Logan Zone

Duke has chance to grow in road game against Virginia

Posted October 18, 2013
Updated October 19, 2013

Clemson and Florida State are getting much of the national attention ahead of their Saturday evening showdown (8 p.m., ABC, 620 AM The Buzz), and that's perfectly fine. I've lived on the East Coast since 1988, and there hasn't been a bigger Atlantic Coast Conference game. 

But there are other games going on. In fact, the Duke Blue Devils are one of the most intriguing teams in the league, and they have a chance to get one step closer to a bowl game – and continued relevancy as a football program – with a road win over Virginia. 

Saturday's game (3:30 p.m., 620 AM The Buzz) is one Duke has lost more often than not in the past, but if David Cutcliffe and his team are going to continue on the path to staying competitive, they need to find a way to win. Logan Logan: Clemson, FSU battle important for ACC

If you want to be significant, you have to learn to win on the road. If they can beat the Cavaliers, they're sitting at 5-2 with several winnable games left on the schedule. In other words, they'd likely be a bowl team for the second straight year. 

Having Anthony Boone back at quarterback doesn't hurt. In his first game back against Navy, he was dominant, throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-7 win. He reminds me of David Garrard. He's well built, strong, mobile and he throws a beautiful football, and that win over Navy was a quality victory. 

Tigers, Seminoles should be fun to watch

Now, about the game everyone, and I mean everyone, is counting down to. 

I'm leaning toward the Tigers because of the schedule they've played so far in the season, but I'm also positive Florida State – and its defense in particular – are the best Clemson has faced all season. 

Every year, ACC defensive coordinators are getting a bit better at defending Chad Morris' spread attack, and this year is no different. North Carolina State and Boston College both slowed down the Tigers, and neither of those teams has near the talent the Seminoles will bring with them to Death Valley. 

The difference in the game will likely be quarterback play, and in that case, I'll take Tajh Boyd's experience. FSU freshman Jameis Winston has been scary good and looks like an NFL player today, but he's also not had to make all of these ridiculous plays under the amount of game pressure he will face Saturday night. 

Expect the Tigers to win a close one.

ECU better be prepared to play against Southern Miss

There is a lot of angst in the eastern part of the state because of ECU's 36-33 three-overtime loss to Tulane, and much of the anger is being directed at kicker Warren Harvey. 

Harvey missed a field goal in regulation that would have won the game, and he missed another one in the third overtime that opened the door for the Green Wave to kill it. Instead of being angry at the kicker, fans should be more upset with the rest of the Pirates for putting the game in Harvey's hands. The football program shouldn't rest on someone's leg.

ECU had a chance to go on the road and take advantage of back-to-back wins over North Carolina and Middle Tennessee, and the Pirates failed miserably. They went up and down the field between the 20s, and they couldn't get the job done. It's the most frustrating thing a coach can go through, and it's another example of not finishing. 

Now, as they get ready for Southern Mississippi, the Pirates are going to have to rebound quickly. Say what you will about Southern Mississippi's 17-game losing streak, but each loss gets them closer to their next win. 

When you're playing a team like that, it's like someone pulling a pin to the hand grenade and putting it on the floor. It's going to go off at some point, and ECU better make sure they aren't the team that gets blown up. You better buckle it up, strap it up and bring your best effort.

If I were Ruffin McNeill, I might go look up some of the old film of this series, because Southern Miss has owned the Pirates.

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  • 903 Oct 17th and 1 win Oct 18, 1:30 p.m.

    Duke's won 4 of the last 5 against UVa. And many of the Duke players have dealt with the dirty play and trash talk by these UVa players along with some dustups between the coaches in recent years. I think Duke rolls big like they did in the Navy game last week. I just hope after they do, they don't get too excited since it was just UVa...

  • lec02572 Oct 18, 2:48 p.m.

    Good luck Duke and Coach Cut. Might be the only team in the area to get a bowl bid.

  • Gunnstigator Oct 18, 3:32 p.m.

    I like Duke in the game with UVA, although I don't think it will be as convincing a win as their game against Navy. Still, I think Duke comes home with five wins after Saturday.

    I think FSU beats Clemson - should be a dandy. I'm really looking forward to watching that game as I don't have a dog in the fight and I can just sit back and watch what should be good football.

    I think ECU beats S Mississippi. Too much talent, and they had a wake-up call after dropping one to Tulane last week. Good luck to the Pirates!

  • DEVILS1 Oct 18, 6:40 p.m.

    DUKE takes this game against UVA, not putting a number on it, just a win. C'mon DEVILS, let's get to 5-2!

    I am going with Clemson over FSU just because it is at home for them.

    I would like to see ECU take care of Southern Miss...they should, Southern Miss hasn't won a game in a season and a half.

    GO DUKE!

  • Hosscat Oct 18, 9:55 p.m.

    WOW! The trolls are fading.....Lets GO DUKE!!!!!!!This is a really fun team to watch and they are still looking OK following 2 tough games with this years 3rd string quarterback. No predictions from me but I am seeing a lot of reasons to feel like we may be about to see back to back bowls for DUKE FOOTBALL..

  • cjw6105 Oct 18, 10:16 p.m.

    Will someone let me know when Duke beats a decent opponent?

  • DEVILS1 Oct 18, 11:48 p.m.

    They have beaten decent opponents, not great, but decent to good teams. Before Cutcliffe came to Duke, they were losing to these teams.

  • DUKE4EVER Oct 19, 6:04 a.m.

    Will someone let me know when Duke beats a decent opponent?

    — Posted by cjw6105

    Sure, October 12, 2013 vs. Navy.

  • TruthBKnown Banned Again03 Oct 19, 10:57 a.m.

    Virginia blows. Duke rolls again this week.

    And the Holes continue to grit their teeth.

  • cjw6105 Oct 19, 11:15 a.m.

    So I'm wrong in thinking that Navy isn't a decent team? Well, after all, they're 3-2 and had lost only to Western Kentucky before losing in Durham. And they should go to 4-2 after today's Toledo game, another game vs a small school.

    The Naval Academy hasn't been a serious Division One football program since the days of Roger Staubach. Duke may yet end up good, but beating up on academy and lower-level Division One teams, along with the NC Centrals of the world, simply doesn't convince me that anything is different over in Durham these days.

    I would love to see Duke win again on the gridiron, but until significant changes are made at Duke, it simply ain't gonna happen. You know that's true because they still continue to bring up the rear of a league (ACC) that's in decline in football.

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