Here is a list of five things we learned about the Blue Devils after their first loss of the season for Duke Football.
Duke fell for the first time this season in a 24-14 loss to Wake Forest. Here are five things we took away from yesterday’s game and what the Blue Devils need to improve on going forward:
1. The early ACC game backfired.
Head coach David Cutcliffe mentioned that he was excited to have an early conference game on the schedule. The ACC matchup against Wake Forest was supposed to be a barometer for the Blue Devils and he hoped the team would be able to “practice and play with an ACC intensity” in Week 2. Unfortunately, Duke wasn’t prepared for the offensive and defensive physicality of Wake Forest and ended up with their first loss.
2. The offense struggles without a running game.
The running backs were one of the main strengths for Duke Football this season, but they struggled against the Wake Forest defense. In the season opener, Duke totaled 308 running yards but the Blue Devils combined for only 37 rushing yards against the Demon Deacons. This was mostly due to Wake Forest’s defensive pressure and the Duke offense relying on Daniel Jones and the passing game when they were playing from behind.
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3. Wake Forest is improved.
Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson mentioned to media during the week that he was trying to build the Demon Deacons football program similar to how Cutcliffe transformed Duke Football and the improvement is starting to show. The Duke offensive line struggled to protect Daniel Jones in the pocket allowing 5 sacks and took away -45 yards from the Blue Devils. They were also able to force their will on offense in the running game 239 rushing yards for three touchdowns.
4. Daniel Jones shows why he was named starting quarterback.
Redshirt freshman QB Daniel Jones did make several mistakes throughout the game including a late interception, he displayed a few flashes of how talented he can be. Jones finished the game with 332 passing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Plays like this 56-yard pass to Anthony Nash and a 59 yard bomb to Chris Taylor show why the coaching staff was impressed with Jones in the preseason and selected him to be the starter to replace Thomas Sirk.
5. Don’t write off the Blue Devils just yet.
The loss to Wake Forest was disappointing to Duke fans after seeing the Blue Devils win the last four in a row against the Demon Deacons. However, the team should not be defined by this loss. The Blue Devils can learn from their mistakes and growing pains with a young team and continue competing in the ACC Coastal and the rest of the regular season.