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Next Up For Duke Football: Pitt

Time: 12:20 pm || Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium || Video: ACC Network

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Florida State v Duke
DURHAM, NC - OCTOBER 14: Adonis Thomas #22 of the Florida State Seminoles tackles Brittain Brown #22 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Wallace Wade Stadium on October 14, 2017 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Duke hosts the Pitt Panthers on Saturday in a Coastal matchup that is of great importance. Duke sits at 4-3 but 5th in the coastal, having lost three straight in conference. Meanwhile Pitt has victories against Youngstown State and Rice but have generally struggled against quality opponents, losing 4 of 5 losses by double digits. Pitt is 6th in the coastal.

Duke must view this game as an opportunity to stop this losing slide and get closer to bowl consideration. The losses to Virginia and FSU were by a touchdown each, so we know this team has the potential. Hopefully this week we see the execution as well. We can be sure Pitt sees this as an opportunity to get their first conference win.

Pitt lost their starting quarterback to a shoulder injury, leaving them with Ben Dinucci, who’s thrown 56% completions for 3 touchdowns and 3 picks this year. Defensively, in the past two games Pitt has given up 446 and 500 yards to NC State and Syracuse respectively, split 50/50 between passing and rushing.

In short, the Panthers are having a down year, and the Blue Devils are favored by about a touchdown, making this a should-win game. Duke is 4-1 this year against sub-.500 teams, and the one loss is Florida State who’s had a crazy year with the hurricanes but is still a quality team, so some cautious optimism is in order. If the Blue Devils can get back on track and get the win, they’ll still have to come up with one more win. There are road opportunities against Virginia Tech, Army, and Wake Forest, and a home date with Georgia Tech. None of those are guarantees, although the best shot is likely going to be at Army. Missing a bowl game, a scenario which we may now have to consider, would be a huge disappointment for this season.

Pitt has not scored over 24 points in any of their games against Power 5 teams this year. If Daniel Jones play like he did against Northwestern ( a 3-3 team that is the best comparison to Pitt of Duke’s previously played games ) we can expect a win. If not, the running game may still be able to carry the Blue Devils to a win. This may be a low-scoring rock fight, or it may turn into a shootout, depending on which version of both teams comes to play.

Here’s picks for the game from Cardiac Hill, where Duke is favored:

Here’s an interesting news story about Pitt’s third string kicker, the only person on the team protesting during the anthem. The article is in-depth and Troost seems to really have grappled with this issue as an intellectual, which is what college is really all about.

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