Halftime: Miami 16, Duke 14

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla.—After playing flat and sluggish in last week’s blowout loss to Pittsburgh, the Blue Devils have showed a sense of urgency Saturday with their postseason hopes on the line.

Duke answered two Miami scores with long touchdown drives and heads into the locker room trailing the Hurricanes 16-14 at Sun Life Stadium. The Hurricanes scored on their first two drives but the Blue Devils immediately responded with touchdowns in what began as an early shootout.

After having little to time throw the ball last week, Daniel Jones found an early rhythm against the Hurricanes. The Charlotte native hit his first 10 passes and has completed 12-of-17 for 137 yards and two touchdowns through 30 minutes. 

He has established an early rapport with sophomore wide receiver T.J. Rahming, who has four receptions for 78 yards.

Although Duke found success through the air, junior running back Shaun Wilson has helped keep Miami’s defense off-balance with 42 yards on the ground. Jones has also added 15 rushing yards.

Miami struck first on its first drive with a 47-yard field goal by Michael Badgley before the Blue Devils quickly answered with a nine-play, 72-yard drive. Jones then took what the Miami defense gave him, completing his first five passes—the last of which was a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd.

After the Hurricanes regained their lead with a 30-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brad Kaaya to Mark Walton, Duke went back to work. Jones found Rahming on a bubble screen for 41 yards before hitting wide receiver Aaron Young for a 13-yard touchdown on an in-route.

Later in the second quarter, Duke’s offense slowed down, failing to register points on its last two drives. The Blue Devils crossed midfield on their final drive before the half, but were stopped on fourth down when Jones was sacked.

Miami then turned the stop into points on its ensuing drive, capping off a 42-yard drive with Badgley's third field goal. 

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Freshman cornerback Mark Gilbert has held firm against one of the best wide receivers in the country. Gilbert faced Stacey Coley throughout much of the first half and surrendered just four completions and 22 yards.
  • The Hurricanes—who rank fifth in the country in tackles for loss—began to penetrate Duke’s offensive front toward the end of the half. After a strong start by the Blue Devil offensive line, Duke surrendered two sacks and three tackles for loss. 
  • With little time to throw, Jones has not been able to look downfield much, doing most of his damage on short and intermediate routes.
  • Redshirt junior cornerback Bryon Fields went down with an injury in the first half and did not return. Jeremy McDuffie took over opposite Gilbert—in for the injured Breon Borders—but the Blue Devils managed to keep Miami out of the end zone on four of its five possessions.


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