GAME NOTES: The 22nd-ranked Duke Blue Devils will try to win their fourth
straight game on Saturday afternoon when they travel to the Carrier Dome to
take on the Syracuse Orange in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Duke made its season debut in the Top-25 poll last week leading up to their
road contest with Pittsburgh, and in a game that had seven ties and nine lead
changes, it finally came out on top in double-overtime, 51-48, to improve to
“That was a classic college football game,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.
“We were resilient, continued to fight and believed down to the very end.”
The Blue Devils are 3-1 in the ACC and sit alone in first place in the Coastal
Division, a game up in the loss column over Georgia Tech and Miami-Florida.
Syracuse, meanwhile, has struggled this season, sitting with a 3-6 overall
record and a 1-4 mark in league play. The Orange most recently lost to NC
State last weekend, 24-17, to dip to 1-5 in their home building.
Duke has a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with Syracuse, although the
programs haven’t met since 1939.
The Blue Devils’ have played very well on the offensive side of the ball this
season, scoring 35.8 ppg, while showing great balance between the run (212.2
ypg) and the pass (209.8 ypg). In last week’s shootout, the unit scored three
touchdowns through the air and three on the ground.
Anthony Boone was outstanding in the win, throwing for 266 yards, rushing for
47, accounting for four touchdowns and going without a turnover. On the
season, he’s completed 59.7 percent of his throws for 1,628 yards, 12
touchdowns and three interceptions to go with 243 yards and four scores
Star wideout Jamison Crowder also shined the last time out with nine
receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 49 grabs, 636 yards
and four touchdowns on the year.
“(Boone and Crowder) are healthier than they’ve been and I’m very proud of
both those guys,” Cutcliffe said. “It has been really positive in practice and
it showed on the field (versus Pitt).”
Shaquille Powell (57 carries), Josh Snead (56 carries) and Shaun Wilson (55
carries) have had a near-even split of the backfield workload. Wilson has
shown the most explosion with 528 yards (9.6 ypc) and four touchdowns, while
Powell has 308 yards and two touchdowns and Snead 298 yards and two scores.
The Blue Devils’ defense was torched by Pitt to the tune of 594 yards last
week, which was an anomaly for a unit that gives up a mere 19.2 ppg.
David Helton has a team-best 87 tackles. Jeremy Cash (76 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 1.5
sacks, two INTs) and DeVon Edwards (72 tackles, INT) have also racked up the
stops and have combined to force five fumbles.
Syracuse, meanwhile, has struggled to get anything going offensively, tallying
just 20.1 ppg and 371.6 ypg. It has scored less than its average in six of its
last seven games.
With Terrel Hunt (.572 completion percentage, 983 yards, TD, four INTs) out
with a leg injury, AJ Long has acted as the starting quarterback to lackluster
results (.563, 727 yards, four TDs, six INTs). He threw for a career-high 307
yards and two touchdowns last week but also tossed a pair of interceptions.
Jarrod West was the primary beneficiary of Long’s success against NC State
with 161 yards on seven catches, giving him 40 receptions for 610 yards on the
season, although he hasn’t scored a touchdown.
Prince-Tyson Gulley (526 yards, TD) has been solid in 107 attempts, while
Adonis Ameen-Moore (56 carries, 325 yards, TD) is also worked in.
The Orange’s defense has held up to their end of the bargain this season,
allowing just 23.0 ppg and 353.8 ypg, while creating 17 takeaways.
Cameron Lynch is one of the ACC’s most active linebackers, racking up 73
tackles, 9.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Brandon Reddish has a pair of
interceptions and Marqez Hodge and Ron Thompson have three sacks apiece.
Syracuse has shown to be no threat in recent weeks, even in its home building,
meaning the Blue Devils should have no problem continuing their run.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 31, Syracuse 13