Game Preview and Prediction for Duke vs. Virginia


Your Duke football team returns to action today on the road at Virginia starting at 3:30 ET on ESPN3. The last three weeks have not been kind to the Blue Devils as they have lost each week after starting 6-1. Luckily, the Virginia Cavaliers are 3-7 and the end of the Mike London era is quickly coming to a close. Today is a perfect day for Duke to get back on track both on offense and defense. While the Coastal division is now out of reach, Duke still wants to finish strong and hopefully qualify for a respectable bowl game. Here are some things to watch for in today’s game. 

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1. The return of QB Thomas Sirk

Starting quarterback, Thomas Sirk, returns today for the Blue Devils after missing last week’s loss against Pittsburgh with an upper-body injury. It was evident that while QB Parker Boehme has some tools to be a solid back-up, Sirk is the leader of the offense and his presence was sorely missed. I expect Sirk to have success through the air as well as on the ground against a Virginia defense that ranks 78th nationally. Also, expect heavy contributions from Duke’s stable of runningbacks, considering the receiving corps is now down two bodies with the dismissals of Johnell Barnes and Terrence Alls.

2. Duke’s defense

Oh where oh where has the Duke defense gone? That is a question David Cutcliffe has been asking himself the previous three weeks. At this point it is a far question to ask if this defense was any good to begin with. They dominated teams who could not throw the ball earlier in the season but the previous three weeks has been a complete 180. North Carolina, Miami and Pittsburgh had their respective ways with the Duke defense, especially the secondary.

Jeremy Cash has been great in run support the entire year but his coverage ability has seemingly taken a step backwards this year as he has not recorded a single interception all year. Duke’s first seven games of the season, the defense was ranked top 10 in the nation. The past three weeks they have given up an average of 514 yards and 42 points a game. Not ideal.

Prediction – Duke 27 – Virginia 17

I am going down with the ship. My predictions the past three weeks have been everything but spot on but Virginia is a bad football team. Duke might be bad as well but I do not believe they are as bad as Virginia. David Cutcliffe is too good a coach for this team to lose four games in a row. They snap the streak today and send Mike London off into the sunset with a L.