We thought Duke had a solid shot at beating Miami, but 45-21? In the immortal words of Coach K: C’mon, man.
Well, they did, and forced eight turnovers against the Hurricanes, including five fumbles.
Duke took a 17-7 lead into halftime but the ‘Canes roared back, scoring 14 in the third quarter to go up 21-17 before Duke took final control. The Blue Devils scored a touchdown in the third and then three more in the fourth to stake a 45-21 lead they held until the end.
It wasn’t a perfect game, and Miami of now is not the Miami of old, but so what? Duke is 5-3 under Mike Elko and just one game from bowl eligibility. Moreover, they are showing a kind of toughness that is hard to overlook. Whatever Elko has done behind the scenes, it’s working.
As for Miami, new coach Mario Cristobal is getting a lot of heat for the loss and the fact that, well, Duke did it. Miami is not the Miami of old but it is still Miami. There are expectations.
The flip side of that of course is that Duke is not the Duke of 20 years ago. David Cutcliffe showed you could build a viable football culture in Durham and Elko is building on that. The future looks bright.
Next up is a trip to Boston College and a chance to secure bowl eligibility.
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