After a heartbreaking season opener that saw the Blue Devils fall 31-28 to Charlotte, Duke will face North Carolina A&T for its first home game of the season. The Blue Zone gives you a player to look out for from each team this Friday at Wallace Wade Stadium:
Duke: Wide Receiver Jake Bobo
At the crux of his final season, Jake Bobo will be a pivotal player to inject energy into the offensive side of his team. During his junior season, Bobo started all 11 games and led his team with 358 receiving yards on 32 receptions, second highest on the team. Bobo established himself as a key player on the field last season, which came after a sophomore season of two starts. With such a major difference in his role between two seasons, it’s expected that he will continue to progress through this year.
Besides Bobo, junior Jalon Calhoun, who led the team with 39 receptions last season, will also return as a wide receiver this year, and he and Bobo will be a threatening duo on the offensive front. In last week’s season opener, Bobo led the team with seven receptions for 88 yards, though, ultimately, the Blue Devils suffered a loss. This week, Bobo will have to try to convert more of his offensive efficiency into points on the board.
North Carolina A&T: Running Back Jah-Maine Martin
The Aggies hadn’t played a football game since the Celebration Bowl in December 2019. Due to the pandemic, the entire 2020 season was postponed, and Duke’s matchup will be their second game back after playing Furman this past weekend. Although fifth-year Jah-Maine Martin has played one game since 2019, his stats from that season show how dangerous he can be on the field.
In 2019, Martin led all FCS players in yards per carry and rushing touchdowns, ranked second for total touchdowns and fourth in rushing yards per game and total rushing yards. That season, Martin had a 66-yard touchdown run against Duke, and, after itching to play for the past year, it’s expected that he will come into this game ready to outplay his previous performance. Duke’s defense suffered last week in the season opener against Charlotte, and Martin will certainly serve as a major test to the team’s durability.