Monday Lookback: Duke v Miami

Reviewing the Blue Devils' performance against Miami on Saturday

Duke needs to play near-perfect games against some of the upper-echelon teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Blue Devils put themselves in tough situations against Miami.

Duke couldn't overcome seven turnovers in a 28-13 loss to the Hurricanes.

"Seven turnovers, it's almost impossible to win," running back Jay Hollingsworth said.

Quarterback Sean Renfree, a redshirt sophomore, threw five interceptions and had one fumble in what he called the worst game of his life.

"I thought our defense did a tremendous job, but a lot of it is beating ourselves," Renfree said.

So the self-inflicted problems top the list of things that need to be addressed, with the next assignment perhaps even tougher -- a trip to Virginia Tech.

The Blue Devils have committed 12 turnovers in the last two home games, resulting in setbacks to Army and Miami.

Coach David Cutcliffe said his message to the Blue Devils was basic.

"The bottom line is you will never win a game doing what you did (in this game), and that's give the ball away," he said.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Duke's defense had a strange level of consistency against Miami. The Blue Devils surrendered 224 yards on the ground and 224 yards in the air. The total yardage allowed was higher than the average (431 yards per game) the Blue Devils had allowed entering the game.

--Duke has two first-half touchdowns in its last four games and no first-half touchdowns in its past two outings.

GAME BALL GOES TO: K Will Snyderwine -- He made both of his field-goal attempts against Miami, connecting from 25 and 43 yards. After the second field goal, he executed an onside kick that was recovered by the Blue Devils.

KEEP AN EYE ON: S Matt Daniels -- He has been more active on defense with his second came in a row with double-digit totals in tackles. He was in on 12 stops against Miami. He also was credited with a pass breakup.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm still pretty much in shock with such a bizarre performance." -- Coach David Cutcliffe, on the quarterback situation after QB Sean Renfree's five interceptions and one fumble against Miami.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

LOOKING GOOD: The Blue Devils were stingy on defense in several situations against Miami, particularly when forced back on the field in unexpected circumstances. Duke's offense committed seven turnovers, but the defense prevented a full-scale blowout by halting some of Miami's momentum despite the Hurricanes holding some ideal field position in several instances.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Blue Devils haven't taken advantage of touchdown opportunities inside the red zone. They've settled for field goals too often despite using a package of plays with normal backup QB Brandon Connette. Opponents seem to have figured out that Connette is primarily in the game as another running back.

ROSTER REPORT:
--RB Jay Hollingsworth was the featured back against Miami, with his 10 carries the most among the team's running backs. A junior, Hollingsworth gained a career-best 69 yards.

--QB Brandon Connette made his first college "start" against Miami. That came about because Connette is often used in goal-line situations and the Blue Devils took the game's first snap at the Miami 8-yard line after Miami lost a fumble on the opening kickoff. After QB Sean Renfree came in for a third-down play, the Blue Devils settled for a field goal. Connette scored his third touchdown of the season on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.

--RB Juwan Thompson made his first college start against Miami. The true freshman's only carry in the game went for 1 yard.


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