With Duke’s ACC Championship game hopes gone, it may not seem like the Blue Devils have a whole lot to play for when Miami comes to down but don’t tell that to them.
Duke who enters the season finale at 6-5 (3-4 ACC) has the chance to guarantee itself of a winning record for the first time since 1994
when the Blue Devils finished 8-5. And it may seem like they have the advantage with this game being at home where Duke is 5-1 this season and with Miami having self-imposed a bowl ban and seemingly little to play for.
Still Miami can finish 5-3 in the ACC and hopes that its second straight self-imposed bowl ban will win over the NCAA who is expected to finalize its investigation soon.
So far this season Duke has not managed to have much success against the historically elite programs. They were blown out by Clemson and Florida State and couldn’t play a full game against Virginia Tech. But in what is the final home game for some its bet players can the Blue Devils knock off a struggling Miami program?
They certainly can, if you believe in the transitive property of wins and loses, but it will take a lot more than that. Duke heads into the game in the midst of a three game losing streaking after having started the season 6-2. Their defense has been part of the problem having given up 40 or more points in those three loses.
The offense has at times struggled to keep up in games and last week’s loss to Georgia Tech saw the Blue Devils unable to keep pace with the Yellow Jackets option that scored on all but two dries the entire game.
Against Miami, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree has got to get the offense moving and hope that the running game can put some pressure on the Hurricanes defense.
Miami quarterback Stephen Morris has been play very well and he has time he certainly has some weapons. Running back Duke Johnson has clearly been the most dangerous weapons the Hurricanes have and if Duke can’t slow him down it could be another long afternoon for Duke.
Miami 42- Duke-21
At this point in the season with the Duke defense seemingly clinging on for dear life I’m not sure there is much left in the Blue Devils tank after getting beaten badly in the last three games.
The Blue Devils offense might be able to put up some points but I’m not certain the defense will be able to slow down the Miami offense enough for this game to be competitive throughout.
The good news Duke got earlier this week that Davd Cutcliffe will be staying on as the head coach after signing a contract extension through the 2019 season. That could give the Blue Devils a bit of a spark early on and if they can somehow limit the Miami offense’s opportunities or force some turnovers then they can win the game.
That being said, I just don’t know if there is much left in Duke’s tank. The injuries and emotional toll of the season has strarted to show itself and despite the fact that the Hurricanes are having their own issues I think the gap between Duke and the elites of the ACC is still there for now.
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