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Jela Duncan to miss 2014 season due to suspension

(12/22/13 3:57am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Sophomore running back Jela Duncan was suspended from Duke due to a violation of University academic policy, the team released Saturday. Duncan will be eligible to return to Duke for the Spring 2015 semester and will not participate in the upcoming Chick-fil-A Bowl against Texas A&M or the entire 2014 season.Duncan appeared in all 13 of Duke's game this season, rushing for a team-high 562 yards and averaging 5.0 yards per carry. The Charlotte native also caught 13 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown.With Duncan out of the lineup, more of the responsibilities at running back will fall to redshirt junior Josh Snead and sophomore Shaquille Powell. The Blue Devils typically utilized three running backs throughout the season, which means senior Juwan Thompson, who has split time in the backfield and at linebacker this season, could see more carries in Duke's bowl game.The Blue Devils will now have two players suspended for their Dec. 31 bowl game. Sophomore safety Dwayne Norman was tossed from Duke's ACC championship game loss for a targeting penalty and will be forced to sit out the first half of the Blue Devils' matchup with the Aggies.

The best moments from Coach K's interview with Ken Jeong

(12/18/13 11:13am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Among non-athletes, actor Ken Jeong is arguably the most recognizable Duke alumnus in popular culture today. Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski is the most recognizable Duke figure ever.So what happens when the two of them get together? A little bit of basketball, a little bit of acting and some hilarious moments along the way.Krzyzewski had the chance to interview Jeong for his weekly SiriusXM radio show, "Basketball and Beyond with Coach K," which is set to air its next installment Thursday at 6 p.m.Before Jeong starred in The Hangover trilogy and NBC's hit series Community, he was just a normal pre-med Duke student majoring in chemistry. Like most Duke students, Jeong received an unofficial minor in basketball, and was a regular among the Cameron Crazies during his collegiate career. In the interview, Jeong recounts some of his proudest moments at Cameron Indoor Stadium:

Duke to add softball

(12/17/13 12:59am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Duke will add softball as a new varsity sport, Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White announced Monday. Softball will becomes Duke's 27th varsity team and is anticipated to make its debut in the spring of 2018.“Duke University is fully committed to providing the most complete educational and athletic opportunities for women,” White said in a press release. “Adding both softball and new scholarships will enhance and enrich the collective experiences for female student-athletes. Specifically, softball will be a great addition to our varsity programs because it is played at the highest level in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”The debate of adding a softball team has been a hotly-contested one in recent years, with athletic department administrators grappling over whether there would be enough student interest to warrant the addition of a program.When the Blue Devils debut on the softball diamond, they will be the 12th ACC school to boast a softball program. Eleven current members compete in softball, including Maryland, which will depart the conference at the conclusion of the academic year, and Louisville, which will subsequently join the ACC effective July 1.Duke also announced plans to increase the number of available scholarships for women's fencing, rowing, swimming and diving and track and field to provide each program with the maximum quantity allowed by the NCAA. The Blue Devils' swimming and diving teams are only partially funded, which make it more difficult to compete with fully-funded ACC powerhouses like Virginia.With the addition of a softball program, Duke will have 13 men's athletic teams and 14 women's teams.

Duke basketball returns to action against Gardner-Webb

(12/16/13 10:10pm)

"One of the things you worry about is that finals can be draining mentally and emotionally," associate head coach Jeff Capel said. "We've had sharp practices.... We're excited to build on that and improve this team."Following a narrow one-point home win against Vermont, the Blue Devils (7-2) have stepped up their defensive intensity in their past three games. In its last contest, Duke held Michigan's leading scorer, guard Nik Stauskas, without a field goal.The Blue Devils have improved defensively as the team is finally starting to settle into its rotation. Senior captains Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston have gotten starting nods in each of the past three games, bringing the leadership and defensive presence that the team lacked early in the season."For us it was trying to figure out roles," Capel said. "It's been an adjustment for everyone—coaches included.... We feel like we finally are starting to have guys understand their roles."Although changes to the starting lineup were most significant, it is the Duke bench that has responded the most when settling into their roles. The Blue Devils got very productive minutes from their bench in their 79-69 win against Michigan as guards Matt Jones and Andre Dawkins, forward Amile Jefferson and center Marshall Plumlee all played some of their most efficient basketball of the season."Those guys made a huge difference," Capel said. "Against Michigan they all came in, played with energy, played their butts off and did a tremendous job. It's been a huge lift for us."One player who has yet to find his role on this year's Duke squad is guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who did not see the floor in his team's victory against the Wolverines. After the contest, head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Sulaimon would return to the court when he can outplay Thornton, Jones and Dawkins in practice. Capel lauded Sulaimon for his effort in practice the past two weeks and said he had seen improvement from the sophomore.

Kianna Holland to transfer

(12/16/13 9:21am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Kianna Holland has made the decision to transfer from Duke, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to The Chronicle.A freshman, Holland had yet to suit up for Duke this season due to compartment syndrome in her leg. The 5-foot-9 guard was lauded as one of the quickest players on the team. The Seneca, S.C., native was ranked the No. 8 point guard in her recruiting class by ESPN.As a part of a senior-laden Blue Devil squad this year, Holland was expected to crack the rotation next season and make an impact in the backcourt. It was speculated that she could redshirt this season due to her injury and potential lack of playing time.No announcement has been made where Holland plans to continue her basketball career. She will be required to sit out a full year per NCAA rules and will not be eligible to play until Spring 2015. Because she still has yet to redshirt, Holland could redshirt when she becomes eligible next January to avoid losing a full year of eligibility by playing just half a season. Otherwise she could play the back half of the year and use her first full year of eligibility.Holland is the second Duke basketball player to transfer since the conclusion of the Fall semester. On the men's side, Alex Murphy announced he would continue his collegiate career elsewhere as well.

Johnathan Lloyd enrolls early for Duke football

(12/16/13 12:42am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Quarterback Johnathan Lloyd became the first official member of Duke's 2014 recruiting class when the program announced Sunday afternoon that he enrolled early and will participate in spring practice.Lloyd will join the Blue Devils for his first practice when the team begins preparation for the Chick-fil-A Bowl tomorrow in Durham.“We’re certainly excited to have Johnathan join our program,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said in a press release. “Obviously, he becomes the first member of the class that will officially sign in February, and this is a unique opportunity for Johnathan to experience our practice schedule prior to enrolling in classes next month. Johnathan has had an outstanding career as a leader and player during his time at Southern Alamance.”A 6-foot, 195-pound signal-caller, Lloyd was rated as a three-star prospect by ESPN. The Graham, N.C., native threw for 3,068 yards with 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions during his senior season at Southern Alamance High School. A dual-threat quarterback, Lloyd also ran for 755 yards and 11 touchdowns and led the Patriots to the state playoffs.A highly-recruited athlete coming out of high school, Lloyd turned down scholarship offers from a number of top FBS programs to sign with the Blue Devils. Lloyd's long list of offers included Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, Ohio State and South Carolina. He chose Duke because David Cutcliffe would give him the opportunity to play quarterback instead of moving to another skill position like wide receiver, and because he would have an opportunity to suit up for head baseball coach Chris Pollard as an outfielder.Lloyd is the only member of Duke's current recruiting class to enroll early this season. The Blue Devils currently have 16 commitments for the Class of 2014. Last season, four Duke freshmen enrolled early to participate in spring practice—cornerback Evrett Edwards, safety Quay Mann, quarterback Parker Boehme and linebacker Dominic McDonald. All four redshirted this season. Other notable Blue Devils to enroll early include running back Josh Snead, quarterbacks Brandon Connette and Thomas Sirk and defensive tackle Sydney Sarmiento.

CFA Bowl President denies rumors that politics were behind Duke's selection

(12/13/13 8:21pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A visit from Chick-fil-A Bowl CEO and President Gary Stokan was meant to be a symbolic occasion for the official invitation of Duke to participate in this year's game against Texas A&M.But when Stokan opened his press conference sitting next to head coach David Cutcliffe and Vice President and Director of Athletics Kevin White, he began by addressing rumors that one of college football's most prestigious bowl games had to be guilted into inviting the Blue Devils in the first place.Stokan said that the decision to pick Duke for the game was made long before Sunday's bowl announcement, and close to a done deal before Saturday's ACC championship game in Charlotte."On Friday night at the function in Charlotte, that I told [Cutcliffe and White] that if Clemson ended up in the Orange Bowl, which I thought they would be, then Duke was going to be our selection," Stokan said.Following Duke's 45-7 loss to Florida State in the ACC championship game, early reports indicated that the Chick-fil-A Bowl had a last minute change of heart and were going to pass up the Blue Devils for Miami. Speculation indicated that Texas A&M had been a surprise pick to play in the Outback Bowl, which would have led the Chick-fil-A Bowl to pick Georgia and need a different opponent to help fill the 80,000-seat Georgia Dome.The Chick-fil-A Bowl has been sold out for 17 consecutive seasons, which is the longest active streak of any postseason game except for the Rose Bowl. The game is expected to be a sellout, and White said that as of yesterday, more than 8,000 of Duke's 18,500-ticket allotment had been sold. Selecting Miami would have sent Duke to the Russell Athletic Bowl in favor of a team that the Blue Devils had beaten by 18 points last month, a slap in the face for a program that had just completed its most successful season ever. False rumors went as far as to say that ACC Commissioner John Swofford called Chick-fil-A Bowl representatives to persuade them to take Duke. Stokan said these reports were false."Other than the conversion with John Swofford Friday night asking him if he thought the Orange Bowl was going to take Clemson, that's the only conversation I had with John Swofford and the ACC," Stokan said. "There were no politics. That denigrates the season that Duke had, and how we thought about Duke."Stokan cited the Blue Devils' historic 10-win season, Coastal Division championship, BCS ranking, eight-game winning streak heading into the conference title game and victories against two ranked opponents as reasons why the Chick-fil-A Bowl chose Duke instead of division foes Miami and Virginia Tech."We, in our bowl game, take great pride in letting teams play themselves into our game and play themselves out of our game," Stokan said. "It's the players that are making the decisions... Duke played their way into the game and are very deserving."White and Cutcliffe agreed that the rumors did not phase them when addressing the Blue Devils' Chick-fil-A Bowl selection. White even went as far as to describe the feeling as "euphoric" when hearing the news that they would participate in the game."I was never politically uncertain about the invitation," White said to Stokan. "Our kids earned the right to be in this bowl, and by the way you will never have a more enthusiastic group of young people competing."

Duke lacrosse picked 2nd in preseason ACC rankings

(12/11/13 10:12pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Blue Devils may be the defending national champions, but they were not picked to finish first this year by the ACC's coaches.Despite graduating just three primary contributors from last year's team, Duke was picked to finish behind Syracuse, the team the Blue Devils throttled 16-10 in the national championship game. The Orange—who are newcomers to the ACC this year—received 28 points in the poll. Duke received 27, tied with crosstown rival North Carolina for second in the conference.The Blue Devils had three players selected to the preseason All-ACC team in senior attack Jordan Wolf, senior longstick midfielder Luke Duprey and senior face-off specialist Brendan Fowler. Syracuse did not have a single player named to the preseason all-conference team.Although the beginning of the lacrosse season is still months away, this could serve as some bulletin-board material heading into winter workouts for Duke. With the addition of lacrosse blue-bloods Syracuse and Notre Dame to this year's ACC, the conference is projected to be the most difficult ever in the history of college lacrosse.The Blue Devils were previously ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse preseason poll.

Duke football puts physicality on display in ACC championship game

(12/09/13 9:19am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>CHARLOTTE—Duke could only manage to keep Florida State off the scoreboard for one quarter.As the game wore on, the Seminoles' athletes began to break through the Blue Devils defense and show why Florida State is the No. 1 team in the country, a participant in the BCS national championship game and the home of the presumptive Heisman trophy winner. But for four quarters Saturday at Bank of America Stadium, it was Duke that played a more physical football game."You can throw it and be skilled, but you got to be physical and you got to be nasty," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "You got to play the game clean, but this is a man's game and you have to be that way and we like to practice that way and we like to play that way and Duke did, too. My hat's off. They had some great hits, clean hits."The Blue Devils were matched up against a Seminole team that was bigger, faster and—given the game's 45-7 final score—more talented on both sides of the football. But it was the Duke defense that set the tone early with its aggressive play. The Blue Devil pass rush was able to put pressure on Heisman Trophy frontrunner Jameis Winston early, forcing the redshirt freshman into some hurried throws thanks to Duke's confusing blitz schemes."We were one of the first teams to just come after them, just fully come out blitzing on them almost every down," Duke redshirt senior defensive end Kenny Anunike said. "That kind of shocked them I think, because a lot of teams have been just sitting back on their heels and just playing, but that was our gameplan—just to come after them from the jump, hit them in the mouth and that's exactly what we were doing."In the game's opening minutes, true freshman Deondre Singleton and redshirt freshman DeVon Edwards laid big hits on Florida State wide receivers Rashad Greene—a first-team All-ACC selection—and 6-foot-5 target Kelvin Benjamin, who scored two touchdowns against the Blue Devils.As Duke's young defensive stars played without fear, the Blue Devils held the Seminoles scoreless in the first quarter for the first time all season. Ironically, it was the Florida State defense that led to Duke's unraveling on the defensive side of the ball.After allowing the Blue Devils to march into field goal range on a long first-quarter drive, the Seminoles clamped down defensively and forced Duke into five consecutive three-and-outs in the second period. Forcing the Blue Devil defense to stay on the field for 10:28 in the second quarter, Florida State was able to wear Duke down and seize control of the game."It was the way we wanted it to start," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. "I thought our gameplan was really, really good, and it just—the wear and tear of the game ended up getting the best of us."The game became more lopsided in the second half, and although the Blue Devils continued to get their shots in, Florida State's athletes took their toll on the Duke offense. Offensive tackle Perry Simmons was carted off to the locker room in the third quarter with a knee injury. The redshirt senior made the 50th start of his career in the ACC championship game and had started every game during his four-year career, but will miss the final game of his collegiate career after suffering a torn ACL and MCL. Sophomore running back Shaquille Powell and redshirt junior quarterback Brandon Connette left the game with injuries as well.The Blue Devils continued their physical play on defense throughout the fourth quarter, even when trailing 45-0—but this aggression may come back to bite Duke in its upcoming bowl matchup with Texas A&M . Sophomore safety Dwayne Norman was called for a targeting penalty in the fourth quarter of the contest, which got him tossed from the game and will prevent him from playing the first half of the Chick-fil-A Bowl .After the game, Cutcliffe said that although the call was a hotly-contested one, there is nothing that will change the outcome of the ruling. Although the Duke head coach did not leave the Queen City with an ACC title in hand, he departed knowing that his team competed in a physical contest with the nation's best."One of things that we always want to do is finish," redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell said. "We didn't give up the fight the whole game. We continued to force turnovers, we continued to play hard and we'll prepare ourselves for the bowl game."

Duke football to play in Chick-fil-A Bowl

(12/09/13 6:49am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Moving on from a matchup with this year's presumptive Heisman Trophy frontrunner, the Blue Devils will square off with last year's Heisman winner.No. 22 Duke will face No. 20 Texas A&M in this year's Chick-fil-A Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The contest is set for Dec. 31, 2013 at 8 p.m. The Blue Devils are the ACC's Coastal Division champions and are fresh off a 45-7 loss to No. 1 Florida State in the conference championship game."The Chick-fil-A Bowl has long been considered one of the top-tier and most prestigious bowls across the college football landscape and Atlanta is without a doubt one of the college football’s premier cities," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said in a press release. "I’m extremely excited for our seniors, who will finish their careers as the first group in Duke history to play in back-to-back bowl games."Led by 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, the Aggies finished 8-4 this season and 4-4 in the SEC. The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be the first-ever matchup between Duke and Texas A&M on the gridiron."I've watched as the whole nation has watched Johnny Manziel wow us all," Cutcliffe said. "I love great competitors and great quarterbacks, and he is both of those. That's why he won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman, and very deservedly so."The Blue Devils' bowl appearance will mark the team's second straight bowl game, a feat that Duke accomplished for the first time in program history this year. The Blue Devils have never played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and participated in the Belk Bowl in 2012.A number of Blue Devil players hail from the state of Georgia, including senior running back Juwan Thompson, redshirt freshman safety DeVon Edwards, freshman safety Deondre Singleton, redshirt sophomore punter Will Monday, redshirt junior linebacker C.J. France and redshirt junior nose guard Jamal Bruce.The Chick-fil-A Bowl is one of the nation's oldest bowl games, dating back to 1968. It was originally known as the Peach Bowl and later became the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Duke will net approximately $3.97 million from the conference's bowl contract."It's been incredible to watch the growth of the bowl game. I was once involved with what was known as the Peach Bowl back in 1982, and to see what's occurred over that time is a great tribute to a lot of people there over in Atlanta," Cutcliffe said.This story was last updated at 9:38 p.m.

Florida State routs Duke football 45-7 in ACC championship game

(12/08/13 9:33am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>CHARLOTTE—Duke hung with the top-ranked team in the country for one quarter. The final three quarters of play turned a night to remember into a night to forget.Playing in their first ACC championship game in program history, the Blue Devils got a taste of why No. 1 Florida State will likely be headed to the BCS national championship game. After being held scoreless in the first period by Duke for the first time this season, the No. 1 Seminoles cruised to the conference championship 45-7 Saturday at Bank of America Stadium. Heisman hopeful Jameis Winston earned MVP honors for Florida State, completing 19-of-32 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns, running for another score."Winston is a very good football player," redshirt senior defensive end Kenny Anunike said. "He can sling it. He can run. He has a big old offensive line that likes to keep him clean. We just didn't do our job of getting back in his face enough and causing problems."The setback was the Blue Devils' first loss since falling to Pittsburgh 58-55 Sept. 21 at Wallace Wade Stadium, before the team went on an eight-game winning streak. Duke avoided its first shutout loss since 2008 when Josh Snead ran it in from five yards out with 1:01 left in the game.It was the Blue Devil defense that set the tone early, keeping the vaunted Florida State offense off the scoreboard for the first 17:34 of play. The Seminoles had a chance to score in the first quarter, but Ross Cockrell was able to force the ball out of running back Devonta Freeman's hands at the 3-yard line, and Jeremy Cash jumped on it to keep the game scoreless. Duke's defense was opportunistic on the evening—forcing three Florida State turnovers—but came away with no points to show for it. The Seminoles turned three Blue Devil turnovers into 18 points on the evening."For a while we took the edge, and we just couldn't take advantage of the opportunity," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. "I think if we made a—scored when we attempted the field goal, if we could have punched one in there for a touchdown, anything there where we could score and get a lead, it changes a little bit of the mentality of the game."After Freeman's fumble, Duke responded by moving the ball 67 yards on its next series for the team's longest offensive drive of the night, but Ross Martin missed a 48-yard field goal to keep the game scoreless after running back Jela Duncan let a third-down pass slip through his hands.Recording five straight three-and-outs, the Blue Devils failed to produce anything on offense in the second quarter. During that period, the Seminoles scored as many points as Duke gained yards—17. Redshirt sophomore Kelvin Benjamin reeled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Winston against two Duke defenders to get Florida State on the board in the opening minutes of the second quarter.Winston struggled to find his rhythm in the first quarter, completing just 3-of-8 passes, but recovered to go 9-for-13 in the second. After halftime, the Seminoles posted 21 points in a span of 6:50 to put the game out of reach."We were on the field a little too much," Cutcliffe said of his defense. "You know going in that a big, strong quarterback that moves around well will extend plays, so you have to maintain your disciple in coverage."The Blue Devils were able to crack the scoreboard at the end of the game when quarterback Anthony Boone settled down and led a 14-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:24 off the clock and culminated in Snead's scoring run.A physical game for both teams took its toll as the game became more lopsided. Offensive tackle Perry Simmons was carted to the locker room and did not return to the game. Simmons, a redshirt senior, had started all 50 games of his collegiate career, but Cutcliffe said that "he's got a fairly significant knee injury," which could put him in jeopardy for Duke's bowl game. Backup quarterback Brandon Connette was knocked out of the game after he replaced Boone in the third quarter.Sophomore safety Dwayne Norman was disqualified from the game after being called for a controversial targeting penalty midway through the fourth quarter. He was the first Duke player to be tossed from a game under the NCAA's new targeting rules, which were instituted at the beginning of this year. Norman will be suspended for the first half of the Blue Devils' bowl game for the hit on Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary."All he was doing was breaking on the football," Cutcliffe said. "I'm disappointed that what occurred that late in the game with the score what it was, and we lose a guy for the first half of the bowl game. You know, that's not ideal."The Blue Devils will wait for their bowl selection Sunday, where they will learn their postseason destination and opponent. Duke will make a bowl trip for the second consecutive season for the first time in program history. Despite the crushing loss to Florida State, the Blue Devils will enter their final game of the season searching for their first bowl victory since 1961."This has been one heck of a year. We're definitely going to be back here next year, I can promise you that," Boone said. "We've still got a bowl game to win, and that's still one of our big goals for this year. We went to a bowl game last year and got a taste of it, but this year we want a victory."

With Charlotte showdown looming, Duke players grapple for tickets

(12/07/13 1:24am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>CHARLOTTE—For Duke football players, finding a ticket to the ACC championship game was harder than getting there.Nearly a full year after playing the 2012 Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium, the Blue Devils return seeking a conference championship against No. 1 Florida State. With more than a dozen players from the Charlotte area, including eight starters, Duke is a team with a number of local ties to the Queen City—which makes tickets for Saturday's game a sought-after commodity in the Blue Devil locker room."It's a feeding frenzy in the locker room, whenever someone says they have an extra ticket, everybody jumps on them," redshirt senior offensive guard Dave Harding said. "Everybody tries to scoop them up early, and by the time the game rolls around there seem to be a few that pop open."Each Duke player was allotted six tickets for this weekend's ACC championship game. With so many in-state players and anticipation for the showdown with Florida State running rampant, redshirt junior quarterback Anthony Boone said he was the most aggressive player on the team when it comes to finding extra seats."I'm the sneakiest," Boone said with a wry smile. "I went ahead and sent my mass text messages out on like Sunday.... I'm probably the most efficient."Duke's starting signal-caller said he ended up with 14 tickets for Saturday's contest, though he lamented the fact that he has ended up with more in the past. Boone added that although tickets for the game were scarce, he'll have plenty more support in the stands for the Blue Devils' matchup with Florida State."I'd be surprised if I didn't have between 200 and 300 people there that I knew or knew me there in the stands," Boone said.