Duke Football is still looking for their first conference win of the season, and it won’t be easy against a ranked Virginia Tech team.
The Blue Devils return to Wallace Wade to host #19 Virginia Tech for their first home game in approximately a month. Here are some of the things Duke must do well in order to upset the Hokies, win their first ACC game, and keep their postseason bowl game hopes alive.
1. Defense can’t allow big plays
The Blue Devils dropped a close 38-35 game on the road at Georgia Tech last week where the defense struggled to stop the Yellow Jackets. Things may be worse for Duke this week facing a highly talented offense. After a tight win against Pittsburgh last week, VT head coach Justin Fuente mentioned, “we should be taking a couple more (shots to the end zone)”. The Blue Devils’ secondary needs to be prepared for the deep ball this weekend, especially against the Hokies’ career TD receptions leader Isaiah Ford.
2. Daniel Jones needs to keep up high level of play
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While the defense struggled last week against Georgia Tech, the offense probably played it’s best game this season outside of the Notre Dame win. Redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones was named the ACC Rookie of the Week after totaling 305 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and 73 rushing yards. The improvement of Jones’ decision-making has been evident since the five-interception disaster vs. Virginia, and hopefully he can keep it up for the rest of the season.
3. Build on offensive versatility in game plan
The most impressive part of the game for Duke was their offensive versatility. In addition to the 205 passing yards and 2 TDs, the Blue Devils accumulated 254 rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs. Jones also spread the ball around well in the passing game, with the three tight ends combining for 12 catches, 173 yards, and 2 touchdowns and four 50+ yard receivers. The passing game was successful last week without leading wide receiver Anthony Nash, and the team will have to adjust again with leading rusher Jela Duncan out for the year.
Duke Football will also be wearing customized Battleship Grey uniforms and honoring the 75th anniversary of the 1941 Rose Bowl team. Time is running out for the Blue Devils to continue their streak of consecutive bowl game appearances, but an upset against Virginia Tech will definitely help.