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The Devil’s in the Details: Football displays weaknesses on both ends in loss to Virginia Tech

<p>Daniel Jones has seemed overmatched by Virginia in years past.</p>

Daniel Jones has seemed overmatched by Virginia in years past.

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.  

Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key numbers from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside football’s struggles against Virginia Tech, field hockey’s dominant weekend and men’s cross country’s win at the Roy Griak Invitational.

6.5 

Duke struggled on both sides of the football in its 31-14 loss Saturday to Virginia Tech, especially getting the ball downfield on offense. In quarterback Daniel Jones’ first game back from clavicle surgery, the redshirt junior managed only 6.5 yards per pass attempt. While this number is right around backup Quentin Harris’ mark of 6.6 yards per attempt, it is a far drop-off from Jones’ performance in his first two starts against Army and Northwestern, where the Charlotte, N.C. native averaged 11.6 and 8.7 yards per attempt, respectively. Jones must work on completing the deep ball if the Blue Devils (4-1, 0-1 in the ACC) want to bounce back from their disappointing defeat.

On the other side of the football, Duke failed to force the Hokies offense into a single turnover. This marks the second consecutive contest the Blue Devils defense was unable to turn the ball over after forcing six over their first three matchups. Duke will need to be able to pressure the opposing offense into mistakes as it continues their ACC slate October 13 at Georgia Tech.

Duke field hockey swept the competition this past weekend, defeating No. 21 Wake Forest 3-2 Friday before obliterating Appalachian State 8-0 Sunday. Those eight goals marked the team’s highest output since August of 2016, with the 8-0 margin of victory registering as the team’s biggest win since an 11-2 thrashing of Kent State Sept. 30, 2012. The No. 4 Blue Devils (9-3, 2-1 in the ACC) look to keep rolling Friday against No. 18 Virginia at Jack Katz Stadium.

Men’s cross country had a successful trip to the Roy Griak Invitational Saturday, placing first among the 15 teams in the Men’s Gold 8k race. Duke’s win was anchored by three runners in the top 11; sophomore Paul Dellinger placed eighth with a time of 24:47.3, senior Nikhil Pulimood finished ninth at 24:50.7 and junior Cole Hoff came through in 11th at 24:57.3. The team will next compete at the Great American Cross Country Festival on Saturday. 

.226 

Volleyball dropped their fourth match over their past five Sunday, losing to Syracuse 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 21-25, 17-25). The Blue Devils posted just a .226 hit percentage throughout the afternoon, their third lowest output of the season. That number dropped off with each consecutive set during the four-set contest, from .364 in the first set to .189, .189 and .179 in the following ones . Duke (7-6, 1-3 in the ACC) hopes to improve upon playing consistently throughout the entire match Friday at Louisville.

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