The Blue Devils head into the locker room trailing 12-7 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Here are our five observations and more from Duke's first half against the Hurricanes.

Five Observations

  1. After Deon Jackson’s monster 75-yard run for a touchdown to start off the game, Duke continued to utilize the run game, with Daniel Jones having no pass attempts through the first seven minutes of the game. Jones went three and out on the second drive, only completing one of three passes for three yards.
  2. Miami opted to replace their senior quarterback Malik Rosier with redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry after just two drives in which Rosier completed two of four passes for a total of 13 yards. Rosier and Perry have both played in six games this season, and have gone back and forth for the starting position.
  3. The Blue Devils could not get anything going on offense following the sole score of the first quarter. After the 75-yard touchdown, Duke had only 28 yards total in the rest of the first quarter, not including punt returns. Jones’ longest pass of the period was five yards, and the Blue Devils running game was static following the long touchdown. 
  4. Jones showed that he’s not only skilled with his hands when he faked a fourth down conversion, opting to punt it away instead. The quarterback got lucky with the bounce of the ball, as it bounced out of bounds at Miami’s two-yard line, setting up a difficult drive for Perry and the Hurricanes.
  5. The rain began in the first quarter and got worse as the game progressed. The steady drizzle created puddles on the field that sent defenders flying on tackles and running backs skidding to the ground on runs. Miami capitalized on the conditions in their two long drives in the second quarter, as Duke defenders had difficulty staying on their feet.

By the Numbers

  • 1-8 on third down conversions for Duke: Jones and the Blue Devil offense were unable to find a rhythm in the first half of the game after Jackson’s touchdown run. Duke had just 4 first downs on the game and were unable to convert third downs consistently. 
  • Two 12-second, 75-yard or more rushing touchdowns: Both teams had trouble making plays happen on a smaller scale, but capitalized on breakaway long runs to score. Jackson’s 75-yard opening drive touchdown was matched later on in the game by Miami’s 83-yard rushing touchdown two minutes into the second quarter.
  • Duke’s average field position was their own 37-yard line: Subpar punting worked out in Duke’s favor, with its average field position being their own XX-yard line through the first half, much better than Miami's average start of its own 16-yard line. Despite starting on the Hurricanes' 31-yard line one drive, the Blue Devils punted away every good field position they were given.

A moment that mattered

Starting at the 25-yard line after a touchback on the kickoff, Duke came out with intensity right out of the gate to quickly quiet down the crowd in Miami Gardens. Deon Jackson exploded down the sideline, running for a 75-yard touchdown in 12 second in the opening drive of the game to put the Blue Devils up. Jackson instilled hope in a team that’s on a two game losing streak and one win away from bowl eligibility.