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Beats' picks: Duke football hosts Louisville for Thursday night football in search of first ACC win

Running back Mataeo Durant was held to a season-low 33 yards last week.
Running back Mataeo Durant was held to a season-low 33 yards last week.

Every football game, our beat writers Cam Polo, Jake Piazza, Max Rego, Alex Jackson, Micah Hurewitz and Jonathan Levitan will be here to give you their picks for Duke's upcoming matchup, and we'll keep track of their prediction records every week. We've got Thursday night football this week, as the Blue Devils clash with 20-point favorite Louisville in Wallace Wade Stadium at 7:30 p.m. 

Jake Piazza:  Louisville 41-17

Duke has given up over 40 points for the past four weeks, and that's not going to change against Louisville with quarterback Malik Cunningham entering this game after accounting for five touchdowns last week. In addition to Cunningham, freshman receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce impressed with two touchdowns against Syracuse and the Cardinals have arguably the best defensive back in the ACC in Clark Kei'trel on the other side of the ball. I expect the offensive performance to be plenty, and Kei'trel should make it difficult for whatever Duke quarterback is behind center. Cardinals win big. 

Max Rego: Duke 34-31

I actually think this one will be closer than what the Vegas insiders are saying. Malik Cunningham is coming off his most prolific performance of the season, but this is a still a group that went down to the wire with Central Florida and does not have a single signature victory. Plus, with the fourth-worst pass defense in the conference, don’t expect the Cardinals to become the Legion of Boom out of nowhere. Durant breaks out of his recent funk, Jordan Moore’s role continues to expand and Jaylen Stinson breaks loose in the kicking game. Duke nabs a win as a three-score underdog. 

Alex Jackson: Louisville 38-13 

In the midst of a lost season, Duke finds itself with a primetime (kind of) Thursday night football game against a 5-5 Lousiville, and could very well be without Holmberg again due to an upper body injury he suffered against Pittsburgh. The offense struggled last game with a mixture of Leonard and Moore leading the attack, and hopefully Durant sees more room to run this time around. Despite having over 1,000 rushing yards this season, he only amassed 33 on 10 carries last week. If Duke wants any shot at an upset this week, it needs to to pull out all the stops and take risks. Unfortunately, I just don’t see them making any ground on Cunningham and the Cardinals, though.

Jonathan Levitan: Louisville 34-16

With just two games left on the schedule for each team, Louisville has a lot left to play for, needing only one win to secure a postseason berth. The Blue Devils, on the other hand, might not have the same wind in their sails Thursday night after losing their sixth straight against Virginia Tech. That could be the story when these teams meet for just the third time ever Thursday night, but the Cardinals—whose offense is peaking at the right time—should skate by with ease regardless.

Micah Hurewitz: Louisville 45-10

Last week seemed like a prime opportunity to squeeze in another win against a struggling Hokies team, but Duke lost by 31 and the winners still fired head coach Justin Fuente following the blowout. Durant has become a non-factor in the offense, the defense has given up at least 30 points in seven straight games and Duke’s average scoring margin in conference games this year is at a horrifying -29.5. Cunningham is primed to bolster his impressive season over the air and ground against a Blue Devils team gone from bowl contention and run dry of any mojo.

Cam Polo: Louisville 39-17

I hate to keep being a pessimist here, I really do. But Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils haven’t given us much to hope for. As usual, Mataeo Durant is going to need a monster game to keep this close, but expect the bleachers to start clearing out early this week.

Piazza: 7-3

Rego: 7-3

Jackson: 6-4

Levitan: 6-4

Hurewitz: 7-3

Polo: 6-4


Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.


Jake C. Piazza

Jake Piazza is a Trinity junior and sports editor of The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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