Elon (0-0) at Duke (0-0)
Aug. 30, 6:00, ESPN3
Here's The Deal: Duke made national noise in 2013. Now the Blue Devils want to show that they were no one-year fluke. In six years, David Cutcliffe has done a remarkable job in Durham, but his kids can no longer sneak up on anyone. Duke’s first hurdle of the new campaign will be Elon, which went 2-10, including a 70-0 loss to Georgia Tech of the ACC.
Why Elon Might Win: The Blue Devils will be especially vulnerable to teams that can run the ball consistently and connect over the top. The former can be achieved by B.J. Bennett, Tracey Coppedge and Karl Bostick, last year’s top three rushers.
Why Duke Might Win: It’s taken a while, but Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils cranking on offense. QB Anthony Boone no longer has Brandon Connette looking over his shoulder, the line is vastly underrated and no Phoenix defender can slow down WR Jamison Crowder.
Who To Watch Out For: The Blue Devils suffered two devastating, season-ending ACL tears this month to TE Braxton Deaver and LB Kelby Brown. Neither play will be easily replaced, though Brown’s successor will have especially big shoes to fill. Duke can only hope that fall camp isn’t a harbinger of things to come once games begin.
What’s Going To Happen: A visit from a second-tier CAA school is the perfect remedy for a Duke squad suddenly reshuffling the depth chart. The Blue Devils will coast behind the passing of Boone, the running of a deep set of backs and a few timely picks.
Prediction: Duke 51 … Elon 16