Duke football no-shows in ugly loss against No. 18 Louisville

Duke football plays against Louisville (Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke football plays against Louisville (Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke football team failed to show up in Louisville on Saturday afternoon. 

Saturday afternoon presented the opportunity for the Duke football team to get back on track after a disappointing loss last week against No. 4 Florida State but another ranked foe awaited the Blue Devils.

No. 18 Louisville was also looking to respond from its first loss of the season against Pittsburgh a week ago and the Cardinals were ready.

The first two series of the game for the ‘Cards went for touchdowns and the tone was set on its 10-play, 72-yard drive on its first offensive possession.

Duke tried to respond after Louisville scored first as head coach Mike Elko opted to go for it on 4th &1 from the Cardinal 45-yard line but Riley Leonard, who started at quarterback after leaving the Florida State game with another injury, was sacked.

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Leonard was sacked four times in the 23-0 loss after the offensive line only allowed a total of five sacks in the first seven games of the season.

Duke’s signal caller was just 9-of-23 for 121 yards and an interception and was removed from the game in the fourth quarter for freshman Grayson Loftis.

Freshman quarterback Henry Belin IV had previously gotten the all of the reps this season when Leonard had not been in the game.

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It felt miraculous that the Blue Devils were still — technically — in the game midway through the third quarter after Riley Leonard’s interception led to another Louisville field goal which pushed the lead to 23, but its offense still had no answer.

Duke never reached the red zone and only had three drives longer than five plays.

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Louisville (7-1, 4-1 ACC) churned out 234 rushing yards as the Cardinals out-gained Duke, 351-202, while the Blue Devils were called for ten penalties in the loss.

Duke (5-3, 2-2 ACC) must respond quickly with a Thursday night (7:30p.m. ET, ESPN) matchup at home against Wake Forest (4-4, 1-4 ACC).

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