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 last-minute loss to Pittsburgh, men's and women's soccer's journeys through ACC play and field hockey’s recent rough patch in an otherwise impressive season.
Football's home loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday cost the Blue Devils an opportunity to start 2-0 in ACC play. Multiple errors throughout the game hindered the Duke offense, including six turnovers. The final giveaway occurred with just 22 seconds left in the contest, a fumble by Quentin Harris that ended any hopes for a late rally. In order for the Blue Devils (3-2, 1-1 in the ACC) to find success against stingy ACC defenses such as Virginia and North Carolina, they will need to take care of the ball consistently.
Down by a whopping 23 points late in the third quarter, Duke’s ability to rebound from a difficult first half was showcased in its second half rally, which culminated in a 44-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Deon Jackson to give the Blue Devils the lead with just 1:29 remaining in the contest. With Duke able to utilize its toughness, the relentless effort displayed by the Blue Devils nearly resulted in a special victory.
Men’s soccer continued its climb up the ACC standings with a 4-0 drubbing of Syracuse this past Friday. Ian Murphy opened the floodgates with a 32nd-minute goal off of a set piece, his first of the season. With second-half goals by Daniele Proch, Max Moser and Colby Agu, the No. 18 Blue Devils (6-3-1, 2-2-0 in the ACC) secured their largest margin of victory in a conference affair since 2015. Next up is a road matchup against Notre Dame this Friday night.
In women’s soccer, the No. 10 Blue Devils’ matchup against No. 23 Virginia Tech resulted in a scoreless draw on Sunday. Despite 14 total shots and seven shots on goal, missed opportunities proved costly for Duke (6-1-4, 1-0-3 in the ACC) in a crucial road ACC contest. The Blue Devils were able to salvage the draw, though, exactly one week after tying top-ranked Virginia 0-0 as well. rivalry showdown with No. 3 North Carolina on Thursday.
After a 7-0 start to the season that saw the Blue Devils leap to No. 2 in the national rankings, field hockey has lost three of its last four contests, including a 2-0 loss at No. 1 North Carolina on Friday and a 5-4 overtime home loss to No. 12 Princeton on Sunday. With the ACC Championship rapidly approaching, Duke (8-3, 0-2 in the ACC) seeks to improve in the upcoming weeks and finish strong over its final eight regular season matchups.
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Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.