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Devil's in the details: Durant sets football program record, men's and women's soccer off to fast starts

Women's soccer defender Caitlin Cosme helped stretch Duke's scoring margin to 12 over its 5-0-0 start.
Women's soccer defender Caitlin Cosme helped stretch Duke's scoring margin to 12 over its 5-0-0 start.

They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.  


The brightest highlight of the week comes from an otherwise disappointing game for Duke football. Senior running back Mataeo Durant set a Duke single-game record by rushing for 255 yards against Charlotte Friday night. This monster performance places him second in FBS for total rushing yards and already brings him to 31.2% of his rushing total from 2020. Despite the offensive marvel, which resulted in Duke outpacing its opponents in rushing yards per play 8.02 to 3.78, Charlotte took the game 31-28 with its endless persistence. Holding possession for 10 more minutes than Duke throughout the game, the 49ers scored the winning touchdown with just 33 seconds left in the game, resulting in their first ever win against a Power Five team. 


The men’s soccer team pulled out a win Thursday with one goal thanks to its tenacious defensive performance. Prior to Monday's overtime loss, they had shut out all three of their opponents, with senior goalkeeper Eliot Hamill making two saves and keeping No. 24 Duke’s save rate at 100%. Hamill serves as a leader for the team not only defensively but in college experience, as there are only four senior and graduate students on the roster. With the goal they added Thursday, which brought their total to eight for the season, the Blue Devils’ goal differential entering Monday's game led ACC teams, and prior to ceding that first goal they were one of only 16 teams with a perfect save percentage. In spite of the loss, the Blue Devils can match their win total from last season with a win Saturday against Virginia Tech. 


With another masterful performance against Stanford Thursday, Duke women’s soccer remains undefeated. In their five wins, the No. 5 Blue Devils have allowed only three goals compared to the 15 they have scored. This is a clear contributor to Duke’s perfect record, which represents the best start to a season for the program in 21 years. What is possibly an even better reflection of the team’s versatility is their penalty kick record—they are currently 3-for-3 on penalty kicks, which leads the NCAA. While penalties only account for one out of every five of their total goals, this stat shows how frequently the Blue Devils capitalize on the offensive opportunities they create, including on the free kick on which defender Caitlin Cosme scored what ended up being the game-winner against Stanford. 


Duke volleyball capped off the week with solid performances against Howard, Miami (Ohio), and the College of Charleston in the Duke Invitational to maintain its undefeated record. In fact, their performance as a team this season has been significantly cleaner than last season—they are averaging 0.17 ball-handling errors per set in their six wins so far, compared to 0.38 last year. This improvement clearly speaks to the experience of the roster, with 10 junior, senior and grad students. The rare errors the Blue Devils have committed have been their opponents’ only chances to score given the great strides Duke has made offensively and defensively so far this season. Several Blue Devils have excelled at their positions, leading to Duke overpowering its opponents in assists, kills and digs thus far. Throughout the tournament, Duke looked efficient, focused and energetic as it bested Howard in four sets and Miami and Charleston in just three. 


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