Chron Chat: Breaking down Duke football's 3-4 start

Chron Chat: Breaking down Duke football's 3-4 start

The Chronicle's football beat writers Amrith Ramkumar, Sam Turken, Brian Mazur and Ben Feder took a step back during the Blue Devils' bye week to analyze Duke's up-and-down season so far. Although the Blue Devils are just 0-3 in the ACC with disappointing losses against Wake Forest and Virginia, they notched a major nonconference upset at Notre Dame Sept. 24 and stayed competitive at No. 7 Louisville Friday night. 

Duke returns to the field next Saturday at noon on the road against Georgia Tech, looking to make a late-season run to a potential fifth straight bowl appearance.

Duke in the NFL: Weeks 5 and 6

Duke in the NFL: Weeks 5 and 6

Four of Duke’s five players on NFL rosters have continued to see consistent playing time as the season progresses. The Blue Zone takes a look at how all of the former Blue Devils fared in Weeks 5 and 6.

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

After a strong start to the season, Crowder seems to be coming back down to earth offensively. His targets have dipped recently, with quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing the ball to Crowder only 10 times in the past three weeks compared to 25 targets in the first three. In a Week 5 win against the Baltimore Ravens, Crowder caught all three of his targets for 35 yards. The 5-foot-8 wideout failed to capitalize against a Baltimore secondary depleted by injuries, but made his presence felt on special teams when he returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown.  Read more »

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar goes on the Krazie Times podcast to discuss Duke's 2016-17 team

The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar goes on the Krazie Times podcast to discuss Duke's 2016-17 team

Ahead of Countdown to Craziness Saturday, The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar was a guest on the new Krazie Times Podcast, which was created by three of Duke's line monitors to discuss what it's like being a Duke fan. On this week's episode, they brought Ramkumar in to break down this year's Blue Devil team. Check out the conversation starting at about 22:00 below: 

Stock Watch: Duke men's basketball rakes in preseason accolades

Stock Watch: Duke men's basketball rakes in preseason accolades

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has rung again, meaning it's time to take a look at who is rising and falling with their performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week, the Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the world of Duke athletics.

Bull Market—Trending Up

Duke on preseason men's basketball watch lists: With the start of the regular season about three weeks away, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has started announcing 20 players to watch at each position for its annual awards. So far, the watch lists for point guards and shooting guards have been revealed, and freshman Frank Jackson made the list for the Bob Cousy Award—which goes to the nation's top point guard—and junior Grayson Allen made the Jerry West Award watch list with several of the nation's best shooting guards.

With watch lists for the remaining three positions left to come and forwards Jayson Tatum, Harry Giles, Amile Jefferson and Marques Bolden among the most talented players in the country, the Blue Devils will likely have several more honorees in the coming days. Read more »

This week in Duke history: Football construction on East Campus

This week in Duke history: Football construction on East Campus

Duke football is nearing the end of a period of construction projects that have included more seats, a new press box and a 3,175 square-foot scoreboard.

A lot of that can be taken for granted, and one needs only to go back 92 years for some context.

Before Duke played started playing football at Wallace Wade Stadium in 1929, the Blue Devils played on East Campus at Hanes Field. Hanes Field was also home to the baseball team and was located near present-day Baldwin Auditorium.

It also was the first home of the Durham Bulls, before they moved to El Toro Park in 1926. Read more »

Duke in the MLB: Blue Jays on brink of elimination after Stroman struggles

In a must-win game for the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series, former Blue Devil Marcus Stroman could not stop the bleeding against the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians topped the Blue Jays 4-2 Monday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, a deficit only one team has overcome in 35 tries in playoff history. Stroman threw 94 pitches in 5 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on three walks and three hits—two of which were home runs—to the potent Cleveland offense.

With the score tied at two in the top of the sixth, Stroman surrendered a leadoff home run to Jason Kipnis to put the Indians in front for good. Toronto manager John Gibbons replaced Stroman with Joe Biagini after his young right-hander issued a one-out walk to Mike Napoli, and Stroman was charged with his fourth earned run when Napoli came around to score.

The Blue Jays' postseason run started with Stroman on the mound in the American League wild-card game, when the Medford, N.Y., native delivered a quality start before his team won in dramatic fashion in the 11th inning. Toronto then swept the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series to get to four postseason wins in a row, but the Blue Jays will now need to beat Cleveland four straight times to keep their season alive and advance to the World Series. Read more »

Thoughts on the AP poll: Week 7

In a week that featured two games between top-10 opponents, there were few surprises, resulting in little change at the top of the rankings.

Lamar Jackson is unimpressive against Duke

Although Heisman frontrunner Lamar Jackson and Louisville were heavily favored in their matchup with the Blue Devils Friday night, the game came down to a late roughing the kicker penalty on Breon Borders, negating a missed field goal by Louisville kicker Evan O'Hara with two minutes remaining. As a result, the Cardinals were granted an automatic first down and eventually scored a touchdown to take a 24-14 lead. Jackson only recorded one passing and one running touchdown, tallying 325 total yards. Louisville's defense was strong, only allowing 129 passing yards and 110 rushing yards to the Blue Devils, but Duke stayed in the game by controlling time of possession and converting 8 of 16 third-down opportunities. The Cardinals remained at No. 7 this week.

Clemson narrowly avoids an upset against N.C. State Read more »

Around the ACC: Week 7

Week 7 featured six ACC matchups and one nonconference game, many of which were close contests. The Blue Zone takes a look at how the 13 ACC teams in action fared.

No. 7 Louisville 24, Duke 14

In a game in which head coach Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals were expected to coast to a victory, the Blue Devils (3-4, 0-3 in the ACC) controlled the pace of the game to keep Louisville's offense off the field and stayed in the game until the final minutes. Down 17-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones led the Duke offense on a methodical, nearly nine-minute drive down the field which culminated in an impressive 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd. With Louisivlle (5-1, 3-1) in front by just three and more than six minutes remaining, Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals were in legitimate danger of a shocking upset. 

The Blue Devil defense originally kept Louisville’s offense out of the end zone on the Cardinals’ final drive, setting kicker Evan O’Hara up for a 46-yard field goal attempt. The attempt was no good, but a controversial roughing the kicker call on Breon Borders gave Louisville an automatic first down. The Cardinals capitalized on the second chance with a rushing touchdown by Jackson to put the game out of reach. Despite the loss, Duke’s defensive unit did an excellent job of slowing Jackson down. In his first five games of the season, he was averaging 462 total yards and 5.6 touchdowns. In Friday’s game, Jackson was held to just 325 all-purpose yards to go with two touchdowns. Read more »

Duke football player of the week: Week 7

Duke football player of the week: Week 7

Daniel Jones

Statline: 14-for-21 passing, 129 passing yards, two passing touchdowns.

The good: As a redshirt freshman going head to head with Heisman frontrunner quarterback Lamar Jackson, Jones delivered an impressive, poised performance. Although Jones’ stat line does not jump off the page, that was a product of head coach David Cutcliffe’s game plan, which called for long drives to keep No. 7 Louisville’s vaunted offense off the field. The 6-foot-5 quarterback was impressive on third down on the road, leading the Blue Devils to convert 8 of 16 third-down opportunities to keep drives alive and control time of possession, and he did not throw an interception for the second straight week.

But perhaps the most impressive part of Jones’ performance was his ability to find an answer to strong Cardinal drives. After a game-opening touchdown drive by Louisville, the Charlotte native engineered a touchdown drive of his own, finding tight end Erich Schneider to tie the game up early. Then, with his team down 17-7 in the fourth quarter, Jones commanded nearly a nine-minute drive that culminated in a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jonathan Lloyd to bring the game to one score, keeping Duke in the game for a potential upset victory. Read more »

Making the grade: Duke football vs. Louisville

Making the grade: Duke football vs. Louisville

Duke put a scare in No. 7 Louisville on the road Friday night, losing 24-14 in a game the Blue Devils had a chance to win until a costly roughing the kicker penalty with two minutes remaining. Duke's offense dominated time of possession to shorten the game and keep Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals' offense off the field, a formula that nearly produced a monumental upset.

Offense: B

Pass: Quarterback Daniel Jones continued to make smart passes and maintain possession of the ball after being intercepted five times two weeks ago against Virginia. Jones’ efficient 14-for-21 passing performance marked the fifth time he completed more than 60 percent of his passes this season. Although Jones’ 129 passing yards were far below his season average of 226.2 yards per contest, he was able to control the Blue Devils' offense and keep them in a game Duke entered as a five-touchdown underdog. Jones also threw for two touchdowns Friday, with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd cutting Louisville's lead to just three points with 6:34 to play in the fourth quarter, keeping the Blue Devils in contention through the final possession.

Rush: With running back Jela Duncan back in the mix after missing time during the last two games due to injury, Duke was able to use the running game effectively on early downs in order to set Jones up with shorter third down situations. Duncan and backup running back Shaun Wilson carried the load for the Blue Devils, gaining 81 yards on 30 carries Friday. Those two- and three-yard pickups on early downs were key to Duke’s ability to convert 8-of-16 third-down opportunities. The Blue Devils also picked up a crucial first down on a three-yard sneak by backup quarterback Parker Boehme on fourth-and-one at the Duke 34-yard line. That run kept the fourth-quarter drive alive, and the Blue Devils scored a few plays later to trim the Cardinals' lead to 17-14.

X’s and O’s: Although Duke was outgained 469-239, the Blue Devils' success Friday resulted from their ability to control the pace of the game. Duke held the ball for more than 37 minutes, versus just 22 minutes for Louisville, and its ability to move the ball and milk clock with a steady diet of screen passes and short runs took its toll on the Cardinals’ defense late in the game, as the Blue Devils gave Louisville all it could handle on the road. Read more »