Sept. 28, 3:00, ESPN3
Why You Should Give A Hoot: While Duke showed a lot of fight in the second-half of last weekend's loss to Pitt, it wasn't quite enough in a 58-55 loss. The inconsistent Blue Devils have now dropped consecutive ACC contests, needing to capture the two upcoming non-conference games to have any hope of qualifying for the postseason. Troy is reeling as well, dropping back-to-back games, including Saturday's 62-7 demolition at the hands of Mississippi State. The Trojans return to Sun Belt play following this week's stop in Durham.
Why Troy Might Win: The Trojans feel as if they can attack Duke's lack of defensive execution with the passing of Corey Robinson. When the senior has time, he can pick apart defenses with his accurate darts, as he displayed in the first two games. WR Eric Thomas has caught 17 balls for 274 yards and six touchdowns, and he'll be licking his chops at the prospect of facing a Blue Devil D that just allowed six touchdown passes to Pitt's Tom Savage.
Why Duke Might Win: The silver lining of last week's loss, of course, was that the Blue Devils racked up 532 yards and seven touchdowns in the process. QB Brandon Connette has to eliminate the turnovers, but he did account for six of the scores, rushing for 101 yards and throwing for 323 more. Troy has been getting mauled at the point of attack the last two games.
Who To Watch Out For: Troy has Thomas. Duke has Jamison Crowder. The Blue Devil wide receiver leads the ACC with 30 grabs for 381 yards and a touchdown.
- Spying Connette will be Trojan DE Tyler Roberts, who's quickly becoming his program's best pass rusher. Built like an outside linebacker at 6-2, 227 pounds, he's used his quickness to notch a team-high three sacks.
- Troy got destroyed in the trenches by Mississippi State last week. Duke DE Kenny Anunike presents major problems this week for an O-line that needs to keep Robinson safe in order for the offense to move the chains.
What Will Happen: A visit from struggling Troy is exactly what Duke needs to get back on track this week. As Connette continues to get comfortable leading the offense, the Blue Devils will be able to offset their defensive deficiencies against lesser opponents. The quarterback will account for four more scores, outplaying Robinson to help snap the two-game losing streak.
Prediction: Duke 38 … Troy 23
Line: Duke -11 o/u: 67