Duke Football: Grading Daniel Jones’ return in Blue Devils loss

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Daniel Jones made his return to Duke Football last night and the Blue Devils suffered a tough loss, but we are going to examine how Jones actually played.

It came as a bit of a surprise, but Daniel Jones started for the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday night against Virginia Tech.

News out of Durham was that Jones was making amazing progress from his surgically repair clavicle that he injured on September 8 in the win over Northwestern, but a safe assumption could have been that Jones would have returned in two weeks after the bye.

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That was not the case and Head Coach David Cutcliffe ran Jones out on the field against the Hokies.

However, Jones didn’t show that much rust from the surgery or from not being in live game action in three weeks.

Jones completed 23 of his 35 pas attempts for 226 yards a touchdown and an interception, Jones is normally very mobile but Duke tried to limit Jones moving outside the pocket as much as they could as he only took off six times, gaining one yard.

Jones had three would be touchdowns dropped in this game and once a team gets behind 24-7 early in the third quarter, you aren’t going to fool many defenses, especially one as stout as Virginia Tech.

The Hokies defense was just waiting to pounce on Jones and make him as uncomfortable as possible, however, Jones’ interception came on Duke’s second drive of the game where Virginia Tech blitzed off the edge and his pass was tipped and batted into the air, right into the hands of a Hokies defender.

All things considered, Daniel Jones did not play that bad of a game, but it clearly could have been better.

Would Duke have been better off starting Quentin Harris on Saturday night against Virginia Tech and saved Daniel Jones for Georgia Tech on October 13?

You could certainly make that argument and I wouldn’t try to challenge it, but Coach Cutcliffe went with what he thought would give Duke the best chance to win.

With a week to sit on this loss and a bad taste in their mouth, the next step is for Duke to come out firing after the bye to show to the country that this was just a fluke week and they are much more like the Duke team you saw in the first four weeks and not the one you saw on Saturday night.

I would give Daniel Jones a C for his performance against Virginia Tech.

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