DeVon Edwards returns two interceptions, kickoff for touchdown, carrying Duke (7-2, 3-2) to a 38-20 victory over rival North Carolina State (3-6, 0-6) in Durham.
Back in high school, I had this one song on my iPod called ‘Revolution Man’ by The Union Underground. I wasn’t much of a fan of it and I’m not exactly sure how it got on my iPod in the first place–in all likelihood, one of my friends threw it on there when they borrowed it–but it felt like that tune came on every third song or so.
Be it laziness or forgetfulness, I left the song on my iPod for years, suffering through it’s psychotic and macabre lyrics roughly a few dozen times. After all the listens, there is only one single line I remember from the song:
Something ’bout a chosen one.
In the context of the song, it likely takes on a drastically different meaning than it does in the context I’m about to use it for, but screw it.
We’ve been waiting for this Duke team to turn a corner for a couple years now. Last year, they peeked around it, locking up a bowl berth and giving us all plenty of reason to feel all those good feelings, but it still didn’t quite feel like they had arrived. This year, though, they’re not just turning the corner, they’re blasting straight through it and forcing their way into the national spotlight.
We wanted to believe this team was special a few weeks ago, when a 35-0 run carried them to victory on the road in Charlottesville. We really started to believe it when they went into Blacksburg, picked Logan Thomas off four times, and came away with their first victory over a ranked team in a very long time. Watching Duke pull off an ugly, gritty win against rival North Carolina State at home this afternoon, though, confirmed it: this team is no longer a loveable bunch of losers with potential, they’re legitimate contenders.
There is something about a chosen one, or team: someone always seems to step up at the most opportune of times, and this rising to the occasion becomes almost commonplace. It gets to a point where no matter how bleak things may seem, everyone involved just knows the team will find a way to weather the storm and pull a victory from the wreckage.
This afternoon was no different.
With Duke’s offense stuck in a rut and the 10-0 lead they held at halftime long gone, the entire stadium waited anxiously for something to happen. Down 13-10, the spark finally arrived in the form of 5’9″ cornerback DeVon Edwards, who took a Wolfpack kickoff at the goal line and raced 100 yards for a touchdown. It was a shot of life for a Duke team that had been fading fast, and Edwards wasn’t done yet.
With 3:31 remaining in the game and Duke clinging to a 24-20 lead, Edwards reacted quickly to a desperate toss from NC State QB Brandon Mitchell, batting it up in the air and coming down with it for the interception. The reaction and resulting interception was enough to make the stadium explode, but the redshirt freshman proceeded to race twenty-five yards for a touchdown, breaking two tackles and outracing the Wolfpack offense in the process. The play put the Blue Devils ahead 31-20 and had, in all likelihood, clinched their seventh victory, but Edwards still wasn’t done yet.
Just ten seconds later, at the 3:21 mark, a dropped back Edwards picked off Pete Thomas and pulled off a third remarkable return–complete with jukes, step backs, broken tackles, and blazing speed–en route to a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
By the time the clock struck 00:00, Edwards had left NC State in the dust, lifting Duke to a 38-20 victory. His final statline: 10 tackles, 2 interceptions, a deflected pass, 3 kick returns, and 3 touchdowns.
The performance was so unbelievable that even ‘video game stats’ doesn’t quite fit the description. Not only was it the best individual performance we’ve seen from a Blue Devil this year, but it was the likely the most important one, too.
The offense was a disaster, as Anthony Boone went ice cold after a red hot start, finishing 13/21 for 139 yards and three interceptions. For Boone, it was his third straight game with an interception, and the junior has thrown seven in his last two games combined. Brandon Connette, who is a fairly reliable backup, couldn’t do much through the air day long and finished 7/13 for 59 yards. He also turned the ball over, fumbling the ball around midfield late in the third quarter. The running backs didn’t provide much, either, as Connette’s 40 yards made him the day’s leading rusher.
And while the defense had been playing incredible football, it appeared the effort was going to be wasted until Edwards’ heroics.
This game wasn’t all sunshine and roses, mind you; there are plenty of problems that need correcting and the consistently subpar quarterback play is becoming a pretty big concern, but we can save all the negativity for tomorrow.
Today, let’s sit back and talk about how the Blue Devils could be ranked in the Top-25 when the new polls drop and about how we’ll be talking about DeVon Edwards’ day for years. Let’s talk about how this team could be the real deal and how they’re a Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami loss away from being all alone in first place in the ACC Coastal division. Let’s talk about how one of those teams (Miami) is coming to Durham next week to face the new look Blue Devils.
I’m sure Duke will find themselves in a situation where someone, anyone, will need to step up and make a big play to save the game. And given the way this season has gone, I know someone will.
After all, there is something about a chosen one.
Go, Blue Devils.