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Duke Blue Devils - Offensive Preview

The Jayhawk defense stumbled a bit against FCS SEMO last week. Can the unit rebound against the Duke Blue Devils offense this Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium?

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports


In 2013 Duke was the epitome of a balanced offense. The Blue Devils found moderate success on both fronts averaging 4.6 yards per rush and 7.4 yards per pass. The Blue Devils gained a season high in yardage against Texas A&M producing 8.1 yards per play including 6.3 yards per rush. They recorded a season low 3.3 yards per play in the ACC Championship game against FSU. Unsteady QB play nearly derailed the 2013 campaign. The Fighting Cutcliffes featured dual QB’s who finished the year throwing for 25 TD’s and 26 interceptions. By season’s end junior Anthony Boone had established himself as the lead man under center and enters his senior year as the sole QB. The offensive line looks to remain strong as the LT, C and RG from last year’s squad will be back.  In all, Duke returns 7 starters on offense including the teams leading receiver and rusher from the 33rd rated F/+ offense in the nation in 2013.

The 2014 edition of the Duke Blue Devils will look to replace several key receivers, especially TE Braxton Deaver who tore an ACL early in fall camp. The receiving corps features two seniors and a junior with plenty of experience however behind them are three sophomores who caught a combined 20 passes last season. On the rushing front, the Devils had a four man platoon last season and look to continue that approach. So far this season four backs have at least nine carries.


QB Boone has performed well so far in 2014 completing 67% of his passes for 257 yards per game and 5 TD’s with zero interceptions. WR Jamison Crowder will be featured heavily in the passing game and will see at least 15 targets. RB’s Josh Snead and Shaquille Powell are averaging 4.6 yards per carry and complement each other very well in the run game.


Just to reiterate these are non-garbage time goals which, if completed, I think will show that the defense is at least meeting expectations (or hopefully exceeding them)

  • Opponent Offensive Efficiency - The Blue Devils compiled 5.9 yards per play in 2013 and are currently averaging 6.0. With the balanced offense using play-action to set up big plays I hesitate to be too aggressive here. I think that keeping Duke on par with their current average is within expectation for this defense. Maximum of 6.0 yards/play before garbage time (300 yards on 50 plays, 360 yards on 60 plays, 420 yards on 70 plays).
  • Turnovers – This Duke team has yet to turn the ball over but given the nature of their QB play recently, I anticipate that if we can get a decent pass rush going this secondary may give Boone some problems. I’m looking for at least 2 turnovers.
  • Opponent Redzone Efficiency – In 2013 Duke scored a touchdown in 7 out of 10 trips. I think holding the Devils to under 60% is within the ability of this team.


Garbage time officially kicked in when KU recovered the final onside kick at 1:33 seconds remaining.

  • Opponent Offensive Efficiency - 4.2 yards/play: 6.6 – Fail, The defensive siesta in the second and third quarters really destroyed this goal (or maybe I was just too aggressive for this defense).
  • Turnovers - 2 turnovers: 3 – Pass, would like to see the defense attempt to strip the ball, but I’ll take capitalizing on QB mistakes any day.
  • Opponent Redzone Efficiency 40% TD’s: 50% - Fail, This one doesn't sting nearly as bad as 6.6 yards per play.

I'll check back in next week to review the goals for Duke and preview Central Michigan!