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X-Factor: Duke football's Jalon Calhoun must make plays in open space to combat Pittsburgh's pass rush

<p>Jalon Calhoun has already accounted for four touchdowns, including a passing score, through the first quarter of his freshman year.</p>

Jalon Calhoun has already accounted for four touchdowns, including a passing score, through the first quarter of his freshman year.

On Saturday, the Blue Devils will welcome Pittsburgh to town, looking for their first win in the series since 2014. The Blue Zone gives you a key player to watch from each team in Duke's second conference matchup:

Duke: Wide receiver Jalon Calhoun 

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the season for Duke fans has been the emergence of standout freshman Jalon Calhoun. The former high school quarterback has proven he has big play capability and a knack for making defenders miss in open space. With Noah Gray having a dominant game against Virginia Tech last week, there is no doubt that Pittsburgh will look to double the big tight end. In order for Duke to keep the pace of this new look, high powered offense, Calhoun will have to be ready to take on an even larger role opposite Gray as the main slot receiver. 

Calhoun has shown that the spotlight is not too bright for him at the collegiate level, as he leads the receiving corps in touchdowns and even flashed some of his old quarterback days last week, throwing a 25 yard touchdown to Deon Jackson. In order to come out on top of this one, the Blue Devils will need Calhoun to find the soft spots in coverage and do some serious damage after the catch, especially with the Panthers' dominant pass-rush coming quick on Quentin Harris.

Pittsburgh: Defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman

Jaylen Twyman is an absolute nightmare for offensive coordinators. Despite being undersized for a Division I defensive lineman, he has made it clear that he has no problem getting to the quarterback, coming into this matchup tied for seventh in the FBS in sacks. 

If Pittsburgh wants to slow down the red-hot Harris, Twyman will be heavily leaned upon to make the Blue Devil signal caller as uncomfortable as possible. In addition, look for the sophomore to make an impact against the Duke ground game also, as he is credited with 6.5 tackles for loss. Considering the Washington D.C. native has already tallied up six more sacks than he had all of last year, Twyman appears to be a whole new player who the Blue Devils will need to factor into their game plan. The Duke offensive line has taken special care of Harris this year, only allowing him to get sacked once, but Twyman will be the most skilled pass rusher the unit has faced. In order for the Panthers to keep their defense off the field, he will have to put up big time numbers on Saturday.

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