The level of opponent stepped up in a big way on Saturday night as Duke traveled to Miami looking to move to 5-0 on the season.
Duke’s bend but don’t break defense was tested early as the Hurricanes continually went with Duke Johnson, who finished with 155 yards and a touchdown to jump out to a 9-0 lead. From there the Blue Devil defense would adjust and provide a number of chances for the offense, but Anthony Boone and the rest of the offense couldn’t convert time and time again.
Boone finished the game completing just 22-of-51 passes for 179 yards, with two interceptions as Duke saw the school record tying 12 game win streak snapped.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Duke started the second half by turning the ball over, but the Blue Devil defense seemed prepared to hold once again, forcing the Hurricanes into a 4th and 19 situation. However, the Hurricanes converted with a 28 yard passing touchdown that put Miami up 16-7. It was the first passing touchdown allowed by Duke on the season and provided the Hurricanes breathing room. On the next drive Duke went three and out and that was that.
(Dis)Honorable mention: Duke closed to within 16-10 early in the fourth quarter and was driving before a third down saw a third fumbled snap which killed another drive and forced Duke to punt again. Duke would then force another three and out before Boone badly overthrew Issac Blakeney for an easy Miami interception. Miami responded with another big play to push it to 22-10.
GAME BALL: Jeremy Cash was, once again, everywhere on the football field. He finished with 10 tackles, one TFL, one pass breakup, two quarterback hurries, and two forced fumbles. Along with Miami’s dynamic running back, Duke Johnson, he was one of the two best football players on the field.
THEY SAID IT: “Excited to play against talented guy like [Duke Johnson] and a talented team like Miami. I am very proud of how our defense fought tonight. Really, very proud about how our defense competed. It’s tough, but that’s college football and now we need to move on and learn from this.” - David Helton
THEY SAID IT:
BY THE NUMBERS: 3–of-16 on third down conversions. Duke couldn’t convert for much of the game on offense, but it was the shortness of the drives that really burned up the Blue Devils who produced three and outs on seven different drives not including the one play interception drive. A further illustration can be found by reviewing the drive chart. Not only did the Blue Devils produce eight drives of three plays or less, they recorded 10 drives that accumulated eight yards or less on the night. If you can’t move and hold on to the football, you’re going to be facing an uphill battle.
NEXT WEEK: Duke will get a much needed break with the first Bye week of the season. Following the week off the Blue Devils will head to Atlanta to face the hard running Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.