Joe Giles-Harris followed up his breakout performance last week with a team-leading 15 tackles, a ...

Duke football player of the week: Week 2

Joe Giles-Harris

Statline: 11 solo tackles, four assisted tackles, one fumble recovery and one interception

The good: Redshirt freshman Joe Giles-Harris had a total of 15 tackles in the Blue Devils’ 24-14 loss against Wake Forest. The weak-side linebacker coupled his 15 tackles with one fumble recovery during the second quarter after redshirt senior DeVon Edwards sacked quarterback John Wolford from behind to knock the ball loose. Giles-Harris returned the fumble for seven yards to give Duke great field position at the Wake Forest 28-yard line, but the Blue Devil offense could not capitalize.

At 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Giles-Harris is proving to be a force to be reckoned with and a reliable player. The Nyack, N.Y., native was consistently Duke's top defensive performer all game, adding an interception of Kendall Hinton in the fourth quarter to wrap up an impressive day.

The bad: With a total of 37 rushing yards, Duke did not put themselves in a position to capitalize on good field position it received from numerous defensive stops. The Blue Devils were crushed in the running game by Wake Forest’s 239 rushing yards, allowing freshman running Cade Carney to explode for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Although Giles-Harris had a strong defensive game, the rest of the defense did not offer much help in the run game aside from Edwards—who had 13 tackles and two sacks—and sophomore linebacker Ben Humphreys, who finished with nine tackles.

The bottom line: Giles-Harris has been a formidable presence for Duke's defense through two weeks, but cannot do much without the support of his other defenders or any production from his offense. There is only so much that Giles-Harris can do to help win the game—it is the offense's job to put points on the board. An incredible defensive game can only put the offense in a position to win.

Honorable mention: Although the offense left a lot to be desired, Daniel Jones threw for 332 yards and ran for two touchdowns. The Charlotte native committed three costly turnovers, but he accounted for Duke's only points of the game and continues to show growth as a redshirt freshman starting quarterback.

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