Following a potentially program changing win against Notre Dame in South Bend, Duke returned home and promptly turned the ball over six times in a disappointing loss to Virginia. It was the Cavaliers’ first road win in 17 games and may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back with regard to Duke’s bowl hopes in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Black Knights enter Wallace Wade after enjoying a bye week following a 23-20 loss to Buffalo two weeks ago. It was Army’s first loss of the season, and came after the offense rolled out to a 10-0 halftime lead. Eventually, however, Buffalo adjusted enough to slow the triple-option and rallied for the win by scoring two touchdowns in the game’s final nine minutes.
That kind of adjustment and understanding of the Army attack was a key for Duke a season ago when the Blue Devil defense held the Black Knights without a touchdown en route to a 44-3 victory. In that game Duke forced three turnovers and held down the rushing game in a big way, surrendering just 113 yards on 49 carries.
A year later and the Army offense very similar to last year’s squad while the Blue Devils have shown flashes of brilliance, but have also been the worst team in FBS when it comes to protecting the football.
For Duke to even its record after six games, the Blue Devils must cut down on turnovers and may look to play in more of a 4-3 look to help against the triple option. And while the offense struggled to move the ball a week ago on the ground, Duke should get some much needed balance on the offensive side of the ball with the return of Jela Duncan who was listed as probable on the team’s injury report.
Prediction: Duke 31, Army 14