2014 Duke Blue Devils Team Preview

Team Info
Duke Blue Devils
Head Coach: David Cutcliffe
2013 Record: 10-4 overall, 6-2 ACC Coastal
2013 Bowl Result: Lost to Texas A&M 52-48 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl
2014 Returning Starters: 8 offense, 6 defense

Betting Info
Odds to win 2015 College Football Championship: Field 30/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Championship Game: 20/1
Odds to win 2014 ACC Coastal Division: 6/1
Regular Season Wins: under 8.5 -150 / over 8.5 +120 over
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Duke looks to repeat as ACC Coastal Champions after a surprising 10 win season in 2013.

Duke looks to repeat as ACC Coastal Champions after a surprising 10 win season in 2013.


Last season, the Duke Blue Devils had arguably the best season school history, at least in many years. The school is of course most known for their successful basketball program, and football has mainly been an after thought at best.

Duke won 10 games in 2013 and won the ACC Coastal Division. Duke lost their first two ACC games to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh but then won 8 straight games. Sure the Blue Devils were crushed 45-7 in the ACC Championship game by eventual national champion Florida State, but just getting there was an accomplishment.  Duke lost their first two ACC games to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh but then won 8 straight games. The Blue Devils took a 28-17 lead at halftime in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M. However, the Aggies would win a wild shootout 52-48.

Fourteen starters are back for Cutcliffe, but most betting experts seem to think last year was a fluke as Duke is the fourth choice in the Coastal Division behind North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech.

Offense

Duke averaged 248 passing yards and 148 rushing yards last year. The Blue Devils scored 33 points a game. Eight starters return for coordinator Scottie Montgomery’s offense.

Quarterback Anthony Boone returns after completing 64% of his passes for 2,260 yards with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he also rushed for 214 yards on 66 carries with 5 touchdowns. Brandon Connette took a little more than a third of the snaps in 2013. He threw for 1,212 yards with 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and also rushed for 337 yards with 14 touchdowns. Connette announced plans to transfer to a school in California to be near his mother who was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Josh Snead was the leading rusher last year with 107 carries for 651 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with a touchdown catch. He returns as does Shaquille Powell who had 62 carries for 344 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 8 catches and a touchdown. The running backs must replace Jela Duncan (113 carries for 562 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 13 catches and a touchdown) and Juwan Thompson (64 carries, 348 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches.) Duncan was dismissed from the team and Thompson is now with the Denver Broncos. Connette also had 101 carries.

Receiver Jamison Crowder could have gone to the NFL but returns after making 108 catches for 1,360 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus he also had a rushing touchdown.  Tight end Braxton Deaver is also back after making 46 catches for 600 yards and 4 touchdowns. Max McCaffrey and Isaac Blakeney each caught four touchdowns last year.

The offensive line must replace two starters and only gave up 17 sacks last year. Still, left tackle Takoby Cofield, right guard Laken Tomlinson and center Matt Skura — all return.

Defense

Duke allowed 418 yards per game on defense and 27 points per game. Six starters are back for coordinators Jim Collins and Jim Knowles. Duke made enough stops when they had to mainly due to forcing 26 turnovers including 18 interceptions.

Jamal Bruce returns at tackle on the line, but he is the only starter that is back. The line had a ton of potential but didn’t live up to expectations last year.

Duke returns both starters at linebacker with David Helton and Kelby Brown.

The secondary must replace All-ACC corner Ross Cockrell. The unit should be the strength of the defense led by safety Jeremy Cash. Redshirt freshman Evrett Edwards has potential.

Special Teams

Duke’s special teams might be the best in the ACC. Kicker Ross Martin, punter Will Monday punt returner Crowder and kick returner DeVon Edwards could all be All-ACC performers if everything works out. Martin made 13 of 19 field goals. Monday averaged 42.7 yards per punt with 21 inside the 20. Crowder and Edwards each had 2 returns for touchdowns.

Schedule / Outlook

Duke has home non-conference games against Elon, Kansas and Tulane, and a road game at Troy. In the ACC, Duke travels to Miami, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. The Blue Devils have home games against Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Road games against Miami and Georgia Tech be tough as will back to back home games against Virginia Tech and North Carolina. I think Duke wins 7 games and goes to a bowl game.

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Posted by on Aug 6 2014. Filed under College Football, Headlines. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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