The Duke Blue Devils are the losers of 10 straight conference games (0-6 in conference play), and likely losing head coach David Cutcliffe after the season to retirement, are looking to salvage what’s left of their season Thursday night against Louisville.
For Duke it’s another week and another excuse for the product on the field, which hasn’t responded well to being challenged on both sides of the ball. In the trenches the defense has been torched – ranking them the worst overall defense in the ACC..and one of the worst in the country. No consistency with quarterback hurries and a secondary that has been “Child’s Play” since earlier in the season, Duke just doesn’t have the talent and personnel at this time to keep up with the rest of the ACC.
What to Look For:
Cardinals QB Malik Cunningham, who was 13/18 a week ago and threw for four touchdowns in a 41-3 blowout win over Syracuse, will cause havoc against Duke. It’s about containment for Duke, forcing Cunningham to stay in the pocket and not hurt the Blue Devils extending plays.
On the outside it starts with deep threat Jordan Watkins, who will have his opportunities one-on-one with Jeremiah Lewis and Josh Blackwell. Tyler Harrell and Amari Huggin-Bruce are viable threats for Cunningham on 3rd down as well.
Does Duke Have a Chance?
A dead clock is right twice a day, so of course any given day anything can happen. What’s been disappointing this season is the lack of energy once the team gets down and lack of fight throughout the last four games – giving up over 40 points per game and over 400 yards of offense. Against V-tech a week ago Duke had more punts than 3rd down conversions, which is flat out unacceptable.
Duke must show some heart, resilience and fight on their home field Thursday night with one game left on the season. The question is, has the team already packed it in, as their head coach is rumored to be doing the same after a date with Miami next Saturday?
Game Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium