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X-Factor: Duke football's Noah Gray will be a deciding factor against Boston College

Noah Gray's receiving and blocking skills will be pivotal against Boston College.
Noah Gray's receiving and blocking skills will be pivotal against Boston College.

The Blue Devils put up a strong showing against Notre Dame in the season opener last week and despite the loss, there were many positive takeaways. This week they’ll face off against Boston College, whose team is sporting a new look to both their offense and defense. The Blue Zone gives you a player from each team that could prove to be the deciding factor on Saturday.

Duke: Tight end Noah Gray

Noah Gray was one of the bright spots from Duke’s tough defeat last week. He snagged five balls for a total of 68 yards, including a nice catch-and-run of 23 yards. In a game where neither team generated much offense, Gray was the only Blue Devil tight end to catch a pass. The senior proved himself to be one of quarterback Chase Brice’s top options. 

Gray will be an integral part of jump-starting Duke’s offense this season. This upcoming game against Boston College will be the perfect opportunity for Gray to get some good red zone targets and help Brice find his groove. Additionally, Gray’s 6-foot-4, 240 pound frame makes him an integral part of the run game, which is something the Blue Devils really had going in their first game. If Gray can continue to facilitate the run, he will boost Duke’s offense to even greater heights. 

Boston College: Defensive lineman Brandon Barlow

Brandon Barlow is a player the Eagles have really high hopes for this season. The Cohoes, N.Y. native will need to step up in a big way this game and this season for Boston College to see success. Last year, he had 2.5 sacks to go along with 6.5 tackles for loss. But the strongest part of his game is his ability to force fumbles, of which he had two last year. 

In Duke's game against Notre Dame, Brice looked really comfortable in the pocket, but when the Fighting Irish started bringing the pressure, it seemed to disrupt his rhythm. Barlow will need to put the pressure on Brice for the Eagles defense to get off the field and let their new quarterback get to work. 

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