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Redshirt freshman Zach Baker and the Duke offensive line will have to protect quarterback Daniel ...

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Wake Forest



Duke opens ACC play against Wake Forest Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium, hoping to improve to 2-0 and extend its winning streak against the Demon Deacons to five games. Here are three keys to Saturday's game:

Avoid offensive mistakes

The Demon Deacons left a lot to be desired offensively during their season opener, gaining only 175 total yards. Facing a struggling offense, Duke cannot afford to beat itself, and limiting turnovers would help lead the Blue Devils to victory against Wake Forest. Last week against N.C. Central, Duke had five turnovers and forced just two, giving the Eagles a short field to work with several times. The Blue Devils cannot afford to make the same mistakes Saturday. The Demon Deacon defense will likely keep the game low-scoring, and Wake Forest has proven it can win those types of games. Just a couple turnovers that result in free points for the Demon Deacons could be enough to swing the outcome their way.

Capitalize on defense

Duke and Wake Forest are fairly evenly matched, but if the Blue Devil defense can take advantage of the Demon Deacons' struggling offense, Duke should be able to get quick stops and possibly force Wake Forest to turn the ball over a few times. Middle linebacker Ben Humphreys anchored the defense and won the weekly “captains award” last week because of his fast play-calling, as the Blue Devils held N.C. Central to just six points. With linebackers like Humphreys and redshirt freshman Joe Giles-Harris behind an athletic defensive line, the defense may be able to get to the quarterback against the Demon Deacons and make some big plays.

Offensive line must hold its own

With Duke having to replace a first-team All-ACC offensive lineman, Matt Skura, for the second year in a row, the offensive line has a new look this season with two new starters. Last year’s front five were crucial to the team's success and allowed the third-fewest sacks of any team in the ACC. Without Skura and Lucas Patrick, players like starting center Austin Davis, starting left guard Zach Baker and versatile reserve Zach Harmon will have to step up their games against a formidable Demon Deacon defense to protect Daniel Jones in the pocket and help the redshirt freshman quarterback conduct a winning offense.


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