Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: DUK -5.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Duke Blue Devils fell to 2-3 last week with a loss to Virginia, but Duke may be able to get back on track and right the ship against Army this week. College football oddsmakers concur, listing the Blue Devils as 5.5 point favorites for the game.
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Duke has been something of a mystery this year, but its lone significant win over Notre Dame should inspire some hope, notwithstanding that the Irish have struggled badly this season. Duke won 38-35 over Notre Dame in Week 4, getting the go-ahead field goal from A.J. Reed with 84 seconds to go in regulation.
Quarterback Daniel Jones had a nice week throwing the ball with 24 of 32 landing complete and three TDs (with one pick). Jela Duncan rushed for 121 yards and a TD, while it was Anthony Nash doing the damage on routes, with 123 yards on six catches. It was an all-around dominant performance by Duke offensively, and just enough defense to get by its lone tough opponent thus far.
Of note, Duncan is nursing an ankle injury, but is expected to play. Duke will need it…
Jones, for his part, has looked good for a freshman. The 6’5” quarterback from local Charlotte has thrown 63.5 percent for completion, but clearly needs to cut down on the picks with eight already through just five games. The fact that five of them came in last week’s game against Virginia is telling enough though: Jones threw 54 passes in the game and completed 61 percent of them.
It does not excuse five (!) INTs in a single football game, but Duke certainly could rely on Duncan a bit more to relieve some of the pressure from its inexperienced QB.
Even so, he has thrown for over 300 yards twice already and his standout performance against the Irish is enough to indicate he has the skills to bring Duke back to relevancy sooner than later.
Army began the season 3-0 with wins over Temple, Rice and UTEP, but it fell 23-20 to Buffalo last week. The toughest game of the season will be the finale against Navy, and Army can still put together a strong season even after falling to Buffalo.
Its first three wins all came in decisive fashion, and Army’s defense will keep it in games. They have given up just 16 points per contest, which ranks the team No. 13 in the nation. Meanwhile, the offense has not slagged, producing 36.3 points per game and ranking tied for No. 44 in the nation. It is mainly because, as usual, Army can flat out pound the football on the ground.
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The Knights get five backs in on the action, while also getting significant rushing from its QB Ahmad Bradshaw. Andy Davidson leads the team in yardage (414) and touchdowns (six), but four of Army’s top-six rushers have gone for five yards or better per carry, with Jordan Asberry, Chris Carter and Tyler Campbell all being good for seven-plus.
While Army has not a single receiver with more than four catches, and only one passing TD, its rush game is strong enough to keep them in the game with Duke. While the Blue Devils are still 5.5 point favorites and at home, this game should be a nail-biter and come down to the wire. It will be worth tuning into for those who can pick up the locally-broadcasted game.
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