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Third and goal: Duke football vs. Kansas

After a comeback victory against Troy last week, the Blue Devils return to Durham with hopes of improving to 3-0 against Charlie Weis’ Kansas Jayhawks. Kick-off is at 3:30 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Force turnovers

Despite two victories by large margins, the Blue Devil defense has yet to record a turnover. Sophomore safety DeVon Edwards managed to force two fumbles against Troy, but the Duke defense recovered neither. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles would love to see the Blue Devils make a more concerted effort to attack the football when going to make hits and to see his unit wreak more havoc in general Saturday against the Jayhawks.

As for the passing game, Kansas’ dual-threat sophomore quarterback Montell Cozart struggled in limited action last season, completing just 36.5 percent of his attempts and throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions. Duke’s defensive backs, "the cheetahs," should feel comfortable being more aggressive, taking risks and jumping routes... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Troy

After a strong season-opener against the Elon Phoenix, the Blue Devils look to continue their early-season success against Troy. Kickoff at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Ala. is at 7:00 PM. Here are the three keys to Saturday’s game:

Third down success rate

Last week against Elon, Duke struggled to convert on third down opportunities, going just 3-of-12 when needing to move the chains. Despite the limited success on third down, backup quarterback Thomas Sirk was a glimmer of hope, converting two fourth and one situations, as well as taking on multiple third down chances as well; the Blue Devils made up for their inefficiency on third down by going 5-of-6 on fourth down.

But although third down conversions may not directly correlate with success, more conversions will boost momentum and increase time of possession... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Elon

Coming off a historic season and a devastating loss in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Duke opens its season against FCS opponent Elon. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the keys to tonight’s game:

Stay Healthy

Duke has already lost star middle linebacker Kelby Brown and star tight end Braxton Deaver to season-ending knee injuries this preseason, in addition to redzone threat Brandon Connette, who transferred to Fresno State in the offseason. One has to wonder how many more injuries the Blue Devils will be able to sustain to remain relevant in the ACC’s Coastal Division, and it would be a real shame to see anyone else get hurt against an FCS opponent that went 2-10 last season.

Get All Defensive Linemen Involved

Duke lost a number of longtime starters on the defensive line in ends Kenny Anunike and Justin Foxx and tackle Sydney Sarmiento to graduation. This year, head coach David Cutcliffe has a platoon of inexperienced linemen to use around returning starter Jamal Bruce... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Texas A&M

In hopes of winning its first bowl game since 1961, No. 22 Duke takes on Johnny Manziel and No. 20 Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Kick-off is at 8 p.m. at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Here are the keys to tonight’s game:

Contain Manziel while covering downfield

At times this season, Duke has had trouble defending mobile quarterbacks. Georgia Tech’s Vad Lee, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas, Wake Forest’s Tanner Price, and North Carolina’s Marquise Williams all had success running the ball—especially in third down situations—against the Blue Devils’ defense. Now, Duke is tasked with stopping Johnny Manziel and his ability to turn a broken play into a huge gain with his feet. Duke must contain Manziel and keep him from making explosive plays, but must also pay great attention to covering downfield. The Aggies rank seventh in the nation in passing yards per game at 350.9 and fifth overall in points per game at 43.6... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Florida State

For the first time in Duke football history, the Blue Devils will compete in the ACC Championship game, facing the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles. Kick-off is at 8 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Here are the keys to tonight’s game:

Force Winston Into Poor Decision-Making

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has allegedly made some questionable decisions off the field, so it is up to Duke’s defense to force him into making poor decisions on the field. It is easy to forget that he is only 19 years old and it is his first year starting for the Seminoles, but Winston is not experienced on the big stage. The ACC Player of the Year has thrown just eight interceptions on the year, but three of the eight have come in Florida State’s biggest games, against Clemson and Miami. It will certainly not be a simple task to apply pressure on Winston with three First-Team All-ACC offensive linemen in Cameron Erving, Tre’ Jackson and Bryan Stork protecting him... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. North Carolina

Only one win away from the ACC Championship game in Charlotte, No. 24 Duke takes on rival North Carolina in their last regular season game of the year. Kick-off is at noon at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Take away the deep ball

North Carolina’s top offensive weapon is undoubtedly junior tight end Eric Ebron. Ebron leads the Tar Heels with 50 receptions for 774 yards and will be a difficult assignment for Duke’s linebackers David Helton and Kelby Brown. Ebron is joined by wide receiver Quinshad Davis to form a pair of deep threats for quarterback Marquise Williams. Williams, who assumed the starting role when Bryn Renner went down against N.C. State, is the team’s leading rusher with 386 yards. Thus, as they should be able to limit the Tar Heels’ rushing attack, the Blue Devils must devote the majority of their attention to stopping the deep ball... Read more

Third and goal: Wake Forest

Coming off a historic win over Miami, No. 25 Duke heads to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest in the first of its two remaining regular season games. Kick-off is at 12 p.m. at BB&T Field. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Keep the Energy High

After beating Miami for only the second time in program history and keeping hopes of a trip to the ACC Championship alive, Duke has received national attention and is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 1994. However, just because a number sits to the left of its name in this weekend’s lineup of college football games, Duke cannot expect to beat Wake Forest by simply showing up. Following their momentous win at Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils looked sloppy against N.C. State until DeVon Edwards saved the day. The Demon Deacons had an extra week to prepare and are desperate for a win after losing three straight and it is thus essential that Duke plays with the same energy and mindset that it beat Miami with... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Miami

Coming off their fifth consecutive victory, the Blue Devils take on the No. 24 Miami Hurricanes in a game that has major ACC Coastal Division implications. Kick-off is at 3:30 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Don’t Overlook Their Ground Game—Even Without Duke Johnson

Despite losing running back Duke Johnson—the team's top offensive weapon—to an ankle injury two weeks ago, Miami’s ground game is still a unit worth devoting attention to. With Johnson’s injury, Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards have obtained increased roles. Although they combined for just 50 yards on 17 carries against a swarming Virginia Tech rush defense, Crawford and Edwards are both very capable backs and run behind one of the nation’s best offensive lines headlined by senior offensive guard Brandon Linder and senior offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson. Duke must also account for Allen Hurns, one of the ACC’s best vertical receivers and quarterback Stephen Morris’ favorite target... Read more

Third and goal: Duke football vs. Virginia

Coming off an impressive victory against Navy, Anthony Boone leads the Blue Devils into Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers. Kick-off is at 3:30 at Scott Stadium. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Ride the Momentum from the Navy Game

Duke played their most complete game of the season last week against Navy. They controlled the tempo of the game and won the time of possession battle, a difficult feat against an effective triple option system. With the return of Anthony Boone, the Blue Devils head north with a newfound confidence. In an effort that earned him ACC Offensive Back of the Week, Boone threw three touchdowns and completed 31-of-38 passes, making everyone better in the passing game and making the Navy defense susceptible to the rushing attack. Boone’s return even seemed to affect Duke’s defense, the team’s Achilles’ heel of late, which had its best showing of the season... Read more

Third and Goal: Troy

Coming off a 58-55 loss to Pittsburgh, Duke looks to bounce back against the Troy Trojans. Kick-off is at 3:00 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. Here are the keys to this afternoon’s game:

Don’t Underestimate Troy

Although not a well-known name on the national front, Troy has experienced great success under head coach Larry Blakeney. Coach Blakeney, in his 23rd season with Troy, is only one of two coaches to have taken a football program from Division II to Division I, is the third most winningest coach among active coaches, and is the second longest active tenured coach. Blakeney has coached a number of household NFL names, including Falcons’ defensive end Osi Umenyiora, Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Ware, and Bills’ cornerback Leodis McKelvin, and led the Trojans to five straight Sun Belt Conference titles from 2006 to 2010.

Playing a member of the Sun Belt Conference on Homecoming Weekend in front of an energized home crowd should result in a victory for the Blue Devils... Read more