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 the start of football's rough start to the season, men's soccer's thrilling win and field hockey's struggle to create shots.
After committing a whopping seven turnovers aided by a fourth quarter collapse at Virginia this Saturday, Duke football’s turnover differential now sits at an atrocious -9 on the season. While much of the blame for Duke’s ineptitude here has been directed towards Chase Brice’s surprising inaccuracy—he boasts just a 51.3 percent completion rate and a 1:3 TD/INT ratio—the Blue Devils have also lost seven fumbles in only three contests. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that no team that displays such carelessness ever wins very many games, and Cutcliffe’s squad has their work cut out for them in this category.
Find out the whole story—NO BRICE: Duke football embarrassed at Virginia as Chase Brice tosses 4 interceptions
It took every minute of men’s soccer’s double overtime, 109-minute duel with NC State on Saturday night for head coach John Kerr to secure his 200th career victory in a jaw-dropping finish at Koskinen Stadium. With less than a minute remaining before the final whistle, freshman midfielder Nick Pariano delivered a one-touch beauty to the bottom left corner before being swarmed by his teammates moments later. Pariano’s improbable shot broke the scoreless tie just in the “Nick” of time to cement Duke’s legendary head coach’s place in the record books. Now sitting at 1-1 (1-0 ACC), the Blue Devils will look ahead to their home matchup against the Tar Heels under the lights this coming Friday.
Find out the whole story—Nick Pariano's last-minute goal lifts Duke men's soccer to win in home-opener
It was a disappointing weekend for field hockey, who totaled just one goal in their season opening back-to-back losses at Louisville this weekend. After averaging nearly 14 shots per game in 2019, the Blue Devils managed just 15 shots in two contests, with only junior forward Noor van de Laar’s shot finding the back of the net on Sunday. But while an 0-2 record was certainly not the way head coach Pam Bustin envisioned the start of the fall season, the team showed signs of life in the back half of the double header, producing twice as many shots as the day before and keeping the game tied until the Cardinals pulled away in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils will not have much time to regroup, as they next take on No. 1 North Carolina—winner of 47 straight games—at home on October 4th.
Find out the whole story—Duke field hockey drops opening 2 matches at Louisville
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Duke football’s recent embarrassment puts this year’s team in unique company as the first to start off with an 0-3 record in 14 years. Back in 2006, when Chase Brice was eight years old and David Cutcliffe was in his second stint at Tennessee, head coach Ted Roof led the Blue Devils to an abysmal 0-12 finish in what would be his final year with the program. While this year’s team may not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Roof’s historically bad campaign, pressure is mounting for the Blue Devils to erase the goose egg that currently sits in the win column. They will get their chance this coming Saturday when Virginia Tech, who just dispatched N.C. State with half of a team, marches into Wallace Wade Stadium to face a Duke team desperate for a break.
7 vs. 30.3
On the bright side of things, Duke’s defensive unit is quickly gaining a peculiar reputation as a first quarter juggernaut, yielding only seven points in the first frame thus far. The Blue Devils were particularly surprising on this side of the ball against Virginia, holding the Cavaliers to zero points through fifteen minutes in their first bout without top cornerbacks Josh Blackwell and Mark Gilbert. The bad news is that Duke has still managed to give up 30.3 PPG against the likes of Brennan Armstrong and Phil Jurkovec, two first-time starters who have scorched the Blue Devils in their own respective breakout performances. If Duke wants to remain competitive late in the game, it is beyond crucial that defensive coordinators Ben Albert and Matt Guerrieri find a way to prolong the team’s early success.