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Daniel Jones will need to bounce back through the air against Miami.

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Miami



After a thrilling 27-17 victory over rival North Carolina, Duke will return home to Wallace Wade Stadium to play its biggest test thus far in No.14 Miami. The Hurricanes will look to continue their perfect season and claim their first conference victory. Here are three keys to Friday night's contest: 

Stop Mark Walton

The Blue Devils have one of the stingiest run defenses in the country, yielding only 261 yards on 112 carries over their first four contests. Although they have shut down some elusive running backs and versatile quarterbacks, including Northwestern’s Justin Jackson and North Carolina’s Chaz Surratt, Duke has yet to face star power of the likes of Mark Walton. 

The 205-pound junior has amassed 352 yards over two games, averaging an unreal 13-yards-per-carry. He has the led the Hurricanes’ offense to a top-10 rushing offense at 288 yards-per-game and a top-10 scoring offense at 46.5 points-per-game, albeit against lower-tier competiton.  Duke’s dynamic linebacker duo of Ben Humphreys, who is recovering from a leg injury following a chop block in the Tar Heels game, and Joe Giles-Harris will have to step up to prevent Walton from breaking off long runs deep into the secondary. 

Prevent big plays

Although the Duke defense has been stellar this season—boasting the No. 1 defensive efficiency and ranking in the top-25 in total defense—it has been susceptible to giving big gains for touchdowns. The Blue Devils yielded an 81-yard rushing touchdown against NC Central, gave up two 70+ yard passing touchdowns against Baylor and allowed two scoring plays of 40 yards or more against UNC. Facing an explosive Miami offense, Duke will need to hunker down and focus on preventing these back-breaking plays. The last thing the Blue Devils need is a repeat of the last matchup at Wallace Wade, when the Hurricanes returned a kickoff as time expired thanks to 8 laterals and controversial officiating that got the crew suspended.

Get Daniel Jones going

Last week, Miami ceded 342 passing yards and three touchdowns to Toledo’s Logan Woodside. The Hurricanes passing defense has struggled as a whole against lesser competition, giving up 286.5 yards-per-game to the likes of Woodside and Bethune-Cookman’s Larry Brihm Jr. If Daniel Jones and Duke's offense focus on attacking Miami through the air, they may find some success. Additionally, by focusing on the passing game, the Hurricanes will be forced to respect the aerial threat, which may open up running lanes for Shaun Wilson and Brittain Brown. The duo will need some attention diverted away from them, or else they may not see much breathing room against a stingy front seven. 


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