The Blue Devils come to Tech as the only team in the Coastal Division that can't get to 5-3 in the ACC. They and Miami have officially been eliminated from the Coast Division title (more on Miami in my next post.) They are also one of four teams (Duke, NC State, UVA, and Clemson) in the ACC that is not already bowl eligible. That said, if UVA and Clemson can win one and Duke and NC State can win both their remaining games, ALL twelve of the ACC teams would be bowl eligible! Talk about parity.
The Blue Devils have been surprisingly spunky this season. With a somewhat potent offense the Blue Devils have been able to put up good points on their oppenents even in defeat. The Blue Devils excluding a shutout loss to Georgia Tech are averaging 24.2 points per game (21.8 with the shutout). That's not too shabby for a basketball school.
The offense was led by Thaddeus Lewis a Junior quarterback. He's avergaing 189.3 yards per game until an injury in the Clemson game sidelined him. Backup quarterback Zack Asack came in and despite being decent (10/22 61 yards, 1 TD) he still turned the ball over twice on interceptions. Lewis is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game so it looks like Asack will get the start. This may be good in that Asack is an untested starter for the Blue Devils, but it can also be bad as there is probably little film on his play.
Regardless of who's running the offense, they'll be throwing to pretty much two guys. Senior Eron Riley and freshman Johnny Williams seem to be the main targets. Riley has 630 yards this season and seven touchdowns. Williams has 301 yards and no touchdowns.
Behind the quarterback, Duke lines up a two running back platoon each with about equal yardage. Senior Clifford Harris and freshman Jay Hollingsworth (noticing a pattern?) both have over 300 yards rushing on the season.
Lets face it folks, these guys are high powered, but other than Georgia Tech these guys really have not faced a defense worth spitting at. And Georgia Tech shut-em down completely. [One might argue, what about Miami? They put up 31 on their defense. My response, see last night's Georgia Tech-Miami game.] Bud Foster's defense should have no trouble with these guys.
Which brings us to the Duke defense. The Duke defense has allowed over 350 yards per game. 200 of those through the air. But I wouldn't expect a Maryland style breakout game for Darren Evans. Tyrod Taylor will likely take the helm tomorrow (and hopefully keep it.) Will the offense find some identity and simply score enough points to offset the brilliant play of the defense is very much a good question. The weather will be cold and the ball will be an ice brick so ball control will be a factor.
Game time is 26 hours!