Three thrid-and-long conversions on passes to Desmond Scott were devestating to the Demon Deacons. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
A full version of rewind, in all its witty glory, will be forthcoming tonight after Duke head coach David Cutcliffe updates the media on the injury reports for QB Sean Renfree, S Brandon Braxton, LB David Helton and CB Lee Butler. All four starters left during the 34-27 win at Wake Forest and did not return. Until then, a look at what worked and what needs work for both the Blue Devils and the Demon Deacons (hey, consider it bonus information).
And now, the quick look back:
Duke (4-1, 1-0 in the ACC)
What worked: For the second week in a row, Duke found success running the football. The three-man running back rotation of Jela Duncan, Juwan Thompson and Josh Snead produced 117 yards on 25 carries. What’s more the trio was able to meet one of head coach David Cutcliffe’s goals and pick up at least four yards on 64 percent of their carries. The success on the ground opened up space for successful screen passes and downfield looks.
The defensive, despite its alarmingly low count of healthy bodies, continues to carry the team. This was wholly unexpected, but that’s been the case in every game this year. The unit forced four Wake Forest turnovers—or takeaways, to use Cutcliffe’s word—including the first three fumbles on the year for the Demon Deacons. In Wake Forest’s first four games combined, the team committed two turnovers total. The Demon Deacons doubled that number Saturday alone.
What needs work: The big play has bitten Duke a few times this season, and there were a few that the defense would like to have back from Saturday. Most notably, Tanner Price found Deandre Martin for a 36-yard gain on third-and-9 from the Demon Deacons’ 3-yard line late in the third quarter. That would spark a 98-yard scoring drive for Wake Forest, the third longest in school history.
The Blue Devils were also penalized more often on Saturday, including three holding calls on the offensive line. Left tackle Takoby Cofield was flagged twice, with one of the penalties whipping out a 42-yard pass from Sean Renfree to Jamison Crowder.
What’s next: Duke has a great opportunity to pick up win No. 5 when it hosts Virginia (2-3, 0-1). After surprising competing for the Coastal Division title last year, The Cavaliers have been a disappointment thus far and are coming off a 44-38 loss to Louisiana Tech.
Wake Forest (3-2, 1-2 in the ACC)
What worked: The Demon Deacons were able to run the ball effectively against Duke, gaining 167 carries on 35 rushing attempts. Josh Harris led Wake Forest with 84 yards on 17 carries (4.9 yards per carry) and Deandre Martin added 63 yards on 11 handoffs (5.7 yards per carry).
Wake Forest also executed the third-longest scoring drive in school history without the ACC’s leading receiver, Michael Campanaro, who left the game in the first half with a broken hand. With a steady diet of rushes from Harris and two big completions from Tanner Price, the Demon Deacons closed the gap to 20-17 and fought back into the game.
What needs work: Third-down defense. Duke was 10-of-17 on third down and completed a trio of long yardage situations throughout the game: third-and-27 in the first quarter, third-and-19 in the third and third-and-19 in the fourth (and the Blue Devils were a dropped pass away from completing third-and-12 in the second quarter). On each of the three successful completions, the Duke quarterback found Desmond Scott over the middle while he added plenty of yards after the catch.
“Other the giving up the big third and longs, I thought our defense rallied pretty good today,” head coach Jim Grobe said.
What’s next: Wake Forest travels to Maryland, in the first of three remaining games against the lightweights of the league (a trip to Virginia and a game against Boston College loom). The Demon Deacons won last year’s contest 31-10.