First Look at the Duke Blue Devils

Written by: TJ Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)

Head Coach: David Cutcliffe

Record: 7-5 (4-4 in ACC)

S&P+ Rankings: Offense – 91/Defense – 45/Total - 74


@ Tulane – 37-7 (W)

NC Central – 55-0 (W)

Northwestern – 10-19 (L)

Georgia Tech – 34-20 (W)

Boston College – 9-7 (W)

@ Army – 44-3 (W)

@Virginia Tech – 45-43 (W – 4OT)

Miami-FL – 27-30 (L)

@ North Carolina – 31-66 (L)

Pittsburgh – 13-31 (L)

@ Virginia – 34-42 (L)

@ Wake Forest – 27-21 (W)

Players to Know

QB – Thomas Sirk – 6’4” JR – Sirk missed the Blue Devils loss to Pitt but has started the other 11 games. He threw for 2,462 yards with a 60% completion rate and had 15 TDs and 6 INTs. Sirk is also the team’s leading rusher, carrying the ball 133 times for 701 yards and six touchdowns.

RB – Shaquille Powell – SR – Powell leads all Duke running backs with 534 yards on 122 carries. His season-high game total is 98 yards against UNC but he didn’t exceed 46 yards in the three games afterwards. Powell is joined in the backfield by Shaun Wilson (321 yards on 75 carries) and Jela Duncan (370 yards on 56 carries, average of 6.6 ypc).

WR – This is a balanced receiving corps with four pass catchers garnering more than 50 targets and gaining more than 450 yards. Max McCaffrey leads the group with 48 catches for 601 yards and five touchdowns. T.J. Rahming has 40 catches for 522 yards, Johnell Barnes has 34 catches for 411 yards and Anthony Nash (6’5”) caught 31 passes for 471 yards.

OL – According to the S&P+ ratings, Duke has the fourth-best adjusted sack rate in the nation. They are led by 1st Team All ACC center Matt Skura.

Defense – Safety Jeremy Cash is the best player on a pretty solid defense. He earned a 1st Team All ACC spot at safety and was second on the team in tackles and first on the team in tackles for loss (18). Dwayne Norman is the top tackler (80.5 tackles) and he landed on the 3rd Team All-ACC squad.

Matchup at a Glance

The Duke Blue Devils started out quite well as they raced out to a 6-1 record. However, they have lost four of their last five and sputtered to a 7-5 finish. Duke has a solid defense that defends the run much better than they defend the pass. The offense hasn’t been very good but they have a dual-threat quarterback and four receivers that have proven capable of making plays. This is a winnable matchup for Hoosiers in what appears to be a pretty evenly-matched game. Hoosier Huddle will have a ton of preview content including a much more detailed “primer” on the Pinstripe Bowl so check back often!