Duke Football is coming their best win of the season and one of the biggest in program history. What do the Blue Devils need to watch for against UVA?
The Blue Devils earned a huge victory on the road last week upsetting a Notre Dame team that were preseason Top 10 and three-touchdown favorites. Virginia is struggling so far this year currently at the bottom of the division, but the Cavaliers did beat Duke last year. Here are our three keys to the game:
1. How will Duke handle recent string of injuries?
The Blue Devils will be without three players who play key roles for the team. Starting safety and kick returner DeVon Edwards will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL and MCL at Notre Dame, backup linebacker Tinashe Bere is also out for the year after suffering a knee injury against the Fighting Irish, and starting running back Jela Duncan was ruled out to rest a leg injury. It will be important for other Blue Devils’ to step up on offense, defense, and special teams in the absence of these players, and hopefully Duke will be able to continue playing at a high level.
2. Defensive Improvements
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Last week’s upset of Notre Dame was a huge win for the program, but the glaring negative from the game was the defense continue allowing big plays. Duke allowed 534 total offensive yards and five touchdowns to the Fighting Irish. To their credit, they also made some huge plays creating turnovers and causing stops when needed. But they will need to improve if they want to be successful down the road in the season. That starts with limiting a 1-3 Virginia team that is coming off a 49 point performance in their first win of the season against Central Michigan.
This has pretty much been a key every week, but it’s something Coach Cutcliffe has continued to preach since Day 1. After the win over Notre Dame, starting quarterback Daniel Jones stated “I think we were, as a team, executing at such a high level. We weren’t perfect by any stretch, but overall, we were executing more consistently than we had been.” The Blue Devils performed very well and found their identity last week against the Fighting Irish. Hopefully they will be able to sustain their high level of play this weekend in their second conference game of the season.
Duke and Virginia will kickoff at 12:30 this afternoon during Homecoming Weekend for the Blue Devils. Duke Football will look to continue their momentum from their huge win last week on the win at Notre Dame to get their first ACC win of the season.