What Happened To Duke Football?
I mentioned that crazy ending to the 2015 Miami vs Duke football game in the previous section.
I’m trying to figure out what happened to Duke Football since that game…
It was 6 years ago yesterday (10/31/2015) — I was excited about the program (I love a good underdog story), and managed to get Pop (who otherwise dislikes everything Duke) to join me in the excitement.
That evening, with just under 6 minutes left in the game, trailing 24-12, the Blue Devils completed an improbable comeback, taking a 27-24 lead.
It kind of reminded me of that ECU/NC State Peach Bowl game on January 1, 1992.
Except, there were :06 seconds left and Duke had to kick the ball to Miami.
You all know what happened next.
I was so certain of a Duke win, Pop and I were headed to the car, only to get caught up in the chaos in a tailgate section just outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Everyone who stopped by the tent stared at the TV in bewildered disbelief.
Duke entered that game 6-1, riding the wave of 19 wins in the previous two seasons — including an ACC Coastal Division title.
You could feel the excitement in Wallace Wade Stadium.
Yes, Wallace Wade saw near-capacity crowds.
From that game to now, Duke is 31-43 overall and an alarming 12-38 in conference play.
What happened at Duke
I don’t know, but I’m happy to offer some “Hindsight is 20/20” guesses:
- Losing offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to Florida at the end of the 2013 season (the season Duke reached the ACC Championship Game). Roper seemed to get the best out of both Sean Renfree and Anthony Boone during of the peak of Duke’s run.
Scottie Montgomery proceeded Roper and I think the general consensus was that his play-calling was “underwhelming”. I got the sense that folks were happy he left for ECU.
- WR drop off. Following the stellar career of Jamison Crowder (yes, him), there was a noticeable drop off in the play of Duke’s WR. This was really evident in Miami’s return to Wallace Wade in 2017 where Canes DBs bullied Duke’s WRs all night.
- Not as talented (and/or deep) in the trenches. During Duke’s 2012-2014 run, their OL and DL were good enough to compete. That doesn’t look to be the case now.
- Daniel Jones declaring early — I’m not sure anyone expected Jones to leave following his junior season. His departure seemed to really catch Coach Cutcliffe by surprise.
Especially considering all Duke QBs before Jones — Renfree, Boone, Thaddeus Lewis — all stayed four years.
- Misses at QB post-Jones. Chase Brice and Gunner Holmberg were (and are currently), um, not getting it done.
All of that is off my chest now, and I feel a little better.
I’ll be back with football picks and I hope we’ll be celebrating a Braves World Series title.
Whatever the over/under is for “Wake Forest at North Carolina”, I’m taking the “over”.