Offensive Player of the Game
RB - Jela Duncan
Jela Duncan had his best game since returning from both a suspension and an early season injury in 2015. Duncan’s performance included two rushing touchdowns highlighted by a 43 yard run in the second quarter. The junior averaged 9.8 yards per carry netting 78 yards. His performance is one the Blue Devils can build upon heading into the off week as he provides another strong running option for an already potent ground attack.
WR - Anthony Nash
Nash caught a team high five passes in this game for a total of 57 yards including a 19 yard gain on one of his receptions. Nash’s performance is worth mentioning for multiple reasons, but primarily because at 6-foot-4 he provides Sirk a big target who has speed. For years the potential has been there with Nash, but the production has sagged. Army was clearly over-matched, but this was a hopeful sign for the Duke passing game.
Defensive Player of the Game
LB - Dwayne Norman
Dwayne Norman had 11 tackles on the day with a remarkable 10 solo stops. He forced a fumble late in the game that moved the ball down the field before freshman linebacker Ben Humphries would recover it. Norman continues to be a major factor in Duke’s dominant defensive scheme, by mixing his hard hitting tendencies with the speed of a defensive back.
LB - Tinashe Bere
Tinashe Bere made his presence known on the first defensive play for Duke against Army. Army’s first drive began on their own 8 yard line. On the first down snap, Bere blew past the Army offensive line and sacked the quarterback for a 6 yard loss. The starting middle linebacker would finish the day with 6 tackles, assisting on 4 with 2 solo.
Play(s) of the Game
Jela Duncan’s 43 yard run for a touchdown may not have won the game, but it did foreshadow Duke’s dominance of the day. It was also the first time we’d seen the junior get into the end zone in several years. Before he was lost for a year long suspension and then was slowed by injury before the season began, Duncan was clearly Duke’s top running back prospect. Since his departure, senior Shaquille Powell has established himself as the program’s workhorse, but on Saturday Duncan was able to show fans why he was so highly regarded before everything happened. He gives Duke another playmaker, and that’s important.
The Duke Blue Devils have the next week off before facing Virginia Tech on October 24th. It’ll be a week to heal and to make some roster evaluations heading into the meat of the conference schedule.