Coming off a much-needed bye week with players on both sides of the ball needing rehabilitation, Duke football, for the first time since 2018, is a game away from bowl eligibility. What stands in their way is a 2-6 Boston College team looking to play spoiler for Coach Elko and company. The Blue Devils, coming off an impressive blowout win at Coral Gables two weeks ago, dropped 45 points on the Hurricanes and look to build momentum Friday night.
The Difference Maker
Defensively, Duke is one of top teams in the country in forcing turnovers. The Blue Devils have ranked top-five all season in fumble recoveries and currently have recorded 15, which ranks them first in the country. Registering eight turnovers against the Hurricanes, Duke looks to continue its pressure upfront – led by Dwayne Carter, Shaka Heyward, and Aeneas Peebles. Currently out of all FBS schools, Duke ranks 2nd in turnover margin at +14.
In Riley We Trust
Quarterback Riley Leonard has been the spark of the offense this year. Prior to the season, it was much debated who would be QB1. Riley has answered the bell time after time with his dual threat ability – causing defenses to play a quarterback spy within their linebacking unit, but that doesn’t deter Riley’s game a bit with Leonard rushing for nearly 500 yards on the season (481). His arm has caught defenses by surprise. The game against the Hurricanes may not have an eye-candy type performance, but putting your team in the right situations to convert within the red-zone is what the Blue Devils capitalized on. With eight turnovers, and ultimately knocking out Tyler Van-Dyke from the contest, Duke was able to close it out.
What to Watch For
ACC yards leader Zay Flowers of Boston College is a speedster who will demand double teams at all times. Expect Duke to shade Flowers with Safety Darius Joyner. The Eagles average nearly 70 yards on the ground, so forcing three-and-outs early and often should be the recipe for the Blue Devils. Expect Brandon Johnson to matchup with Zay Flowers. This matchup could decide the outcome.
For Duke it starts and ends with their rushing attack. The Blue Devils rank 2nd in the conference in yards per game, which is spear-headed by their three-headed rushing attack featuring Jordan Waters, Jaquez Moore and Jaylen Coleman. Ironically, quarterback Riley Leonard leads all backs on the teaming in rushing.
Catch the action on a national televised broadcast starting at 7:00 PM on ESPN 2.