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 blowout win, men’s soccer’s top-10 matchup and field hockey’s dominating run.
Many thought a trip to Middle Tennessee would be a tough test for Quentin Harris and company, a low-scoring battle that the Blue Devils’ defense would have to dominate for a victory. They thought wrong. Duke's offense exploded in the 41-18 win, with Harris leading the charge. The redshirt senior passed for 237 yards and four scores, completing 24-of-27 pass attempts for a completion percentage of 88.9 percent—a career high for games in which he had more than two attempts. Not only that, but the Connecticut native added 107 yards on the ground, rounding out an impressive stat line. Harris will try and carry this momentum with him when the Blue Devils begin ACC play Sept. 27 at Virginia Tech.
While Duke had an offensive field day in Murfreesboro, one player who did struggle was running back Deon Jackson. Despite a career high 22 carries, Jackson—who was the lone Blue Devil on the preseason All-ACC team—totaled just 71 yards for 3.2 yards per rush. Not only that, but the all-purpose threat was a near non-factor in the passing game, managing just one reception for three yards. Jackson entered this season as the supposed focal point of Duke’s offense, and his unique skill set is even more important now that Brittain Brown is hurt. He must use this upcoming bye week to find the magic that propelled him through the second half of last year.
For the second straight season, men’s soccer entered the middle of September undefeated with a No. 2 national ranking. Last year, the Blue Devils quickly lost that generous No. 2 spot following a 3-0 defeat at the hands of No. 7 Louisville. Fast forward to 2019 and you’ll find a near exact repeat. Duke entered its home matchup with No. 6 Virginia undefeated, and—for the first 20 minutes of the contest—looked like a team that finally deserved its top-two ranking. But the Cavaliers promptly took control, downing the Blue Devils 3-1 at Koskinen Stadium. After another two goal loss Monday night, this time to to No. 22 SMU, Duke is sure to fall in the rankings.
Volleyball returned home this past weekend winners of five straight matchups, including two consecutive sweeps. This past weekend, however, was not kind to the Blue Devils. With both Ade Owokoniran and Payton Schwantz sidelined, Duke lost a trio of contests between Friday and Saturday, all three via a 3-0 sweep. The team’s schedule doesn’t get any easier either, with a matchup against No. 11 Oregon looming this Friday in the Hofstra Invitational.
Field hockey has been part of the national title conversation for much of this millennium, suffering brutal NCAA tournament exits each and every season. However, 2019 may finally be the Blue Devils’ year. Second-ranked Duke has torn through the beginning of its schedule, sitting with an undefeated 6-0 record with three wins against top-10 teams—most recently a double-overtime victory at No. 7 Iowa this past Sunday. The Blue Devils now prepare for a matchup with Ohio this coming Sunday, though an October 4 meeting in Chapel Hill against No. 1 North Carolina—a team Duke failed to beat in two tries last season—looms in the near future.
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