Team Grades for Duke’s 55-0 Win over North Carolina Central


It was another dominating win for the Duke football team on Saturday night as they blew past their FCS opponent, the North Carolina Central Eagles, 55 to 0. In our prediction before the game, the things to look for were if Thomas Sirk could improve upon his solid first week, if the offensive line could perform more consistently and if the penalties could be minimized. Sirk was fantastic. The line was dominant and the penalties were cut in more than half from the previous week. Let’s give out some grades. 

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Offense – A

QB Thomas Sirk was pretty spectacular on Saturday night. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for another one. Sirk was in total control after his early interception that was wiped out by a penalty. He performed with laser like precision.

Shaquille Powell caught a pass for a 24 yard TD. Shaun Wilson caught another one that went for 89 yards. The two were the mainstays in the backfield that saw Duke run for more than 280 yards.

There really is not much to say about an offense that puts up 655 yards. The Duke offense did exactly what everyone thought they would do against this quality of opponent. Only reason this was not an A+ was because of the slow start in the first quarter. Otherwise it was a completely lights out performance.

Defense – A+

Again not much to say when you pitch a shutout and concede only 186 yards over a course of an entire game. This should come as no shock to anyone but Duke’s secondary looks like a top 5 unit in the entire country.

Another big positive about the past two weeks has been the run defense which was porous to say the least last year. Carlos Wray is leading the charge up front and the holes that were there last season have not appeared yet so far this year.

Special Teams – A

No returns for touchdowns this week but another solid performance all the way around. Something to monitor would be the punt return unit and its lack of explosiveness. NCC punted the ball 12 times and Duke could only muster 14 return yards. This might be the area where Jamison Crowder will be missed the most.

Another dominating performance against a lesser foe. Duke’s preseason is now over as they head into a showdown against 23rd ranked Northwestern on Saturday morning. This will be a big time test at home and will really show what kind of program Duke hopes to be this season.