Duke Football will face their toughest test so far this season when the 14th-ranked Miami Hurricanes come to town. What are the key matchups for the game?
The Blue Devils are currently 4-0 with the best start to a season in recent years. Duke Football has passed every test so far with wins over North Carolina Central, Northwestern, Baylor, and UNC. However, this week they will face very tough competition when they welcome a Top 25 conference opponent to Wallace Wade.
The Miami Hurricanes are also undefeated to start the season at 2-0. UM has yet to play a quality opponent, but is still a very talented team to watch out for. They cancelled two games due to Hurricane Irma, including an early matchup against Florida State.
Additionally, Miami was picked as the preseason favorites to win the ACC Coastal Division and are currently 14th in the nation. Here are our key offensive and defensive matchups to watch that could determine the outcome of the game:
Defense: Joe Giles-Harris (LB) vs. Mark Walton (RB)
Miami running back Mark Walton has been a star for the Hurricanes this year. He’s compiled 352 rushing yards and 3 TDs in two games averaging over 13 yards per carry.
Meanwhile, Duke brings the top run defense in the country, led by leading tackler Joe Giles-Harris. Walton will be the toughest back the defense has faced so far this year, and Giles-Harris and the rest of the defense will need to limit his production to win.
Offense: T.J. Rahming (WR) vs. Dee Delaney (CB)
These two will not be pitted against each other the entire game, but Miami’s top cornerback may see a lot of time against Duke’s leading receiver. Rahming paces the Blue Devils with 24 receptions and 248 yards, but surprisingly no touchdowns.
Delaney is a grad transfer in his first season in Miami after an FCS All-American career at the Citadel. He will be looking to keep Rahming out of the end zone and limit Daniel Jones’ favorite target in this game.
A win against the Hurricanes would be huge for Duke Football. It would make them one victory away from bowl-eligiblity (although it’s possible to make one with 5 wins), and prove that Duke is a program to look out for in the ACC and nationally. The Blue Devils play Miami Friday night at 7:00 on ESPN.