Kickoff: Friday night, October 14th at 7:00 PM
Location: Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY
The Blue Devils have been on a roller coaster ride throughout the season thanks to being “consistently inconsistent” according to head coach David Cutcliffe. After losing two very winnable games against Northwestern and Wake Forest, Duke rebounded in a big way by defeating Notre Dame in South Bend. Any momentum gained there was quickly squandered at home in the next game as Duke fell to Virginia.
Last week Cutcliffe’s squad sloshed through tropical storm conditions to beat Army, 13-6. Still, Duke remains in search of the team’s first ACC victory of the season while looking down the barrel of a very, very difficult ACC slate.
First up will be mighty Louisville led by Heisman Trophy candidate Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals enter the game with a 4-1 overall record and 2-1 conference mark. The lone loss being a classic against fellow top five team, Clemson on the road. Still, the Cardinals should be favored in each of their remaining seven games and could make a run toward the College Football Playoff along with the Tigers. At worst, the Cardinals will be favored to be in a major bowl game.
Louisville enters Friday night ranked as the nation’s top scoring offense, averaging 58.0 points per game, while also ranking in the top 20 when it comes to total defense.
For Duke it means facing an opponent that excels at generating explosive plays on offense - something that was the difference in each of the Blue Devils’ three losses.
Meanwhile, on offense, the Blue Devils will need to figure out a way to score points which will start with protecting freshman quarterback Daniel Jones and also figuring out a way to overcome the loss of starting center Austin Davis and starting running back Jela Duncan - both injured against Army. And they’ll need to do it against a defense that has a stockpile of athletes and which has been very capable when it comes to getting into the opposing backfield early and often.
The last time the Blue Devils were on national television they provided a lot of optimism for Duke fans by defeating Notre Dame. This time, however, Coach Cutcliffe’s team is facing a legitimate top five team. On the road. Following a loss to Clemson two weeks ago. The Cardinals will be rested and waiting. Duke will be short handed (having lost its starting center, quarterback, running back, and best defensive back) and vulnerable. It could potentially get ugly, and with the way the teams have handled explosive plays…quickly. Duke will play tough, but they’re going to be overmatched.
Louisville 56, Duke 17