Duke Football: Three Keys For Blue Devils Seeking Bowl Game Appearance

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Brittain Brown
DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Brittain Brown /

Duke Football has a chance to extend their season with a bowl game if they win this afternoon’s rivalry matchup against Wake Forest. Here are our keys to the game.

It’s been an extremely fluctuating season for Duke Football this year. The Blue Devils head into their regular season finale with a chance to overcome their recent struggles and save the season with a bowl game appearance on the line against Wake Forest.

The team started off great winning four straight games. They dominated in the opener against NCCU and pulled off upsets as underdogs against now 22nd-ranked Northwestern and North Carolina. However, Duke went from earning votes in Top 25 polls and considered a possible ACC Coastal Division threat to losing six straight games. After an excellent win over Georgia Tech last week, a win today would assure a bowl game for the Blue Devils. Here are our three keys for Duke to get a win:

1. Run the Ball

One of the main issues with Duke during their losing streak was that their offense became one-dimensional. The Blue Devils had one of the top offenses in the NCAA to start the season, thanks to QB Daniel Jones but also the running back duo of Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown. The offense got away from balancing the run and pass and relied too much on Daniel Jones to make plays. They average 115 rushing yards per game in losses but 245 yards in wins. Obviously, Duke needs to run the ball to win.

2. Limit Turnovers

The losing streak mid-season also saw a rise in turnovers. The Blue Devils turned it over at least once in every loss, leading to points for the opposing team. Wake Forest has surprised many this season with one of the toughest defenses in the country. Duke will need to hold on to the ball and avoid making mistakes to give the Demon Deacons extra chances to score.

3. Overcome Loss of Defensive Stars

Unfortunately, Duke Football will be without two of their key defensive players in their final game. The Blue Devils won’t have linebacker Ben Humphreys and safety Jeremy McDuffie. Both players are top five on the team in tackles and make key plays on defense. It will be up to other players to step up and make the stops that would normally be accounted for by Humphreys and McDuffie.

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Duke takes on Wake Forest this afternoon at 12:30 in Winston-Salem. They don’t necessarily need a win to become bowl-eligible, with The Chronicle outlining the other NCAA teams in the same situation as Duke. But a win would help definitely give them a postseason game and let them end the regular season on a high note.