Kickoff: Saturday, October 29th at 12:00 PM
Location: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
TV: ACC Network
The Blue Devils scored a moral victory two weeks ago against Louisville, and could have had more were it not for an unfortunate roughing the kicker call late in the fourth quarter. Following the 24-14 defeat the Blue Devils returned home and spent the bye week resting and recovering before heading to Atlanta to face a Georgia Tech team also coming off a bye.
In its last game, Georgia Tech rolled past Georgia Southern by a 35-24 score. On the day the Yellow Jackets’ triple option attack managed to pound out 437 total yards.
Both teams will view this as a must win to have any reasonable change at the post season. Duke, sitting at 3-4 on the year still has games with North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Miami on the schedule. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets still have to face North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia…all on the road. Most likely, each team needs two more wins to qualify for post season play, and so Saturday’s importance continues to expand.
A season ago the Blue Devils continued to show their understanding of how to contain the Yellow Jacket offense in beating Tech 34-20. A few weeks ago Duke passed its audition against Army’s triple-option by holding the Black Knights to 158 yards - well below their season average. But the Yellow Jackets may be a different animal in terms of speed and talent. And quarterback Justin Thomas has shown the ability to throw the ball this season, which could prevent the Devils from loading up in the box.
Offensively, the Blue Devils owned the clock against Louisville and played - virtually - mistake free football. They didn’t turn it over and they kept their defense off the field with methodical play calling and execution. Maybe it wasn’t the most exciting, but it was most certainly effective. Duke will look to, once again, maximize the time of possession against the Yellow Jackets, but the offensive line shouldn’t be under as much pressure as the front four from Louisville generated (Tech is ranked 119th in FBS in quarterback sacks with only seven on the year)…and so Daniel Jones should have enough time to take a few shots down the field against a Tech defense that has not forced many turnovers (6) to date.
It’s do or die for both teams with each needing a win to preserve whatever post season dreams may still linger. Throughout the season Duke has struggled to put a complete game together. It’s either been a case of showing flashes of potential amid and otherwise forgettable performance or suffering mental lapses at key moments in winnable games. Recent history shows that this will be a winnable game. Duke just needs to execute at the level they did two weeks ago and catch a break here and there. If they do that, they’ll even their record at 4-4.
Duke 26, Georgia Tech 23