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Jeff Gravley

Duke wins Coastal, improbable but not impossible

Posted November 30, 2013
Updated December 1, 2013

When David Cutcliffe left the interview room, he was met at the door by an Orange bowl official. Cutcliffe told him "We plan to come see you down there," referring to a bowl trip to Miami. The winner of the ACC championship game gets the Orange bowl bid and the Coastal Division champs will have to beat Florida State to keep Cutcliffe's plan in tact.

That is going to be a long shot.. But what did Kevin Garnett yell. "Anything is poooooosssssible!"

Duke's run this year in football is improbable but not impossible. They laid the groundwork last year winning 6 games and becoming bowl eligible. They suffered a last minute, crushing defeat to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl. When the team got back together in January, Cutcliffe liked what he saw. That bowl game ate at the players just like it did the Duke staff.

The players that had gone through a 3-9 season wasn't just happy with going to a bowl. They were hungry for more.

Four games into this season, Duke suffered another blow to the gut. They scored 55 points on Pittsburgh but gave up 58 in the loss...their 2nd in a row. How would they respond?

Well they haven't lost since, reeling off 8 consecutive wins.

There are enough players on this team that have deep scar tissue from past shortcomings. It has helped them deal with the peaks and valleys of a game and a season.

They win 2 road games in Virginia. They win 2 games even when Anthony Boone throws 7 picks. They run over Miami between the tackles. They beat their rivals in Chapel Hill when all was on the line.

Coach Cutcliffe told his guys, don't worry about losing the game, go out there and win it. Enjoy it!

If there is series of events that cements a transformation of Duke football, it happened in the 2nd quarter against North Carolina. The Devils fumble a punt to the Tar Heels. They have a fumble recovery in the end zone overturned. Carolina quarterback Marquisse Williams scrambles for a touchdown, followed by a 2-point conversion for a 15-10 lead.

How does Duke respond?

Calmly and quickly, freshman DeVonte Edwards takes the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for the touchdown,17-15 Blue Devils. "We shocked them (North Carolina) because they thought we were going to fall over like Duke has done in the past," Edwards said. "I don't think they were ready for the new nation of the Blue Devils."

A lot of people weren't. But the ones who got to ring the victory bell for the second year in a row sure believed.

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  • alphaman Dec 3, 5:24 a.m.

    The CF world is having a huge laugh at the ACC's expense. A mediocre at best Dook team in... View More

    — Posted by ttaylor58

    ...bet you'll be watching just like the rest of your obsessed fanbase over in chapped hole. No fake championship here, like at unc. No phony rings proclaiming said fake championship. And it didn't take 20+ years of cheating to achieve it, either. Must really sting to see your arch rival win outright at YOUR expense....on YOUR home turf. Must really sting....really.

  • ttaylor58 Dec 2, 7:46 p.m.

    The CF world is having a huge laugh at the ACC's expense. A mediocre at best Dook team in the ACC championship fresh off a watered down schedule of bad coastal teams and non-conference cream puffs. Gonna be ugly but at least nobody will be watching except maybe for a laugh.

  • sburks1906 Dec 1, 6:21 p.m.

    Props to Duke football once again. If Cutcliff is not National Coach of the Year, then they should stop giving out the award.
    http://theklowntimes.net/2013/11/18/duke-football-is-for-real/

  • 903 Hook em banned Dec 1, 3:02 p.m.

    A lot of WRAL employees posted UNC to win. They were awfully wrong. I am an NC
    State fan. Even... View More

    — Posted by jkorneg

    because on paper, unc looks like they should have the better team.... but that ignores the... View More

    — Posted by 903 Hook em banned

    This is the first winning season Cut has had at Dook. Fedora is much better in his first two... View More

    — Posted by ooksucks lol

    Throughout Cut's time at Duke, UNC has had the better players on paper each and every year...with or without sanctions and scholarship losses...

    The reason why Cut's won the last two despite that is because of his ability to coach them up. Sometimes coaching makes players better than what they were on paper before they got to campus. That's what Cut does.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Dec 1, 2:54 p.m.

    That only reinforces my opinion of the media.

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    The Media also picked the Canes to finish either last or next-to-last in '06: the year... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    Sports writers - aka "the media" - are paid (can you believe that?) to do what they... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    This is why I don't pay attention to the bleating heads. The games are the only thing that... View More

    — Posted by Hammerhead

    Agree with both you gentlemen. I sometimes wonder just how much the talking heads actually WATCH the local games. I think they look at stats and make a prediction. Sometimes fans who watch the teams every week can make more accurate predictions.

    Predicting who will win a game is about as accurate as predicting the weather at times.

  • rduguyhere Dec 1, 2:20 p.m.

    A lot of WRAL employees posted UNC to win. They were awfully wrong. I am an NC
    State fan. Even... View More

    — Posted by jkorneg

    because on paper, unc looks like they should have the better team.... but that ignores the... View More

    — Posted by 903 Hook em banned

    This is the first winning season Cut has had at Dook. Fedora is much better in his first two... View More

    — Posted by ooksucks lol

    As much as I hate Dook,and yes, UNC did alot of thing to "beat themselves", you still have to give credit to Dook. Just sayin... This coming from a Tar Heel fan. The Heel will fine. Fedora is a good coach, has a great foundation of young players and hs already solidified some very good recruting classes coming in.

  • ooksucks lol Dec 1, 2:12 p.m.

    A lot of WRAL employees posted UNC to win. They were awfully wrong. I am an NC
    State fan. Even... View More

    — Posted by jkorneg

    because on paper, unc looks like they should have the better team.... but that ignores the... View More

    — Posted by 903 Hook em banned

    This is the first winning season Cut has had at Dook. Fedora is much better in his first two seasons than Cut was, and Fedora came in with sanctions and scholarship losses. Dook was luck UNC managed to beat themselves.

  • rduguyhere Dec 1, 2:08 p.m.

    If, and I do say if, Duke loses; it should be ECU and Duke in a bowl game to determine NC Champion.

    — Posted by timetochange

    Why would Dook want that? Every other team is pretty much terrible or mediocre in the State of NC this year. I would think Dook would want to play an SEC, Big 10, Big 12, etc. team. Not a Conf USA team.

  • rduguyhere Dec 1, 2:05 p.m.

    Good luck against FSU Dookies. Any other year, I would (ahem) root for Dook against FSU in this ame. However, I can't pass at an opportunity for the ACC to play for the national championship! Go FSU!

  • rduguyhere Dec 1, 2:03 p.m.

    A lot of WRAL employees posted UNC to win. They were awfully wrong. I am an NC
    State fan. Even... View More

    — Posted by jkorneg

    Good win by the Dookies. Quite impressive with Dook's resources to finish with a 10 win season.

    Anyway, this game could have gone either way as it usually does. Without the INT at the end, i'm sure UNC would have kicked a winning field goal. But, that's why they play the game.

    Anyway, congrats Dookies.

    Go Heels!

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