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Five observations and more from Duke football's first half against Miami

<p>The Blue Devils have a tough task in the second half with the Hurricanes, their second top-10 opponent this year.</p>

The Blue Devils have a tough task in the second half with the Hurricanes, their second top-10 opponent this year.

Despite their opponent playing for the first time since Nov. 14, the Blue Devils find themselves in an early 21-0 hole against No. 9 Miami. Duke's offense continues to have issues as the Hurricanes found a way to break through in the second quarter:

Five observations:

  1. Early rust from the Hurricanes: On its first two drives, Miami put the ball on the turf twice, stifling any early momentum it was looking to build. This being the first half of football that they have played in almost a month, star quarterback D'Eriq King and the rest of the Miami offense clearly needed a few snaps under their belt to get back in the swing of things.
  2. Blue Devils struggle with the ball: Duke’s offense just didn’t get a lot going in the first half. It totaled only 81 yards through thirty minutes of play, including only seven rushing yards. For a team that has largely relied on its rushing attack to stay in ballgames, this must change in the final two quarters for Duke to have a fighting chance in the contest.
  3. Dual-threat hurts Duke: The rushing prowess of D'Eriq King was on full display against a Blue Devil defense that has struggled as of late. The threat of the ground game going toward either side of the field helped the Hurricanes to 144 rushing yards thus far, including a touchdown where the phantom ball in the hands of King fooled the defense, and Cam Harris waltzed in for a 34-yard score.
  4. Hurricanes live up to their name: Despite controlling the game on the scoreboard, Miami only possessed the ball for 12:36 in the first two quarters—to Duke’s 16:20. This trend can largely be attributed to the Hurricanes’ hurry-up offense, keeping Duke on its heels and marching quickly down the gridiron on their scoring drives.
  5. Carter playing through pain: Duke safety Michael Carter II went down multiple times in the first half, heading to the sideline in clear discomfort. A key defensive piece for the Blue Devils, Carter has found himself on the injury report multiple times this season. Duke will be hoping the senior makes his way back to the turf, needing his defensive prowess to prevent the Hurricanes from running all over its defense.

By the numbers:

-4: Yards of offense for Duke on the offensive drive following the early forced fumble by Derrick Tangelo, squandering a golden opportunity to get on the board first against the heavily favored Hurricanes.

3 straight touchdowns: Miami opened up a 21-0 lead with just over 9 minutes left in the second half after three straight scores, coming after two drives which stopped almost as soon as they started. It took time for the Hurricanes to get their feet under them, but once they did, they didn’t let up.

2 for 9 on third down: The Blue Devils have constantly found themselves in third and long situations—and even when the distance to move the chains was mere feet, the Hurricanes defense held strong.

A play that mattered:

After a pair of drives that sputtered quickly, the Hurricanes struck first on a pass over the middle into the waiting arms of tight end Brevin Jordan. Threaded through two Blue Devils, the 24-yard strike gave Miami the early advantage with 6:01 left in the first quarter after Duke failed to capitalize on its first two stops.

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