Posted: 1:38 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013
Although Duke lost quarterback Anthony Boone to a broken collarbone, according to WRAL (no information yet on how severe or how long he’ll be out, but it probably won’t be a quick return), there was a lot of good news in the win over Memphis:
First, the defense was very good again, limiting the Tigers to one touchdown. Duke also nearly doubled Memphis in total offense yards, 470 to 237. The offense was also fairly balanced, with a net of 173 rushing and 297 passing.
The Devils also doubled Memphis (more than) in first downs, 25-12.
Just as importantly, Duke dealt with setbacks like a mature team. After a Memphis interception tied the game, Duke didn’t panic. Nor did the Devils lose a lot of ground when Boone went out. Coach Cutcliffe said at halftime that he had confidence in Brandon Connette, who justified it with 14-21 and 199 yards in the air.
Duke also overcame a less than stellar first half by Jamison Crowder.
And like last year, the Devils show signs of being a fourth quarter offense: Duke scored once in the first, once in the third and twice in the fourth after Memphis tied it up and got the home crowd jacked up.
Things get more serious next weekend as the Yellow Jackets come calling, but if Duke can win that one, they have a reasonable shot at opening 7-0. Chances are better with Boone that without, and Duke is periously thin at quarterback now, but still.
Consider where Duke has been and think about that. We never make guarantees or promises about stuff like that, but look at the schedule. It’s not impossible. Think what it would mean to this team to do that.