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Daniel Jones will look to attack Baylor's secondary. 

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Baylor



Duke and quarterback Daniel Jones will look to build on a strong 2-0 start to the season as they host Baylor Saturday afternoon. Baylor is hungry for a win after back-to-back shocking losses to Liberty and University of Texas at San Antonio. Here are the three keys to the game:

Pounce on Zach Smith

Saturday afternoon marks an opportunity for a surging Duke defensive to wreak havoc on a vulnerable Bears team searching for answers. The Bears will pair a new starting quarterback with a porous offensive line in what should be a favorable matchup for Victor Dimukeje and the Duke defensive line. With dual-threat quarterback Anu Solomon out, the Bears will call on sophomore quarterback Zach Smith to try to change the course of what has been a catastrophe of a season for first year head coach Matt Rhule thus far. It will be crucial for Duke to test Smith, who could fit better in Rhule’s pro-style system, by taking advantage of the battle up front. The Blue Devils dropped Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson four times last week, and will look to disrupt Smith against an offensive line that surrendered four sacks to UTSA. 

Attack the Bears' secondary

Redshirt sophomore Daniel Jones has already accounted for seven touchdowns this year, four of which came last week against Northwestern. Jones was effective both on the ground and through the air, rushing for over 100 yards and throwing for 305 yards. The redshirt sophomore quarterback, who is known for his impeccable decision-making, is looking to exploit a Baylor secondary that has not picked off a pass this season—Jones will likely look to No. 1 receiver TJ Rahming early and often. Duke’s secondary has been exploited in recent years by teams with explosive receivers like the Bears’ Chris Platt, so Jones might need to put up another big day for the Blue Devils to win comfortably. 

Don’t sleep on Baylor

For a Baylor program that has gone to seven straight bowl games, including a Cotton Bowl just three years ago, the last two weeks have been a nightmare. Baylor gifted both UTSA and Liberty their first ever Power Five football wins, quickly leaving Rhule in a deep hole. That being said, it is imperative that the Blue Devils do not take the Bears lightly in what has the potential to be a trap game. Head coach David Cutcliffe and Duke must recognize that Smith is the same quarterback who led the Bears to a 31-12 Cactus Bowl victory against Boise State just nine months ago, capping off a 2016 season in which Baylor finished ninth in the nation in total yards. The Blue Devils must stay level-headed and composed as they take on an unusual role of being favored in a game versus a Big-12 opponent.


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