Duke hosts Miami at 7 pm Eastern on Friday. The Blue Devils are sitting pretty at 4-0, while Miami is coming in at 2-0. I’m sure we all remember Duke’s victory over UNC last week. Miami is coming off a 52-30 win over Toledo. Duke’s schedule has included three power five teams, while Miami has only faced Bethune-Cookman and the aforementioned Toledo.
Duke is coming into this game with twice as much game experience (and hopefully twice as much confidence). This is shown in that Miami has 16 penalties through two games.
The story with Miami is the same as every year: they’ve got the talent but apparently are underperforming, specifically this year in coverage.
If Daniel Jones continues to improve through the season, as he has done the past two years, he may be able to take advantage of this weakness. He has shown competency in throwing the deep ball, and he can run some read option to keep the front seven honest.
However, the Duke offense hasn’t played explosively in ACC play, which means Duke may hope to avoid a shootout by capitalizing on Hurricane mistakes, forcing turnovers, and dominating time of possession. The Duke defense was the first to pick off Chazz Surratt this year, which means they’re capable of facing down any talented quarterback. I don’t believe Miami has quite the talent edge that people likely assume.
People still think of Duke football as a team of underdogs getting by purely on heart and good coaching. Although those two elements are a factor, Duke’s got talent on the ball. The narrative should no longer be that Miami has superior talent. This game will be decided based on which team executes better.
Note 1: Austin Parker has made several timely field goals this year, including one from 45 yards, and has shown an ability to shrug off misses and recover when it counts. His punting has also been reliable, and Duke has covered well on kickoffs. If the game is close late, I trust our kicking. This is a good thing to be able to say after last year’s struggles on special teams.
Note 2: Hopefully the Return was such an improbable cluster of poor officiating and luck that it can never happen again. Because that sucked.
Ben Swain did a Q&A with State of the U here:
Here’s another only-sort-of-biased piece from State of the U.
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