Elon shouldn’t be a problem for Duke to handle on Saturday. Ball Durham breaks down the numbers for the Blue Devils’ season opener.
First thing’s first. Even though every season is different, the seasons beforehand could show a bit of a preview to what could happen this weekend. In Elon’s opener last season, Georgia Tech put on a scoring clinic against the Phoenix. Georgia Tech outplayed Elon 70-0 in 2013. In 2012, North Carolina did almost the same amount of damage, beating Elon 62-0.
Let’s get back to last season. Over the course of 12 games, Elon was outscored by their opponents 258-393, averaging 21.5 points per game, when their opponents averaged 32.8. The Blue Devils had almost 1,000 more rushing yards than the Phoenix last season, Elon having 1,495 and Duke totaling 2,492. Elon’s opponents averaged 2,701 in games against them. Elon only completed 33% of their possible third down conversions (61-for-184), where Duke managed to covert 40% (79-200).
Elon’s past 49 contests of playing against ranked opponents the FCS they haven’t faired so well. The Phoenix are 11-38 since the 1999-2000 season against ranked teams. The last time Elon pulled off a win against a ranked team was in 2011 when Furman was ranked No. 17. The last time Elon beat a ranked team in the top 10 was back in 2007 when Wofford was ranked No. 7. Elon was last ranked in the 2010-2011 season. They peaked at No. 7 and fell out of the rankings after seven weeks.
The last time the two teams played back in 2010, Duke won 41-27. Duke won only three games that season. In that matchup, Elon threw two interceptions, where Duke didn’t commit a single turnover during the game. Duke also commanded the game, having 36:05 minutes of possession. When Duke had the ball, they had more passing yards (350 to Elon’s 281) and more rushing yards (192 to Elon’s 125). These were the days of Sean Renfree, who threw 31 for 39 for 350 yards, averaging nine yards per pass.
Looking at these stats, chalking up a win during week one shouldn’t be a difficult task for the Blue Devils.