Joe Ovies

Talking Points: Not the same old Duke

Posted November 10, 2013

1. In 2008, it was legally established that Duke represented the bottom rung of college football. The Blue Devils won a breach of contract dispute with Louisville when their lawyers argued that the phrase “any and all college varsity teams" meant that Duke would not have to buy out the remaining games of the scheduled series if the Cardinals replaced the dates with a team of "similar stature" to Duke -- in other words, a bad team.

During oral arguments, Duke's lawyers didn't waste time belaboring the point.

"...the Court can absolutely positively take judicial notice that Duke is probably the worst football team in Division I football. Everybody knows that. That’s no secret. The longest losing streak, the inability to ever win games...We certainly don’t have to go out and take six months of discovery to establish that for you."

No reasonable party could have disputed that argument five years ago. In 2013, however, no reasonable party could dispute that head coach David Cutcliffe has earned the claim of ACC coach of the year.

The Blue Devils moved to 7-2 after defeating NC State 38-20, establishing a winning season for the first time since 1994. Unlike last season, when Duke got caught up in simply becoming bowl eligible, this team remains hungry for more. And why not? The Blue Devils are in the thick of it in the Coastal Division. NC State vs. Duke (Nov. 9, 2013) Slideshow: Big 4th propels Duke past NC State, 38-20

How Duke got to this point has been impressive. It's a resilient group, from scoring 35 unanswered at Virginia to answering NC State's big plays with a few of their own. These Blue Devils do not have a glass jaw and enter next week's Coastal showdown against Miami with incredible confidence. 

2. Duke's DeVon Edwards single-handedly changed the tenor of Saturday's snoozer at Wallace Wade.

Following a 10-point swing in the third quarter, Edwards put Duke back in the lead with a 100-yard kickoff return. His touchdown matched the second longest in school history. 

Edwards then iced NC State with back-to-back pick-sixes late in the fourth quarter. He snagged Brandon Mitchell's pass and returned 25-yards to give Duke a 31-20 lead with 3:21 left in the game. Edwards then intercepted Pete Thomas and took it to the end zone for what would be the final score of the game.

After the game, Edwards was just happy Duke came away victorious. When informed he might see highlights of his night looped on ESPN, Edwards humbly cracked, "you think so?"

3. Put that coffee down, NC State. Coffee is for teams that muster more that just a field goal out of four turnovers only. 

In consecutive weeks against in-state opponents, the Wolfpack have blown multiple opportunities to grab momentum away because of poor execution, curious play-calling, penalties or straight up bad luck. NC State can't seem to do anything right, including field goals (Sade clanged one off the uprights) and kickoffs (they called a timeout).

The Wolfpack's red zone woes continued, turning two trips into six points. NC State has produced only 10 touchdowns in 28 appearances inside the 20-yard line. Quarterbacks Brandon Mitchell and Pete Thomas rotated drives, but neither one could stay consistent or accurate. Mitchell did throw his first touchdown pass of the season, which bumped NC State's total through the air to five.

4. Remember when North Carolina was embarrassed by East Carolina in Chapel Hill? The Tar Heels were 1-4, defensive coordinator Vic Koennig sounded like a defeated man at wits' end and fans proclaimed the honeymoon with head coach Larry Fedora was over.

Remember when North Carolina lost in gut-wrenching fashion to Miami on a nationally televised Thursday night match-up? The Tar Heels dropped to 1-5 and many wondered if they had to confidence to bounce back.

North Carolina has reeled off wins against Boston College, NC State and now Virginia. Credit goes to Fedora and the players for not throwing in the towel, but the Tar Heels aren't out of the woods yet. They'll need to win two out of their next three games against Pittsburgh, Old Dominion and Duke if they want to make back-to-back bowl appearances. 

5. North Carolina quarterback Marquise Williams had a solid outing in his first start following Bryn Renner's season ending shoulder injury. He threw 185 yards and two touchdowns. Williams added 45 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown.

Where Williams impressed the most won't be found in a highlight or the box score. The junior wore No. 2 on his jersey as a tribute to Renner.


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  • 903 Hook em banned Nov 11, 2013

    View quoted thread

    VA Tech is a bit better than "very average". Did you see what they did to Miami?

  • DEVILS1 Nov 11, 2013


  • Innsbruck Nov 11, 2013

    Fair enough. You seem to be a legitimate fan of Duke football. Have fun with it.

  • DEVILS1 Nov 11, 2013

    That is completey understood, thanks for clearing that up for me. When the other area schools win against the teams on their schedule we all hear about, that is OK; cool, they won and their fans should be happy about it. I definitely do not beat my chest on other stories concerning NC State, ECU or UNC; I post stuff concerning my team and do not care anything about trolling around on others and stirring the pot. I know fans of these schools that beat their chests even when they are losing, they never shut the hell up. DUKE is in the same division as UNC, so this whole schedule stuff is old. When DUKE and UNC meet up at the end of the season, UNC may very well win the game...OK, they won, congrats. I am not going to make excuses, down play the guys on their team I have zero connection with. I am going to support my team and I recognize where they've been, where they are, who they play and haven't played.

  • DEVILS1 Nov 11, 2013

    Being happy to have two winning seasons in the last 23 years is not a problem...except for the NCCU game, DUKE has normally lost to the teams they have beaten this year, would it be better to be sedsed off that they have won? I am not a fair weather fan and looked past football to basketball like many have over the years. I just wanted to see DUKE give a schit about football. It seems that they have and I am happy about it. You mentioned DUKE did not play the old VT, well, they did not play the old DUKE either. That was a good win for DUKE, I understand VT is not FSU or 'Bama, but a very solid football team and to do it in Blacksburg was cool; it sure beat the hell out of losing AGAIN. I am not beating my chest, but I do feel good about the progress they have made. Again, counting this year, there have been two winning seasons and one .500 season, just trying to enjoy it a little.


  • Innsbruck Nov 11, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Here is your whole problem. You guys want to beat your chest about beating a very average team. You weren't playing the old school Hokies. History can't help you even though you seem to be hanging your hat on that.

  • Innsbruck Nov 11, 2013

    Devils1, again, just because Duke is 7-2 doesn't mean they've made a commitment to football. You certainly wouldn't be posting this nor would ovaries had even written the blog had Duke played a tougher ACC and OOC schedule.

    You can only play and beat the teams on your schedule. You need to recognize that as bullet point 1 as to why you are 7-2 and then go from there.

  • Honesty first Nov 11, 2013

    Coach Cut is the hands down coach of the year in the ACC.

    Duke has changed it's ways greatly

    NCSU not so much. Will they win a conference game this year?

  • huxter72 Nov 11, 2013

    View quoted thread

    Jimbo Fisher as COY? Huh? You have a program like Duke who has struggled for years with inadequate facilities, a student body that has really never cared for its football program, a program that has been a prolific loser, and plenty of other reasons the program has been bad. Now, you have a coach that has turned this thing around in a matter of 3-4 yrs. He's beaten VA. Tech, NC State, etc... VS. Florida State. A program with consistent national prominence, tremendous facilities, recruits clamoring to go there, a legendary former coach, everything has been in place for 30+ yrs. Any you're telling me Fisher COY. WOW!

  • aoakley336 Nov 11, 2013

    View quoted thread

    How convenient of you to leave out Va Tech, who UNC lost to.




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