Taking Care of Business: Building off point number one, Duke was expected to roll over NC Central and they did just that. It took a while to get things moving, but the Blue Devils were able to beat a team they were supposed to, and they did it emphatically. For a program searching for the first bowl game in many years, such performances are a necessity. Next week Duke will, once again, be in a situation where they will be expected to produce a result. Then, the next weekend, it'll be a game that most analysts will call a toss up, or even favor the opponent. Will Duke be able to once again take care of business and then pull the upset? They need to if the post-season dream is to remain bright.
Well Disciplined: Perhaps it was the caliber of the opponent, but the Blue Devils were under control against the Eagles. The team didn't commit a penalty in the first half against Central, and made just two miscues the entire game. A week ago Duke committed five penalties to give the Cardinal 32 yards. Similarly, there were no turnovers committed, and the Blue Devil signal callers were not sacked.
Switching over to an area that was a problem in 2011, the kicking game continued to be extremely sharp for Duke. Freshman Ross Martin booted a pair of short field goals and converted every extra point to take home the full 11 points available. Meanwhile, classmate Will Monday's punting resulted in a net average of 43.5 yards with a long of 51. Monday also pinned the Eagles inside the 20 once, and Duke allowed the Eagles just one return on the four attempts for nine yards.
Lack of a Ground Game: NC Central's defense and depth won't be confused for an ACC caliber team's any time soon. Maybe not even a weak FBS team. So, it was somewhat concerning that Duke's ground game failed to do much against the Eagles for most of the night. The Blue Devils did manage to gain 131 yards on 29 carries, but 52 of those yards (on six carries) were amassed by freshman Jela Duncan after the game was well within hand. The top of the depth chart (Josh Snead and Juwan Thompson) managed just 40 yards on 11 attempts. Certainly the Duke passing game was very good as Renfree picked apart the Eagle defense for 274 yards and three scores while completing 71 percent of his throws, but the Blue Devils will have to balance out the offense with a competent running attack if they are to compete for the post-season.
Bend, Not Break…Against NCCU? When your defense and special teams are scoring points as Duke did against the Eagles (Ross Cockrell's Pick-6 and Lee Butler's punt return for TD), it's a good indication that your opponent may win the time of possession battle. That happened against Central, but when the Eagle offense had the ball, they moved it surprisingly well against the Blue Devils. And that should be a big concern for Duke. Central ended up out-gaining Duke 200-198 in the first half and managed to stay ahead of the Blue Devils until the score dictated Central start taking chances and losing field position. The Blue Devils were certainly opportunistic against the Eagles - picking off two passes, and pulling down the quarterbacks four times, but this was a team that struggled to move the ball against Elon a week ago.