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Duke7071428
25  Memphis070714
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14


Duke (1-0) at Memphis (0-0)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 7, 4:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium (59,308) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Duke 1-0, Memphis 0-0. Away Record: Duke 0-0, Memphis 0-0. Neutral Record: Duke 0-0, Memphis 0-0. Conference Record: Duke 0-0, Memphis 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: The Duke Blue Devils take aim at their second win of the season while the Memphis Tigers open up the 2013 campaign, as the two teams collide at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Coming off a season in which they made it to a bowl game, the first time since 1994, the Blue Devils opened the 2013 campaign with a 45-0 blowout of FCS foe North Carolina Central. The win was the first shutout for the Blue Devils since 1989 and the first at home since 1978. A year ago Duke finished the regular season at 6-6 and went to the Belk Bowl. However, a 48-34 loss in the game to Cincinnati, left Duke with its 18th straight losing season.

For Memphis the goal is to yet again improve on the win total from the previous season. Last year, the first under Justin Fuente, the Tigers went 4-8 after going 2-10 in the previous season and 1-11 the year before that. The task will be made tougher this season as Memphis is moving to the American Athletic Conference after spending the previous 17 seasons in Conference USA.

Last September, Memphis made the trip to Durham but was sent away with a 38-14 loss. The meeting was the first ever between the two programs.

As with many teams that take on schools below the FBS level, Duke's offensive numbers were a bit different than usual as they rushed for 257 yards against NC Central, while picking up 488 yards total. The Blue Devils are still very much a pass-first team, with talented receiver Jamison Crowder on the edge, but by getting out to such a large lead, throwing the ball was not a necessity.

A year ago the Blue Devils rushed for just 125.3 yards per contest, while throwing for 283.9. Expect those types of numbers to begin now that Duke will be facing FBS competition once again.

One thing is for sure, Memphis and any other foe facing the Blue Devils have to keep a close eye on Crowder. The junior wideout is as dangerous an offensive threat as Duke has with his ability to make plays both in the passing game and on special teams. He showed both skills against NC Central with six receptions for 62 yards, as well as a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The responsibility of throwing those passes was split between starter Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette. Boone completed 16-of-20 pass attempts for 176 yards before giving way to Connette, who performed well (5-of-8, 55 yards, two TDs, INT) in a mop up role.

Carrying the majority of the offensive load was a number of running backs. Starter Jela Duncan had 76 yards and a score on 11 carries but six other players had at least five carries. Connette was one of those rushers as he had five carries and scored a rushing touchdown.

A quick glance at the numbers from last season would show that Duke's downfall was its lack of defensive success. The Blue Devils were among the 20 worst teams in the country in scoring defense (36 ppg), passing (283.9ypg) and total defense (409.2 ypg). Duke was drastically improved in the season opener.

Along with the shutout the Blue Devils allowed just 184 yards of total offense, including just 103 through the air. Duke also never allowed NC Central into the red zone and kept the Eagles to a 6-of-19 success rate on third down. The closest the Eagles came to a score was a missed 41-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Kelby Brown and David Helton each tied for a team-high with seven tackles in the contest. Jeremy Cash was more effective though as he had six tackles, five solo and one for loss. Breon Borders didn't record a stop but did collect an interception, while Kyler Brown forced a fumble and recorded a sack.

Memphis didn't rank particularly high as an offensive team in its final season as a member of Conference USA. The Tigers managed just 318.3 yards per game and scored only 24.4 points per game. The passing game was particularly weak with the Tigers totaling just 166.6 yards per game through the air. Both the Tigers' total yardage and passing average were among the 15 worst in the country.

Though he didn't rack up huge totals in terms of passing, Jacob Karam provided stability at the quarterback position, something he will continue this season. The former Texas Tech signal caller was especially effective during the final three games when he completed 40-of-52 pass attempts, tossing seven touchdowns and just a single interception. Karam made good choices for the most part, completing 64.2 percent of his attempts for 1,895 yards with 14 touchdowns against just three interceptions.

Running the ball was a strength for Memphis and with the top two backs returning, more of the same is expected. Jai Steib (427 yards, 6 TDs) was solid, while Brandon Hayes (576 yards, 6 TDs) showed flashes of brilliance, including 100-yard efforts in the final two games.

The receiving corps isn't lined with a ton of talent. Former Clemson receiver Joe Craig will be making his debut with these Tigers. Keiwone Malone (44 receptions, 476 yards) is the only other wide receiver on the team to return with at least 10 receptions and 200 yards. Tight end Alan Cross (23 receptions, 301 yards, 5 TDs) has sure hands and will be utilized in the passing game, especially in the red zone.

Under new defensive coordinator Barry Odom, the Tigers were much better on defense than on offense. Memphis ranked third in Conference USA and was among the 50 best schools in the country in terms of total defense (383.6 ypg). Memphis was particularly strong in creating negative plays for opposing offenses, ranking third in C-USA in sacks (29.0) and tying for fourth in tackles for loss (78.0).

That type of production should continue this season as the front seven was largely kept intact. Martin Ifedi is the most intriguing returning player as the defensive end had 11.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season. Fellow starters Corey Jones (6.0 TFL, 2.5 sacks) and Terry Redden (6.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks) return up front.

Leading tackler Charles Harris (79) and Anthony Brown (71) anchor the linebackers, while the secondary has a pair of returning starters in Bobby McCain and Lonnie Ballentine.

These two teams play at much different paces. Duke prefers a more wide open offensive tempo, while Memphis likes to grind games out with defense and the run. Duke proved last weekend that it can run the ball well enough and with that added wrinkle, the Blue Devils should be able to put enough together offensively to get by the Tigers.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 28, Memphis 14

09/04 10:53:50 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Wednesday
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
9th
HOU 4
BAL 1
 
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
 
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
 
8th
CWS 9
TOR 7
 
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
 
9th
PHI 4
NYM 4
 
8th
SEA 2
TAM 3
 
6th
TEX 3
CLE 3
 
2nd
BOS 0
MIN 2
 
6th
SFG 5
MIL 1
 
5th
ARI 4
STL 6
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
OAK
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
12:10pm Wednesday
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Wednesday
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Wednesday
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Wednesday
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Wednesday
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Wednesday
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Wednesday
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Wednesday
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Wednesday
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Wednesday
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Wednesday
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Wednesday
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Wednesday
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Wednesday
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Wednesday
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
3rd
ATL 51
CLE 68
 
9:00pm Wednesday
HOU
GSW
 
8:30pm Thursday
CLE
ATL
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
8:30pm Saturday
ATL
CLE
 
2nd Intermission
NYR 2
TAM 1
 
8:00pm Wednesday
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Wednesday
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR