In this ACC matchup, Miami dominated the Blue Devils in a 48-0 victory. The Blue Zone breaks down Duke's performance on Saturday with three key takeaways, stats and what to expect moving forward.
Three key takeaways:
1. Shaky Offense
Early in the game, Duke’s defense recovered an early fumble deep in Miami territory that could have sparked a needed offensive score. Instead, Duke wasted the opportunity with a drive that included a sack for a loss of four yards. This drive exemplified the Blue Devils' entire game on offense. Throughout the contest, they gained only 177 total yards. The Blue Devils struggled to contain pass rushers, including Miami defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips. Even when Duke started to gain some offensive momentum, a Chase Brice fumble ended a promising drive.
2. Unable to Keep D'Eriq King in the Pocket
Allowing 48 points in a game is a stat that speaks for itself. However, when watching Saturday's game, a large part of the Miami offense that seemed to wear Duke's defense down was quarterback D'Eriq King's rushes. King rushed 11 times for 46 yards and a touchdown. While these aren’t amazing rushing stats, these runs opened up the offense. They led to an improved rushing game and a more versatile play action, both of which led to the Hurricanes' impressive offensive performance.
3. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers
Duke gave up five crucial turnovers during the game against Miami. Coming into the contest, the Blue Devils led the country with 30 turnovers over the span of nine games. This frustrating streak continued Saturday. Quarterback Chase Brice is usually spearheading the turnovers, but this game, they seemed to spread out among more players, including two from backup quarterback Gunnar Holmberg. Turnovers have been the story of the Duke offense this season and the Blue Devils will have to work to change this narrative in the offseason.
Three key stats:
1. 80 percent completion rate for Chase Brice
That’s right. Despite putting zero points on the board, Brice completed 20 passes on 25 attempts. Given his consistent struggle with turnovers and accuracy, this is a somewhat promising number. Brice's next highest completion rate during the season was 60 percent against N.C. State. It shows that Brice has the potential to throw an efficient game, even during a blowout. He faced consistent pressure within the pocket and a weak run game aiding him, but still passed efficiently.
2. 524 total yards for Miami offense
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Now, back to the rest of the depressing game Duke played. King threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns on only 16 completions. On top of that, wide receiver Mike Harley had two receptions for 105 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown. These stats all show the big plays that Duke allowed. Clearly high scoring games are not uncommon in college football, but based on the way the Duke offense is performing, the defense needs to step up their play.
3. 56 yards rushing for Duke
Duke gained only 56 yards on the ground, with 48 of the 56 coming from Mataeo Durant, the team's top running back. The Blue Devils averaged only 1.7 yards per rush, highlighting larger problems for Duke’s running game. This number pales in comparison to the 185 yards Duke had against now-No. 20 North Carolina. With Brice having issues in the passing game all season, the Duke rushing attack has usually needed to step up, something it failed to do against the Hurricanes.
Overcoming such a tough loss will be hard to recover from. A progressively worse defense, a stagnant offense and turnover trouble are all not easy to deal with. However, former NFL wide receiver Torrey Smith said it best. “Football is one of those games that definitely relates to life in a lot of ways. Everything can be going good, and just like that, you have a turnover. Things are going south, you're going the opposite direction. How are you going to recover from it? That's the beauty in this game,” Smith said. Duke will look to recover from its loss in a matchup against the Florida State Seminoles next week.