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Breaking down a wild final day of ACC play

(11/30/13 10:36am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Heading into the final Saturday of the regular season, five of the seven teams in the ACC's Coastal Division have a shot at the division crown.The Blue Devils already clinched a share of the Coastal Division title with a 28-21 win against Wake Forest last week. A win will send Duke to its first ACC championship game in program history and a matchup with No. 2 Florida State.In case you need a refresher, here are the Coastal Division standings heading into Saturday's action:1. Duke.................5-22. Georgia Tech....5-33. Miami................5-34. Virginia Tech.....4-35. North Carolina..4-36. Pittsburgh.........3-57. Virginia..............0-7So here's how this all breaks down heading into Saturday. Georgia Tech is already finished its conference slate and will take on in-state rival Georgia in a nonconference contest Saturday. Miami wrapped up its ACC schedule with a 41-31 win at Pittsburgh Friday night and will finish the season 5-3 in the conference as well.Might as well put your calculators away, because there is no head-to-head tiebreaker scenario in the Coastal Division. In order for there to be a tie atop the division, Duke would have to lose to North Carolina on the road at Kenan Stadium, which would ensure at least a four-way tie for the Coastal crown. Virginia Tech can further complicate matters if it puts a helpless Virginia team out of its misery, putting five teams at 5-3 on the year.We'll save you all the crazy tiebreaker scenarios and cut to the chase. Of these five teams, only three of them have a chance to represent the ACC in next week's conference championship game in Charlotte. North Carolina and Georgia Tech are already mathematically eliminated from the championship game hunt, but still have plenty to play for Saturday.Here's what has to happen for the three remaining teams to reach the ACC title game:Duke: Beat North Carolina.Virginia Tech: Beat Virginia and North Carolina beats Duke.Miami: Virginia beats Virginia Tech and North Carolina beats Duke.Hopefully this clears up a bit of the mess that is the ACC Coastal. In case you missed them, here are the game times and TV listings for today's division games. As advertised, it should be a jam-packed Saturday of exciting gridiron action.Duke at North Carolina, 12 p.m., ESPN2Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Virginia, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

Duke football's matchup with UNC features 2 of the ACC's hottest teams

(11/29/13 11:57pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Anyone who did not leave North Carolina for dead after a 1-5 start probably gave up on the Tar Heels when three-year starter Bryn Renner went down with a season-ending shoulder injury four weeks ago against N.C. State.Not only is North Carolina bowl eligible and riding a five-game winning streak now, but also the Tar Heels are playing like one of the most dangerous teams in the ACC. In case North Carolina needed any extra motivation heading into the final week of the regular season against arch-rival Duke, the Tar Heels can keep the Blue Devils out of the ACC championship game and win a share of the Coastal Division title with a victory Saturday at Kenan Stadium on Senior Day."The way the league has gone, it’s come down to the wire—at least it did last year and now it’s doing it again this year. I think anybody can beat anybody on any given Saturday," North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said. "If your team keeps believing and keeps playing well you can put yourself in that position and that’s what they’ve done.”Although North Carolina (6-5, 4-3 in the ACC) comes into Saturday's game facing a Duke (9-2, 5-2) team riding a seven-game win streak of its own, the Tar Heels are fresh off an 80-point offensive explosion against Old Dominion last week. North Carolina's 80 points all came in the first three quarters of the game.When Blue Devil defensive end Kenny Anunike learned of the Tar Heels' point total after his team's 28-21 road victory against Wake Forest last Saturday, the sixth-year senior was stunned."Eighty. Who were they playing?" Anunike asked the reporters who informed him.Upon hearing that it was FCS opponent Old Dominion, Anunike replied, "I'm not going to comment on that one. That's fine. They're playing Duke next."Since Renner's injury, North Carolina has relied on sophomore quarterback Marquise Williams, who had previously seen the field in all but one of the Tar Heels' game as a part of running packages. Williams transitioned to being a full-time starter with relative ease, and has completed 61.0 percent of his passes in his last three starts, throwing seven touchdowns and one interception in that span.Williams has no shortage of weapons on the outside, headlined by junior tight end Eric Ebron. He was an instrumental piece in North Carolina's comeback against Duke last season, catching five passes for 68 yards. Although Ebron has struggled with injuries this season and is listed as questionable for Saturday's matchup with the Blue Devils, expect the tight end to take the field for what will be his final home game at Kenan Stadium.Ebron has already announced that he will forego his senior season and enter this year's NFL draft. He is listed as the top tight end in this year's draft class by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., and should be a top-20 pick."I remember watching him in high school and it looked like he was going to be a great player.... I think he's exceeded the expectations," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said when asked how he planned to contain Ebron. "You use the word 'contain,' I would use the word minimize damage. There is no containment."Duke's secondary will also need to be wary of sophomore wide receiver Quinshad Davis on the outside. North Carolina's second-leading receiver behind Ebron, the 6-foot-4 target has reeled in nine touchdowns this season and is a threat in the red zone.But the Tar Heels' newest weapon could be freshman wide receiver Ryan Switzer. Listed at just 5-foot-10, Switzer makes up for his lack of size with his speed and playmaking ability. In addition to being North Carolina's third-leading receiver with 24 receptions on the year, Switzer has proven to be immensely dangerous on special teams, returning four punts for touchdowns in his team's past three games. Although Duke has proven to be a good directional punting team, the Blue Devils have given up two punt return touchdowns in their past three contests, so Switzer will remain on the team's mind heading into this week's contest. Switzer is a key piece of the youth movement has swept across North Carolina's football program during the back half of the season. The Tar Heels' last 23 touchdowns have been scored by freshmen or sophomores.Cornerback Ross Cockrell said the dynamic rookie reminds him of someone he gets to line up against every day in practice: Duke junior Jamison Crowder."You just look at Jamison, try to guard him, watch him and I think he helps you a lot with Switzer," Cockrell said. "They wear the same number, they're about the same height, so that's how I'm preparing for him."One week after going up against Wake Forest's Nikita Whitlock, the Blue Devils will be tasked with facing another of the ACC's top defensive linemen in Tar Heel Kareem Martin. The redshirt senior leads the ACC with 11.0 sacks on the season and is a tackling machine for North Carolina, ranking second on the team with 70 stops, including 19 for a loss.Saturday's contest will be the first 60-minute game that the Tar Heels have played in two full weeks. When last week's game between North Carolina and Old Dominion got out of hand, Fedora shortened the fourth quarter to 10 minutes at the request of Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder.Regardless of who takes home the Victory Bell at the end of the game, be assured of one thing—this week's game will go a full 60 minutes."I guess if North Carolina wants to cut it short on their end, that's fine with me," Duke guard Dave Harding said. "Duke football is gearing up for a 60-minute game on Saturday."

Duke football upends Wake Forest to clinch share of Coastal Division title

(11/24/13 1:10am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—It was not the start that they had hoped for, but the Blue Devils continue to finish games.After going down 14-0 in the first quarter, No. 25 Duke recovered behind the play of quarterback Anthony Boone and stout fourth-quarter defense to defeat Wake Forest 28-21 at BB&T Field. With the win, the Blue Devils clinch at least a share of the ACC's Coastal Division title and have a nine-win season for the first time since 1941."I don't think I've been around a group of players that have committed to doing everything you ask them to do as well as this team," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. "I'm just a little bit almost at a loss for words because the emotions are pretty strong of what those guys accomplished. The nine wins—72 years is a long time." Boone completed 24-of-29 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns, completing a string of 14 consecutive passes at one point. His favorite target was junior wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who reeled in 10 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon."This week our passing game really did it for us," Boone said. "Once you find a groove, it feels like you're out there routes versus air. Everything is smooth, and that's kind of what happened."Shutting out Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6 in the ACC) in the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils (9-2, 5-2) are now allowing an average of 3.1 points in the game's final period this season. Duke has outscored opponents 117-34 in the fourth quarter, and that plus-83 margin ranks best in the FBS."We're finishing," defensive end Kenny Anunike said. "Our defense may bend, but we never break. Yeah, they might score on us, but we're going to come back swinging."The Blue Devils surrendered their first points of the game when wide receiver Issac Blakeney coughed up the football at the end of a 2-yard reception, and Wake Forest's Thomas Brown scooped it up and went 59 yards for a touchdown. The Demon Deacons would add to their lead when quarterback Tanner Price found Spencer Bishop for a 6-yard touchdown in the opening minute of the second quarter.Duke's offense was anemic at the beginning of the game, as the Blue Devils gained just 55 yards on their first four offensive drives. After Boone and Brandon Connette took two series apiece at quarterback, Duke went with Boone as its primary option under center, and the offense finally found its rhythm."We tried to grind the run, and Nikita Whitlock did a great job of having pressure and getting into the backfield," Boone said. "We knew coming into this game he was going to be tough to block.... We found our way to catch a groove and that's where our offense got rolling."Boone capped off two second-quarter scoring drives with touchdown passes to Crowder and Max McCaffrey to pull the Blue Devils even heading into halftime.Price led a scoring drive for Wake Forest to start the third quarter, rumbling in from 12 yards out to give the Demon Deacons a lead. The Blue Devils have trailed in the second half in five of their last six games. After Wake Forest's top corner, Merrill Noel, left the game with an ankle injury Duke mounted a quick response when Boone hit Crowder over the top on the next play for a 58-yard score, picking at backup Allen Ramsey II. "We took advantage of an opportunity and answered, which was huge," Cutcliffe said. "When we called the deep ball, we had a reason for calling it. You don't know how happy I was that it worked."A 3-yard touchdown run by Connette on the Blue Devils' next drive gave them a 28-21 advantage.Duke's defense took over the game from there. With Wake Forest driving inside the red zone, the Blue Devils brought the blitz and got back-to-back sacks from Anunike to push the Demon Deacons out of field goal range and preserve the lead. After Duke's offense stalled on its next drive, a fumble recovery by Kelby Brown kept Wake Forest off the scoreboard.A 47-yard field goal attempt by kicker Ross Martin was knocked down by the wind, but redshirt senior Ross Cockrell picked off Price as the Demon Deacons tried to tie the game, sealing the victory.The Blue Devils will take on arch rival North Carolina next weekend in Chapel Hill with a chance to earn a trip to the ACC championship game to take on No. 2 Florida State. The Tar Heels posted a whopping 80 points through three quarters of action in a victory against Old Dominion Saturday."Every time we've won a game, obviously, the next one gets bigger, and the challenge gets bigger," Cutcliffe said. "And this will be our greatest challenge of the year coming forward."Although Duke has at least a share of the division title firmly in tow, Boone said his team is far from finished."It means a lot, but none of us came here to share anything," he said.

Duke football faces final 2 games with division title aspirations

(11/22/13 10:59am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Despite reaching its first bowl game in nearly two decades last season, David Cutcliffe's Duke squad opened the 2013 campaign the same way it had in five of the head coach's six seasons in Durham—picked to finish dead last in the ACC's Coastal Division."That's kind of standard, right. I've gotten used to that since we've been here," Cutcliffe said. "The only difference this year is that we went from sixth to seventh."Four months to the day after the Blue Devils were picked to finish last at the ACC's annual media day in Greensboro, N.C., Duke has turned the conference's Coastal Division standings squarely on its head.Off to an 8-2 start, the Blue Devils are now in the driver's seat as they make a push for a spot in next month's ACC championship game. With road contests against Wake Forest and North Carolina remaining on their schedule, two wins would seal a spot for Duke in the conference title game and a date with No. 2 Florida State to play for a BCS berth."I've never been on an 8-2 team in my life," tight end Braxton Deaver said. "The wins we've had, the movement we've made as a program—it's unbelievable."The journey was not without its bumps in the road. The Blue Devils lost starting quarterback Anthony Boone in the second game of the season to a broken collarbone and subsequently lost each of backup Brandon Connette's first two starts. At that last point it wasn't certain whether or not six wins and a second straight bowl berth would be in the cards.Following Boone's return in an impressive win against Navy, Duke's offense struggled mightily. But the Blue Devil defense carried the team to wins, including a 13-10 victory against then-No. 16 Virginia Tech that was the team's first road victory against a ranked opponent in 42 years.Duke has reinvented itself at multiple points during this season. At different times, the Blue Devils have been a pass-first team, a run-first team and most recently, a two-quarterback team. After Boone struggled in back-to-back contests and was pulled out of Duke's win against N.C. State, he split snaps with Connette in the Blue Devils' 48-30 win against Miami, the team's second victory against a ranked opponent this year."I like our pure team mentality," Cutcliffe said. "I think when you have that, it lets all three phases contribute whatever way they can to winning."Aside from gaining respect in the conference, Duke football is back in the national spotlight. The last time the Blue Devils had this much notoriety on the national stage was when they snapped a 22-game losing streak—the nation's longest active skid at the time—in 2007 with a road win against Northwestern. Duke students ran to Wallace Wade Stadium and tore down the goalposts in response, and the team wasn't even there to celebrate with them.As Duke heads down I-40 to take on Wake Forest this weekend, it will play its first game as a ranked team since the Blue Devils lost to Wisconsin in the Hall of Fame Bowl Jan. 2, 1995. Eighteen of the team's freshmen were not born when Duke played that game."The thing that's nice about it is you have people that the foundation was built on and then you have people trying to build on that foundation," Cockrell said. "Our job as seniors is to make sure that foundation never gets forgotten."In seasons past, November games for the Blue Devils meant a buildup to the offseason. A number of the team's ACC counterparts would pray for Duke to pull off an unlikely upset in hopes of propelling them to a division title.Now with two weeks to play, Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina are all in contention for the ACC Coastal Division crown. All four of them need the Blue Devils to lose in order to get there.Consider the script flipped."It's a little strange," Cockrell said. "Teams may have taken us for granted in years past because of our program history. And now you have no choice but to respect us and to play as hard as you can."

Amber Henson's long journey back to Duke women's basketball

(11/21/13 11:43am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>For Amber Henson, Duke's season-opener on the road against California started the same way every game for the last 691 days had—sitting on the bench.Building up a small lead in the game's opening minutes, the second-ranked Blue Devils got into foul trouble in the post. Center Elizabeth Williams was whistled for an early foul. Kendall McCravey-Cooper picked up two. And just 9:54 into the contest, head coach Joanne P. McCallie looked down the bench and called Henson's name.Henson played just 11 minutes in Duke's season-opener, scoring two points and grabbing four rebounds. But for Henson and her Blue Devil teammates, it was the culmination of a long journey back to basketball.

How Duke students can see the Blue Devils play at Madison Square Garden

(11/21/13 12:30am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>With last night's 83-74 win against East Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils advanced to the semifinal round of the NIT Season Tip-off, which will be played next week at Madison Square Garden.Although Duke will be playing in New York, students will still have the opportunity to watch the Blue Devils play, and at a reduced rate. Below is information from Duke Athletics regarding students purchasing tickets for next week's games. The Blue Devils will open play at the NIT semifinal against Alabama next Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

Duke basketball routs UNC-Asheville in front of small home crowd

(11/19/13 7:29am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Not many people saw it, but the Blue Devils put on another offensive clinic in front of the home fans.Sparked by easy buckets in transition and swift ball movement in its half-court sets, No. 6 Duke knocked off UNC-Asheville 91-55 Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the opening round of the NIT Preseason Tipoff. Although the game was listed as a sellout, there were a number of empty seats in the stands with a sparse turnout by paying fans and students alike, but the Blue Devils put on a show for those in attendance."We made our own energy today," freshman Jabari Parker said. "I know we didn't have a lot of fans, but we made our own energy."Pacing Duke (3-1), Parker extended his streak of 20-point performances to four with 21 points, adding 10 rebounds on the evening for his second straight double-double. The freshman continued to display his willingness to share the ball, dishing out four assists, but also fell victim to six turnovers."I thought he tried to do too much," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He's trying to get everybody to be better, but I think a few times he over-did it.... I don't fault him for trying to get his teammates more involved. That's a good problem to have."Redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood added 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting and became the Blue Devils' offensive catalyst after a slow start to the game. Hood went on a personal 7-0 run late in the first half, using a nifty behind-the-back dribble to knock down a jumper in the lane, driving past 7-footer Jaleel Roberts for a one-handed jam and hitting a 3-pointer from the left wing. After his triple hit the bottom of the net, Hood—usually the quietest of Duke's three captains—sprinted toward the student section to pump up the crowd."That's the most excited I've gotten in a while," Hood said. "I think that really picked up our intensity, as far as the dunk and coming out to hit the three. It got the fans into it. It was a great energy boost."Duke's defensive pressure caused problems for the Bulldogs (1-3) throughout the contest, forcing 15 UNC-Asheville turnovers. Those giveaways led to 27 points for the Blue Devils and helped them string together points in bunches to pull away and take a 48-28 lead into the locker room.The Blue Devils had turnover issues of their own, giving the ball away 16 times on the evening, but strong pressure on the defensive end limited the Bulldogs to just 16 points off Duke miscues.When they were able to take care of the ball, the Blue Devils were efficient in their distribution, assisting on 14 of their 18 made field goals in the first half.Despite allowing seven offensive rebounds in the opening minutes of the contest, Duke recovered to control the glass, outrebounding the Bulldogs 42-28. After managing just seven rebounds through his first three games of the season, sophomore Amile Jefferson nearly doubled his season total with six boards against UNC-Asheville.

Duke football sends its seniors off in style with 48-30 win against Miami

(11/18/13 1:06pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Duke's 48-30 victory against Miami Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium was more than the team's sixth win in a row. It was more than the victory that elevated the Blue Devils into the AP top 25. It was even more than the team's second win against a ranked opponent this season, something Duke has not done since 1971.It was the perfect sendoff for the Blue Devils' senior class."Very special seniors," head coach David Cutcliffe said. "I couldn't be happier for a group of players and their families that were able to celebrate their last game in Wallace Wade.... A great tribute to what those guys—fourth and fifth and our sixth year senior—have done in their careers."Boasting a young squad, Duke has just 11 scholarship seniors this season. But despite lacking strength in numbers, the most experienced Blue Devils each played a role in Saturday's victory.Holding Miami to three field goals on its four trips inside the red zone, Duke's defensive front featured fifth-year seniors Justin Foxx and Sydney Sarmiento and sixth-year senior Kenny Anunike, who was a member of Cutcliffe's first recruiting class back in 2008.Redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell had five pass breakups despite playing through an ankle injury that has hobbled him in the second half of this season. He started alongside his classmate, Garett Patterson, who registered two tackles.Juwan Thompson, recently promoted to team captain by Cutcliffe, recorded two tackles on special teams, and fifth-year seniors Dave Harding and Perry Simmons led the Blue Devil offensive line that anchored a 358-yard rushing performance."I'm proud of those guys," said redshirt junior running back Josh Snead, who ran for a career-high 138 yards on the evening. "They've been together for about three years now, so they have a lot of experience working with each other. They just said, 'Trust in us, we're going to get the job done up front.'"Whether they had been here for four, five or six years, Duke's seniors have had front-row seats to the resurrection of this football program. They had all seen one—if not two—3-9 seasons. Last year, this group played a crucial role in the Blue Devils' first bowl trip since 1994. Now Duke's senior leaders are in the midst of the ultimate victory lap for a team that is ranked 25th in the nation and has already matched its win total from its last winning season, which also occurred in 1994.With two regular-season games to play, the Blue Devils can cement a trip to the ACC Championship game with back-to-back wins, which would give Duke its first 10-win season in program history. But that hasn't stopped players like Cockrell from remembering this team's humble beginnings. The experienced leaders on his first Duke squad had seen winless seasons and were part of a program that notched just eight victories in eight years."It is the culmination of a lot of hard work from guys like Matt Daniels, Abraham Kromah, Chris Rwabukamba—guys that came before me and kind of led the way and got the ball rolling," Cockrell said. "For me, I'm fortunate to be here right now."Duke's last win on Senior Day came all the way back on Nov. 8, 2003. As the Blue Devils limped toward the finish of a 4-8 season, just 12,976 people were in the stands at Wallace Wade Stadium that day.Saturday's contest was attended by more than 30,000 strong, and when the clock struck zero Duke students stormed the field to celebrate their team controlling its own destiny in the ACC's Coastal Division race."It's a great win to send us off. Another win over a top 25 opponents, and then well on our way with our sights set on Charlotte," Harding said. "It's just exciting and it's great to see the fruits of our labor. It just speaks to what Coach Cut has been able to do here. It's building a program, and it's great to see the steps forward that we're making."

Duke football ranked in latest national polls

(11/17/13 10:55pm)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Duke is ranked.Adding a 48-30 victory against then-No. 24 Miami to increase its winning streak to six games, the Blue Devils were ranked No. 25 in the country in this week's AP Poll, receiving 94 votes. It is the first time Duke has been ranked in the AP top 25 since Dec. 6, 1994, when the Blue Devils were also ranked 25th in the nation."It's been a long drought," head coach David Cutcliffe said. "We were one of those teams that when you read an article that didn't have anything to do with us, it would comment on how many weeks or years or whatever it was since we'd been in the top 25 poll."Duke barely snuck into the AP top 25, receiving 17 more votes than an 8-2 upstart Minnesota squad. The Blue Devils received more votes than a number of college football powerhouses this week, including Notre Dame, Texas, Georgia and Nebraska.Ranked on 53 of the 65 ballots, according to, Duke was pegged as high as No. 21 by Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Six writers also listed the Blue Devils at No. 22.Duke spent eight weeks ranked in the top 25 during the 1994 season, which it finished 8-4, reaching as high as No. 16. With two games remaining on their schedule against Wake Forest and North Carolina, the Blue Devils can reach their first ACC Championship game in program history by posting back-to-back wins.In other poll-related news, Duke was ranked 24th in this week's USA Today Coaches Poll with 131 points. The Blue Devils sit one spot ahead of 25th-ranked Southern Cal. After yesterday's win, Cutcliffe, who is a voter in the USA Today Coaches Poll, said that this would be the first week this season he cast a vote for his own team."I think I have enough respect for our team. I'm going to vote for our team—I can tell you that," Cutcliffe said after yesterday's win. "I think we've earned that respect... but I can't control what anybody else thinks. Again, if you don't keep playing good, that doesn't matter anyway."

Duke football upsets No. 24 Miami, controls Coastal Division destiny

(11/17/13 5:06am)

____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Duke is on its way to being a ranked football team.The Blue Devils earned their sixth straight win and matched the team's win total from its last winning season with a 48-30 victory against No. 24 Miami on Senior Day at Wallace Wade Stadium. Seeing significant playing time in the contest, quarterback Brandon Connette lead the way for Duke with five touchdowns—four rushing and one throwing.Brandon Connette accounted for five touchdowns as Duke upset No. 23 Miami for its eighth win of the season.The victory was just Duke's second win against Miami in program history, and first since 1976."They've earned confidence. They know that we're a good football team," Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said. "Nobody has given it to them, nobody has declared it. No coach has declared it. They have earned that confidence."With the win, the Blue Devils (8-2, 4-2 in the ACC) control their own destiny in pursuit of the ACC's Coastal Division crown, and could make a trip to the ACC Championship game by posting wins against Wake Forest and North Carolina in their final two contests."At the beginning of the season, when we got to Greensboro, one of the reporters asked me what my goals were and I said, 'To go to the ACC Championship,'" redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell said. "At the beginning of the season we were picked last.... We continued to play hard and believe in the process, and now we're in a position where we can go out there and control our destiny."After struggling offensively in wins against Virginia Tech and N.C. State, the Blue Devils utilized both of their two quarterbacks against the Hurricanes (7-3, 3-3). Duke's duo moved in and out of the offense seamlessly, combining for 18-of-24 passing."I don't know whoever said if you've got two quarterbacks it means you don't have one," Cutcliffe said. "I don't think they've ever met Brandon and Anthony."Despite the play of its two quarterbacks, it was the running game that paced the Blue Devils. Duke picked up 358 yards on the ground for the team's highest single-game rushing total of the 21st century. Redshirt junior Josh Snead led the way with 138 yards, breaking a number of big runs including a 56-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that set up Connette's final touchdown scamper to give the Blue Devils a 38-30 lead."We felt like we needed to make a commitment to running the ball," Cutcliffe said. "We felt like our backs were the healthiest they've been going in, and we like our matchup on that side."Miami scored the game's first 10 points and seized the momentum early when wide receiver Stacy Coley ran back a Will Monday punt 79 yards to the end zone as Duke surrendered a punt return touchdown for the second straight week.Starter Anthony Boone settled the offense down, completing three passes on the ensuing drive to set up Connette's first touchdown run of the day and get the Blue Devils on the board.Trailing 17-7, it was another timely turnover that helped get Duke back into the game. Freshman safety Deondre Singleton was the beneficiary of a tipped pass from Miami's Stephen Morris, reeling it in to set up the Blue Devils' second touchdown drive and pull his team within three.Duke's defense ramped its play in the second quarter as the Blue Devils limited the Hurricanes to just a field goal in the next 20:11. A Shaquille Powell touchdown catch and Connette touchdown runs in that span gave Duke control with a 28-20 lead."Even when we have a bad play, you get in the red zone they're competing on the next play," Cutcliffe said. "And we kept them out of the end zone a bunch, and that was huge in that ballgame."Miami's Herb Waters broke a 50-yard touchdown on a screen as the Hurricanes scored 10 unanswered points to take a 30-28 lead, but Miami would not put points on the board for the remainder of the contest.As the final seconds ticked off the clock at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke students stormed the field for the second season in a row. Last year's celebration came when the Blue Devils defeated North Carolina to become bowl eligible for the first time in 18 years. This time around, Duke students were celebrating a football team that could be on its way to a division title."I'm very grateful to the crowd—the students—in their response to these seniors," Cutcliffe said. "A great tribute to what those guys... have done in their careers."