Adam Gold

Duke's football future is bright

Posted December 8, 2013
Updated February 6, 2014

Duke Logo

While there are no moral victories in football, Duke has a lot to be excited about, even in the wake of a disappointing 45-7 loss to Florida State in the ACC Championship game. Even though they battled the Seminoles in the early rounds of Saturday night's title bout, the body blows took a toll on the Blue Devils and the second half was more about determining a final score than a champion.

Make no mistake, Duke should be disappointed. They had a great chance to strike first as sophomore running back Jela Duncan broke free down the left sideline, but he dropped a pass deep in FSU territory that would have almost certainly set Duke up with a first and goal and an eventual lead. What's worse, is that Duke's 67-yard drive came on the heels of a Florida State fumble by running back Devonta Freeman, who coughed up the football inside the Duke 5-yard line. When you're a 29-point underdog, moments present themselves in a football game that you must seize. That was the first, and when Ross Martin's 47-yard field goal was wide to the right, the Devils came up empty.

Later, Duke got a lift from a Jamison Crowder 40-yard punt return that set the Devils up at the FSU 37-yard line. But, Anthony Boone's first interception of the game negated the opportunity and 73 yards later the Seminoles cashed that mistake in for a 14-0 lead. Duke didn't have to take unnecessary risks to beat Florida State, but they had to play a clean game and take advantage of just about every scoring opportunity. Those last two elements were, unfortunately, missing from the Blue Devils' arsenal.

Still, Duke football has an awful lot to look forward to as we head into the bowl season and beyond. The Blue Devils are almost certainly headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Years Eve, the most prestigious post season assignment for the program since the 1960 Cotton Bowl win over Arkansas. Beyond this bowl season however, Duke's football future is very bright. Of the 48 players listed on the depth chart last night in Charlotte, 39 of them have at least one more year of eligibility.

Duke's four leading rushers all return, including all three of their top tailbacks. Junior Josh Snead, and sophomores Jela Duncan and Shaq Powell all averaged more than 5 yards per carry and junior quarterback Brandon Connette rushed for almost 400 yards and 13 touchdowns. Duke's receiving corps is also returning almost entirely intact. Assuming explosive wide out Jamison Crowder and tight end Braxton Deaver don't chase NFL dreams a year early, the Devils will bring back six of their top seven targets and almost 90% of their 2013 receiving yards.

Eleven different Duke players received all-ACC honors, including four that were selected to the first team. Eight of them are coming back. Seven of Duke's top nine defensive backs are freshmen and sophomores and the Blue Devils will return eight of their top 10 tacklers.

In many cases, when a program like Duke's makes a splash, it's on the backs of a seasoned senior class. And, while the Blue Devils certainly were buoyed by veteran corner back Ross Cockrell and sixth year senior defensive end Kenny Anunike, the real driving force behind the surge was the emergence of talented younger players, most of whom will be around for at least another season. Players like DeVon Edwards, a redshirt freshman who had four return touchdowns this year. Breon Borders, a true freshman corner back who intercepted Heisman Trophy favorite Jameis Winston twice Saturday night in Charlotte. And Jeremy Cash, the transfer from Ohio State – yes, THAT Ohio State – who was second on the team in tackles in his first season for Duke.

It's impossible to predict what next season will bring. Clearly, they were a team that achieved a lot in 2013. Aside from the obvious 10-wins and a second consecutive bowl invitation, and a title shot that no one among the college football Illuminati felt would ever happen, they developed an identity. Duke football established something this year. No longer is Duke the doormat of the Atlantic Coast Conference. No longer are they everyone's homecoming game. No longer is Duke a pushover.  Duke was physical, fast and relentless football team this year. Until wearing down under the immense talent and determination of a Florida State team that appears destined to bring back the glory days, they were exactly that last night.  

Saturday night was an opportunity to win a championship, one that Duke wasn't able to grasp with both hands. While failing to do so is crushingly painful to the players and coaches, it's just another part of the process. From the rubble of a program that had been out of the football business six years ago to the precipice of a conference championship, Saturday night was as much of a step forward as it was a temporary step back.  

David Cutcliffe is building a program at Duke and so much of that foundation will be around next season to continue the construction.



31 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Eaton Beaver Dec 9, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Better chance of you spelling *losing right.

  • Eaton Beaver Dec 9, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Where was unc though? Getting more cars from fats? Bunch of dang crooks that's all unc is.

  • Eaton Beaver Dec 9, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Must be a tar heel fan. Unc is a bunch of crooks who smoke pot and get free cars from fats. I can't hear you over the victory bell ringing over here in Durham. Cheaters.

  • jdupree Dec 8, 2013

    It's a shame they will be loosing their coach!

  • VikingTom Dec 8, 2013

    View quoted thread


    LMAO!

  • DUKE4EVER Dec 8, 2013

    View quoted thread


    No, I mean what I posted.

    Future is bright, we will continue to roll.

    GO DUKE!!

  • DUKE4EVER Dec 8, 2013

    GO DUKE!

    Future is bright, keep on rolling.

  • PricelessGemUNC Dec 8, 2013

    View quoted thread


    He's never been right before! Why now?

  • jrt0856 Dec 8, 2013

    As I listen to that dynamic duo of Gold and Ovies tomorrow on 99.9. I will have a barf bag with me. I believe I might get sick to my stomach. Also, I will be playing violin.

  • jrt0856 Dec 8, 2013

    View quoted thread


    The problem is VATech and Miami, they were suppose the powerhouses of the Coastal. It hasn't quite work out that way. If those schools ever return to form, the Dukes of the world would never sniff an ACC championship game. Best they could hope for is 6-8 wins and a decent bowl.

More...

 

 

  • CBB: UNC at Boston College

    Tonight at 8:00 on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: Texas A&M at LSU

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UNC vs. Pittsburgh

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NBA: Houston at Golden State

    Tonight at 10:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Oregon at Cal

    Thursday at 9:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: NC State vs. Wake Forest

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Men's College Basketball
1
5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST
Preview
 
Bowie St.
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
2
 
5
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
 
10
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
6
 
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
7
 
8
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
18
 
9
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
12
 
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET12:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST
Preview
19
 
6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
22
 
25
5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST
Preview
 
NFL Scoreboard
Sunday, Feb. 7
Carolina10Final
Denver24
 
NBA Scoreboard
San Antonio 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
Miami 
 
Boston 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
Milwaukee 
 
Washington 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 CT23:00
Preview
New York 
 
Utah 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 CT23:30
Preview
Dallas 
 
Houston 7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET3:30 GMT11:30 8:30 MST10:30 EST7:30 UAE (+1)04:3022:30 ET9:30 CT1:30
Preview
Golden State 
 
NHL Scoreboard
Los Angeles 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
Boston 
 
Florida 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
Buffalo 
 
Edmonton 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
New Jersey 
 
Anaheim 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
Philadelphia 
 
NY Islanders 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET0:00 GMT8:00 北京时间5:00 MST7:00 EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ET
Preview
Columbus 
 
Tampa Bay 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 北京时间5:30 MST7:30 EST4:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ET
Preview
Montreal 
 
Winnipeg 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET
Preview
St. Louis 
 
Washington 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET
Preview
Nashville 
 
Dallas 5:00 PT6:00 MT7:00 CT8:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 北京时间6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET
Preview
Minnesota 
 
San Jose 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET1:30 GMT9:30 北京时间6:30 MST8:30 EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET
Preview
Chicago 
 
Vancouver 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET
Preview
Colorado 
 
Toronto 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ET
Preview
Calgary 
 
Phoenix Open (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1H. Matsuyama - z-14F
2R. Fowler - y-14F
3H. English-12F
4D. Lee-11F
5B. Weekley-10F
6tW. Wilcox-9F
6tJ. Holmes-9F
6tS. Lowry-9F
6tJ. Huh-9F
6tB. Molder-9F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
Allianz Champ (CHMP)
PosNameScoreThru
1E. Toledo - z-11F
2B. Andrade - y-11F
3tT. Byrum-10F
3tJ. Sluman-10F
5T. Lehman-9F
6tB. Bryant-8F
6tC. Montgomerie-8F
6tD. Garwood-8F
6tJ. Huston-8F
10tJ. Maggert-7F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Tuesday, Feb. 9
Memphis Open (ATP)
 
World Tennis Tournament (ATP)
First Round
G. Garcia-Lop7 4 4   
H. Chung5 6 6   
A. Seppi6 62 4   
G. Muller4 77 6   
P. Kohlschrei6 6    
J. Benneteau4 4    
(4) D. Goffin1 7 65   
M. Baghdatis6 5 77   
(5) G. Monfils 
E. Gulbis 
T. Robredo 
M. Klizan 
 
Argentina Open (ATP)
First Round
R. Olivo5     
F. Bagnis5     
D. Munoz-De L6 0    
G. Elias4 0    
(8) P. Cuevas7 0    
A. Ramos-Vino5 0    
D. Lajovic 
F. Arguello 
(6) F. Fognini 
F. Delbonis 
P. Lorenzi 
P. Andujar 
(5) D. Thiem 
P. Carreno Bu 
J. Monaco 
M. Cecchinato 
 
WTA Scoreboard
Tuesday, Feb. 9
St. Petersburg Ladies (WTA)
First Round
J. Ostapenko4 3    
Y. Wickmayer6 6    
C. Witthoeft6 6    
T. Paszek3 3    
B. Strycova3 4    
K. Kozlova6 6    
(9) M. Niculescu6 6    
N. Vikhlyants0 3    
T. Babos77 7    
K. Siniakova60 5    
(5) A. Pavlyuchen6 4 6   
K. Koukalova4 6 4   
M. Gasparyan 
B. Jovanovski 
 
Taiwan Open (WTA)
First Round
K. Chang6 3 4   
S. Voegele1 6 6   
(7) K. Nara6 6    
Q. Wang1 3    
(4) Z. Diyas5 6 6   
L. Kichenok7 1 2   
(6) S. Hsieh77 4 6   
A. Okuno61 6 2   
Y. Wang 
M. Linette 
Second Round
(4) Z. Diyas 
E. Kulichkova 
(3) Y. Putintseva 
M. Kato