Led by head coach Ted Roof, the Blue Devils head to the Orange Bowl with a 1-3 record, their lone win coming in an away game against Northwestern which ended 20-14.
Offensively, Duke ranks among the worst in the country in most categories - 116th in rushing offense, 103rd in total offense, and 87th in scoring offense. Yet, the Blue Devils passing attack checks in at 45th in the nation, averaging 243 yards a game through the air.
Leading the high flying passing game is starting quarterback, Thaddeus Young. Young, a sophomore and Hialeah Lakes Florida native, is enjoying his second full year under center for Duke. At 6'2, 190 pounds, Young is somewhat undersized, but he makes up for his lack of size with this ability to avoid the rush and buy himself time in the pocket. Armed with a cannon, Young comes to Miami with 959 yards in the air, along with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
In the backfield will be the seldom used tailback tandem of Justin Boyle and Re'quan Boyette. Boyette, 5'10 210 pound junior, is a speedy back with great quickness. Splitting time with him will be Duke's bigger back, 6'1 215 pound senior, Boyle.
Split wide will be a bevy of talented receivers, headlined by senior stud Jomar Wright. Wright isn't too physically impressive at 6'1 200 pounds, but he is a deep threat with his great speed. Last season he torched the Hurricanes secondary and went on to finish the day with 10 catches for a 176 yards. But the leading receiver on the Blue Devils plays on the opposite side of the offense. Junior Eron Riley stands at an impressive 6'3 205 pounds. He leads Duke in both receiving yards – 370- and touchdowns -4. Also in the mix will be the speedy Rapheal Chestnut, who is currently 3rd on the team in receiving yards.
On the offensive line, Duke returns all 5 starters from 2006. A pair of juniors lock down the tackle positions, as the 6'8 310 pound Fred Roland and 6'6 280 Cameron Goldberg look to shut down Miami's explosive pass rush. On the interior will be junior Rob Schirman and senior Zach Maurides. Both have good size - 6'5 285 for Schirmann, and 6'6 290 for Maurides. The 6'4, 285 pound junior Matt Rumsey is back at center this season with 2 years experience under his belt.
On the other side of the ball, Duke is equally bad as their offense. Ranking 102nd in total defense, 90th in rushing and 95th in pass efficiency, the Blue Devils have had trouble stopping anyone this season.
On the defensive line, star Patrick Bailey enters his senior year. He currently leads the teams in sacks with two, and is second in tackles with 34. At 6'4 235 he's great at rushing the passer and surprisingly good in supporting the run. Opposite him is Wesley Oglesby, an imposing redshirt freshman at 6'6 250 pounds. He's recorded one sack on the season to go along with 19 tackles. The interior line is highlighted by Vince Oghobaase. The true sophomore, who stands at 6'6 310 pounds, is the former 5 star recruit who shunned every major program in the country including Miami to play for Duke. With 1 sack and 20 tackles so far on the year, Oghobaase is a massive run stuffer on the defensive line. Next to him is Ayanga Okpokowuruk. The former defensive end recruit has bulked up since arriving in Durham, adding 30 pounds in 2 years to bring his current size to 6'4 270. Somewhat undersized for his position, Okpokowuruk makes up for his lack of size with his quickness.
The linebackers are led by Vincent Rey on the weakside. Only a sophomore, the 6'0 255 pound backer leads the team with 49 tackles on the season. Rey has great size and awareness which make him a sure tackler against the run. In the middle, junior Michael Tauiliili will handle the duties. The 5'11 235 defender struggles stopping the run and is susceptible to big plays. Flanking him will be junior Marcus Jones. At 6'3 220 pounds, Jones is the prototypical strongside linebacker. A converted quarterback, Jones is still learning the intricacies of the position.
Corners Leon Wright and Glenn Williams lead the Duke secondary which has been flat our miserable this season. At just 5'9 165 pounds, Wright, only a sophomore, is fast but struggles with bigger wide receivers. Wright has 23 tackles and 1 interception in 2007. Williams, a converted safety, comes into the Miami game tied for 6th on the team with 23 tackles. Also a smaller corner, the 5'10 185 pound junior is a sure tackler but has some trouble handling more athletic wide receivers. At free safety senior Chris Davis, 6'0 205, has recorded 27 tackles this season. He isn't too quick, and because of this has trouble covering ground in the passing game. The strong safety position will be handled by junior Adrian Aye-Darko. With great size at 6'2 210 pounds, Aye-Darko is a solid hitter who's recorded 27 tackles so far. On special teams, junior kicker Joe Surgan comes into Saturday with only 4 field goal attempts on the season. Much to the dismay of Duke fans, he's connected on only one of them. Punter Kevin Jones ranks 52nd in the country with an average of 41 yards per kick.
On Saturday, Duke will bring a pretty impressive passing game to Miami with some wide receivers capable of making big plays. The Hurricanes must not get complacent after a big time win on Thursday night. If Miami is focused, the Canes should coast to an easy victory, but if they're still thinking about their big win then Miami could find itself