiding silly penalties. Duke yielded 4.3 yards per carry to rank No. 11 in the ACC. The D has a singular objective in 2014—to get the ball back to the offense as fast as possible, and not by allowing the other guys to traverse the field in the blink of an eye.

The Schedule: There isn't much complaining allowed from the defending Coastal champs. Florida State from the Atlantic? No. How about Clemson? Nope. The Blue Devils get Wake Forest and Syracuse in interdivisional play. After starting out with a managable non-conference schedule with three of the first four games at home - only going on the road to face Troy and with Kansas the toughest home game - and then comes a stretch of four road games in teh next five, going away from Durham from September 20 to November 15. That means they have to deal with Miami, Georgia Tech and Pitt on the road, but the payoff comes late with thre final three games at home facing Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Best offensive player: Senior WR Jamison Crowder. Crowder was a key reason why the quarterbacks performed so well last fall, seamlessly replacing Conner Vernon as the go-to target in the passing game. While only 5-9 and 175 pounds, he’s extremely quick, and he gets in and out of his breaks in an instant. The prototype of a next-level slot receiver, Crowder spreads the defense in order to help make TE Braxton Deaver and big receivers Issac Blakeney and Max McCaffrey more dangerous underneath.

Best defensive player: Junior S Jeremy Cash. So much for needing a little time to get accustomed to new surroundings. Cash was a revelation in blue in his first year since transferring from Ohio State, bringing linebacker size and above average cover skills to the last line of defense. The 6-2, 210-pounder is about to become Duke’s most important player in the secondary now that CB Ross Cockrell is out of eligibility. And Cash’s knack for inching up to support the run will benefit a team that allowed more than four yards a carry in 2013.

Key players to a successful season: Senior RB Josh Snead and junior RB Shaquille Powell. Somewhat overlooked in last year’s offensive success was the fact that Duke ranked No. 5 in ACC rushing. However, second-leading rusher Jela Duncan was suspended for the year, and third-leading rusher Juwan Thompson has graduated. Snead and Powell will now shoulder the load after combining for almost 1,000 yards rushing and a gaudy average of nearly six yards per carry. With depth now compromised, both Blue Devils must also remain healthy in 2014.

The season will be a success if ... the Blue Devils win nine regular season games. See what’s happening here? Cutcliffe has everyone, including his players, believing that mediocrity is no longer where the bar ought to be set. And why not? This 2014 edition might be better than the 2013, provided both lines can be patched up on the fly. Duke avoids Clemson and Florida State during the regular season, so there’s not a game on the schedule that’ll be considered beyond the reach in the fall.

Key game: Sept. 27 at Miami. Is Duke ready to defend its Coastal Division crown? This trip to Sun Life Stadium will provide the first clues about the Blue Devils’ 2014 ceiling. Duke gashed Miami at Wallace Wade Stadium last November, 48-30, in a prominent statement rout. The ‘Canes will be out for redemption as both programs claw for an early edge in the chase for a spot in the ACC Championship Game.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Points per game: Duke 32.8 – Opponents 26.6
- Interceptions thrown: Duke 19 – Opponents 18
- Fourth-quarter scoring: Duke 120 - Opponents 44 

- 2014 Duke Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players  

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