Duke football player of the week: Week 4

Duke football player of the week: Week 4

Daniel Jones

Statline: 24-for-32, 290 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, one interception.

The good: Redshirt freshman Daniel Jones led the Blue Devils to a comeback win in one of the most hostile environments in all of college football to pull off a 38-35 upset against Notre Dame. After delivering solid performances the past few weeks, the Charlotte native had the game of his young career, as he showed a level of poise and mastery of the offense beyond his years. Jones entered the game leading all FBS freshmen in passing yards, total offense and completions, and he came out of it with a more solidified position on the top of those statistical leaderboards. Read more »

Around the ACC: Week 4

In a weekend that saw ACC teams go 8-0 against nonconference opponents, The Blue Zone breaks down the performances of the ACC's 12 teams in action.

Duke 38, Notre Dame 35

Duke (2-2) rode into South Bend, Ind., as a 20-point underdog, prepared to play against one of the most storied programs in college football in front of its sold-out home crowd of 80,000 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Blue Devils came home with a shocking victory, as quarterback Daniel Jones threw for three touchdowns and freshman kicker A.J. Reed, who had missed his first three college field-goal attempts, kicked the game-winner through the uprights to seal the deal. Duke rallied from an early 14-point deficit and a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to snap its two-game losing streak.

North Carolina 37, Pittsburgh 36 Read more »

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 4

Four showdowns between ranked teams in Week 4 started to create some separation at the top of the major conferences.

Wisconsin makes B1G statement 

Although they came away with a victory against then-No.5 LSU in the first week of the season, the Badgers entered their contest against Michigan State looking to make a statement to prove that the upset of the Tigers was no fluke. They did that and more with a dominant 30-6 victory on the road that catapulted the team to No. 8 in this week's rankings. Wisconsin's defense forced four turnovers and will face an even tougher challenge next week on the road against No. 4 Michigan. The Spartans suffered their first loss of the season and tumbled from No. 8 to No. 17.

SEC picture begins to emerge  Read more »

Chronicle postgame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Chronicle postgame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Following Duke's 38-35 upset win at Notre Dame, The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar breaks down the Blue Devils' comeback. After falling behind 14-0 in the game's first 6:03 and losing redshirt senior safety and captain DeVon Edwards to a knee injury, Duke rallied to play its best football of the season and stun 80,000 fans in South Bend, Ind.

The Blue Devil offense finished with 498 yards of offense thanks to standout performances across the board, and true freshman A.J. Reed's first career made field goal with 1:27 sent Duke to a win it desperately needed.

Extra point: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Extra point: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Duke picked up one its biggest wins in program history Saturday afternoon, shocking Notre Dame 38-35 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind. The Blue Devils overcame an early 14-point deficit and a possible season-ending injury to one of their leaders in the first quarter to snap a two-game losing streak and return to .500 at 2-2. 

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Get on the board early: After a slow start that saw redshirt senior safety DeVon Edwards exit with a knee injury and the Blue Devils fall behind 14-0, they exploded for 28 points in the first half. Duke found a rhythm offensively, gashing Notre Dame both on the ground and in the air. Although the Blue Devil offense cooled off in the third quarter, Duke scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win the game.
  • Limit big plays by Notre Dame’s offense: Duke struggled to prevent explosive plays in the passing game—the Fighting Irish averaged 17.3 yards per completion. But the Blue Devils slowed down Notre Dame’s running attack, surrendering 4.1 yards per carry and just one run that went for more than 20 yards, and got stops in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.
  • Stop the mistakes: Unlike in its previous meetings with Wake Forest and Northwestern, Duke was consistent on both sides of ball. After committing 10 turnovers in their first three games, the Blue Devils lost the ball just once on an interception and were whistled for only one penalty, which backed them up five yards. 

Three key plays:

  • 8:44 remaining, first quarter: After Edwards got hurt and the Fighting Irish took a 14-0 lead, Duke quickly responded when junior running back Shaun Wilson returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, using a juke move to dodge a would-be tackler and outrunning Notre Dame's coverage the rest of the way. The return shifted the game’s momentum, as the Blue Devils then stopped the Fighting Irish and knotted the game at 14-14 on their following drive.
  • 6:47 remaining, fourth quarter: Notre Dame began to regain control of the game when they took a 35-28 lead with 7:46 to play. But Duke rebounded once again with a three-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 64-yard touchdown reception by redshirt senior wide receiver Anthony Nash, who sprinted down the left sideline for his second touchdown of the day after catching a short pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Daniel Jones.
  • 1:24 remaining, fourth quarter: Following an interception by senior cornerback Breon Borders, the Blue Devils drove down the field and took an 38-35 lead with a 19-yard field goal by A.J. Reed, the first made field goal of the true freshman's career. Duke’s defense then forced a turnover on downs on the Fighting Irish's ensuing drive to clinch the win.

Three keys stats: Read more »

Making the grade: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Making the grade: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Duke snapped a two-game losing streak and shocked the college football world Saturday with a 38-35 victory against Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium. The Blue Devils delivered their most consistent performance in every phase of the game and scored the last 10 points of the contest in the fourth quarter to improve to 2-2.

Offense: A

Pass: After struggling to find a rhythm against Wake Forest and Northwestern, quarterback Daniel Jones had the best outing of his career Saturday. The redshirt freshman threw for 290 yards with an efficient 24-for-32 performance. Perhaps the key to his game was Jones' ability to throw the deep ball with accuracy. All three of his touchdowns came on passes of 25 yards or longer, including a 64-yard completion to Anthony Nash to tie the game at 35 late in the fourth quarter. Head coach David Cutcliffe has been waiting on Jones to make some big plays during the early part of the season, and after three weeks, Jones finally delivered a complete performance for the Blue Devils.

Rush: Duke’s efficiency in the passing game dramatically opened up the running game. For the first time since the Blue Devils’ crushing defeat of NC Central, Jela Duncan and the Duke offense rushed for more than 200 yards in a very efficient performance. Following back-to-back games when Jones threw 48 passes, Cutcliffe and offensive coordinator Zac Roper made a wise decision to rely more on their veterans in the running game against Notre Dame. Redshirt senior Jela Duncan and junior Shaun Wilson each averaged more than five yards per carry en route to season-high games of 121 and 66 yards, respectively, against a struggling Notre Dame defense.

X’s and O’s: Notre Dame’s defensive woes continued this week as the preseason top-10 Fighting Irish suffered their third loss in four games. Although Notre Dame has put up at least 28 points in each of its first four games, the Fighting Irish allowed at least 35 points in three of them, and Duke did a good job of exploiting their weaknesses in the secondary. Read more »

HALFTIME: Duke 28, Notre Dame 21

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Saturday's game could not have started much worse for Duke.

The Blue Devils (1-2) allowed Notre Dame to march down the field on its first two possessions, and redshirt senior safety DeVon Edwards suffered a leg injury on Duke's first kickoff return. After a 44-yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Kevin Stepherson put the Fighting Irish up 14-0 with 8:57 left in the first quarter, it looked like the Blue Devils were on the verge of getting blown out.

But with one nifty juke to elude a Notre Dame defender, running back Shaun Wilson got Duke back in the game. 

Wilson took the kickoff following Stepherson's touchdown 96 yards for a touchdown to cut the deficit in half, then the Blue Devils elevated their play for the rest of the half to go into the locker room leading a  28-21 shootout Saturday afternoon at Notre Dame Stadium. Duke's offense found its rhythm, with quarterback Daniel Jones going 13-of-15 for 147 yards and two long touchdowns to spark an efficient Blue Devil attack in what turned into a back-and-forth shootout. Read more »

New Orleans Pelicans sign former Duke guard Quinn Cook

New Orleans Pelicans sign former Duke guard Quinn Cook

Quinn Cook has waited for his chance to make an NBA regular season roster, and now the 2015 national champion will get his chance.

The New Orleans Pelicans announced Saturday afternoon that they have signed the former Duke guard and team captain on the 2014-15 championship team. The 6-foot-2 guard was the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year last year with the Canton Charge, averaging 19.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. Cook was also named a third-team All-NBA D-League performer.

With the signing, New Orleans now has 20 players on its roster, with the Pelicans allowed to keep a maximum of 15 before their season opener next month.

New Orleans used its first-round draft pick in June on Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield, and the Pelicans have also invested in guards Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Lance Stephenson. Cook will likely be competing with Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier, E'Twaun Moore and Quincy Pondexter for a roster spot. Read more »

Chronicle pregame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Chronicle pregame: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Sameer Pandhare get you set for Duke's Saturday tilt at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. Both teams are 1-2, but the Fighting Irish have one of the most lethal quarterbacks in the country in DeShone Kizer and are heavy favorites to knock off the Blue Devils. We explain why Duke's remaining nine games could be some of the most important in program history as a team on the rise tries to avoid taking a major step back. 

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Notre Dame

Saturday afternoon’s showcase between Duke and Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., features a battle of under-performing teams. Although both are worse than .500 at 1-2, the season’s outlook for each team varies greatly. The Fighting Irish, who were ranked as highly as No. 10 this season, has little hope of a playoff bid, but a bowl game is still well within reach. The Blue Devils, conversely, are projected to finish with three wins on the year – a big step down from last year’s victory against Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl. Here are three keys for Duke if it wants to right the ship against a superior opponent:

Get on the board early

It’s no secret that Notre Dame is expected to win this game. In what will be the biggest challenge for Duke’s defense so far, it would serve the Blue Devils well to get on the board early to relieve some pressure. After an offensive explosion in Week 1 against N.C. Central, reality has quickly—and noticeably—set in for Duke. Moving the ball down the field is not the problem—the Blue Devils have at least 350 yards of offense in all three contests to date. The problem is their inability to capitalize on big plays or turnovers forced by the defense, which is reflected in low score totals against Wake Forest and Northwestern. Faced with by far their strongest opponent yet, a lead going into the second quarter, or perhaps even halftime, could provide the momentum necessary for an upset.

Limit big plays by Notre Dame offense

As Duke’s offense stagnates, the Fighting Irish continue to produce. They have amassed 114 points through three games, an impressive tally considering two of those games were against ranked opponents. With 13 total touchdowns so far this season, redshirt sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer has gone from a backup to a Heisman contender in just one year. He is the architect behind a Notre Dame offense averaging 430 yards per game and has the talent to influence the outcome of a game with a single play. 

Big plays have hurt Duke’s defense, leading both Wake Forest and Northwestern to outgain the Blue Devils. Demon Deacon true freshman running back Cade Carney broke loose for a 55-yard touchdown run two weeks ago, and quarterback Clayton Thorson threw three long touchdown passes last Saturday. For Duke to stay competitive Saturday, they will need to contain Kizer and Notre Dame’s array of playmakers. Read more »