After a Quick Lane Bow victory last December, the Blue Devils are back and ready for another postseason run. They showed their offensive potential with a 34-14 win over Army in the season opener. 

The Blue Zone gives three key takeaways, plays and stats and looks forward for the Blue Devils:

Three key takeaways:

1. Duke’s passing offense is alive and well 

Redshirt-junior Daniel Jones showed off his arm strength against Army, connecting on a 61-yard bomb to Aaron Young to put Duke on the 1-yard-line. He then connected with Young later in the game for a 25-yard touchdown. Jones threw for 197 yards, and went 13-for-17. The quarterback also showed off his ability to move around the pocket and create new plays. In the past, Jones had trouble creating longer passing plays, relying heavily on the running game and short check downs last year.

2. The running game continues to be Duke’s strongest offensive option

Sophomore running back Brittain Brown has stepped up to fill the void left by Shaun Wilson after his departure to the NFL. The redshirt sophomore had 79 yards, with Jones following with 49 and backup Deon Jackson wrapping it up with 25. 

3. The Blue Devils struggle against the pass

Last year, one of the aspects of its game that Duke kept consistent was its passing defense. As the offense imploded halfway through the season, the defense was No. 11 in the nation in passing yards allowed per game. However, last season’s defense was not present today. Duke allowed 197 passing yards and 9.4 yards per pass to an Army passing offense that is historically atrocious. The Blue Devils also gave up a 45-yard touchdown pass at the end of the third quarter. 

Three key stats:

1. 0 interceptions

Despite throwing deep passes down the field, something he hasn’t found great success with before, Jones threw no interceptions. If he is able to continue this, the Blue Devils could see more success in their passing game.

2. 3 rushing touchdowns

While it is no surprise, as Duke’s running game has been successful in the past, three rushing touchdowns in a game are impressive nonetheless, with Brown, Jones and Jackson all crossing the goal line. The team totaled 184 rushing yards, with a 16-yard long run.

3. 70 total tackles

While Duke’s passing defense gave up lots of passing yards and a 45-yard touchdown, the team totaled 70 tackles. Junior Dylan Singleton led the charge with seven solo tackles, and defensive leaders Joe Giles-Harris and Ben Humphreys had seven and six total tackles, respectively.

Looking forward:

Duke is now going on the road to play Northwestern and Baylor.  While the passing defense struggles didn’t end up being a problem against Army, the Blue Devils will need to tighten up the defense if they want to be successful later in the season. Offensively, Duke’s running game should stay consistent, but if the team is able to continue to succeed through the air like they did today, their chance at a bowl will be strong.