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Mike Ramsey and the defensive line will need to put pressure on Wofford.

Third and goal: Can Duke football pick up its sixth win?



Duke will play its final regular season game of the season on the road against Wake Forest Saturday at 12:30 p.m., hoping to improve to reach the crucial six-win mark, which would guarantee a bowl game for the Blue Devils after missing out last season. Here are three keys to Saturday's game:

Don’t get off to a slow start

The Demon Deacons have surprised many this season and seem destined to amass their best season since 2008—largely due to their play in the first quarter. Wake Forest has outscored its opponents by a whopping 102-57 margin in the opening period. 

In a season marred by inconsistency, the Blue Devils have struggled to start the game. With their underpowered offense, they are not built to mount major comebacks, despite their come-from-behind 43-20 victory against Georgia Tech Saturday. Especially against what promises to be a packed house in Winston-Salem, Duke needs to keep the crowd quiet early in a must-win game.

Ground and pound

For all their success this season, the Demon Deacons have had trouble stopping the run, surrendering 4.7 yards per carry. Star defensive lineman Duke Ejiofor—who racked up three sacks against the Blue Devils last season—is also questionable and has battled a lower-body injury throughout the season, which should help Duke’s offensive line open up some holes at the line of scrimmage. 

Spearheaded by Brittain Brown and Shaun Wilson, the running game has been Blue Devils’ bread and butter this season. Duke's tailback duo enjoyed much success last weekend, running for 183 yards in a dominant offensive performance. In order to set up the passing game and create the balanced offense necessary to stay in the game, Brown and Wilson will need to establish the run game. 

Get to Wofford

Although he only attempted five passes in last year’s 24-14 Wake Forest victory, senior quarterback John Wofford has been one of the best signal-callers in the nation this year. 

Wofford has thrown for 23 touchdowns and just four interceptions—and has received great protection. Wofford has only been sacked 15 times this season. He also has two deadly weapons at his disposal—redshirt freshman wideout Greg Dortch and redshirt senior tight end Cam Serigne—who both have at least eight touchdowns this season.

 The best way to stop a hot quarterback is through the pass rush, and redshirt defensive lineman Mike Ramsey and Co. will have to make their mark to give the Blue Devils a chance at an automatic bid.


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