Duke's offense is finally coming alive on Senior Day, though the Blue Devils' continued struggles in the red zone have kept them from taking the lead so far.

Duke is even with Georgia Tech 20-20 at halftime at Wallace Wade Stadium, chipping away at an early 14-3 deficit with the help of one of its most impressive plays of the season from Victor Dimukeje. The true freshman defensive end batted a pass from TaQuon Marshall into the air, caught it and dragged Marshall 26 yards into Yellow Jacket territory with 9:57 left in the half for the Blue Devils' first defensive stop of the afternoon.

Although Duke advanced inside the 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, it could only manage a field goal to trim the the deficit to 14-13. But after Georgia Tech quickly extended its lead with an 81-yard touchdown drive, its extra point was blocked, and the Blue Devils finished a well-executed two-minute drill with a two-yard run from Brittain Brown to tie it up. The touchdown marked the first time since Oct. 7 Duke has scored 20 points in an entire game.

Georgia Tech's first drive appeared to be stalled after two straight runs were stuffed, but on third-and-12 from the Duke 35-yard line, Marshall dropped back and found A-back Qua Searcy open downfield for a 35-yard touchdown pass.

The Blue Devils responded immediately with a 39-yard handoff to Shaun Wilson on their first play and marched into the red zone with the good fortune of a Daniel Jones fumble that popped straight to running back Brittain Brown, but their woes continued once they got close to the goal line.

On second down from the one-yard line, Jones tossed an errant pitch that Wilson had to fall on for a loss of 11 at the 12-yard line. Duke nearly turned it over for the third time of the drive on third-and-goal, when the Yellow Jackets dropped an interception, and Austin Parker salvaged the series with a 30-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils on the board.

Georgia Tech finished another long drive with a touchdown to take a two-possession lead, but the Blue Devils matched that score on the other end this time, as Jones threw a critical 11-yard touchdown pass to Wilson on the right sideline on third-and-8. Jones otherwise had a quiet first half, throwing for just 69 yards.

Here are a few observations from the first half:

  • After avoiding many injuries at all for the first two months of the year, two weeks in a row against the triple option have taken their toll. Linebacker Ben Humphreys has been on crutches on the sidelines after a late injury last week, and Jeremy McDuffie left in the first half after his knee buckled on a non-contact injury. Defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord, also went down, but jogged off the field and returned to the game.
  • Duke is putting more of an emphasis on running the ball offensively so far, and it has paid off, with Brown and Wilson combining for 110 yards on 10 carries.
  • The Yellow Jackets have rushed for 239 yards so far and scored a touchdown on every drive aside from their one turnover.
  • Mike Ramsay blocked Georgia Tech's third extra-point attempt, the second time he has blocked a short kick in as many weeks.