Duke football: 5 ways to finish with winning season

Duke football was able to get its very first win of the season against Syracuse this past weekend 38-24. Can Duke turn its season around and finish with a with a winning record? Here are five ways they can accomplish that.

Running Game

Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson helped Duke get that win last week and were the stars of the game. Jackson and Durant combined for a total of 332 rushing yards last week. They won’t be able to do that every week, but Duke clearly had a plan to run the ball, and it worked. Duke has been trying to get that part of its game to work, and it finally broke through last week. The Blue Devils need to let Jackson and Durant be workhorses for them this year, if it wants a chance for at least a bowl game appearance this year.


Another thing that has been a strong point of this team is its defense. Duke’s defense has always kept the Blue Devils in games this year. The defense forces turnovers and makes stops after its offense gives up the ball. This defense has played amazing for the most part this season. It will have to keep getting sacks and forcing turnovers to help Duke try to get a winning season along with a bowl game appearance.

Chase Brice

Chase Brice looked better these past two weeks. The Blue Devils will need a consistent performance from him, because Duke football will go as far as Brice can take them. This reminds me of the Blake Bortles situation for the Jacksonville Jaguars a few years ago. Everyone knew if Bortles didn’t turn the ball over, they had a good chance to win. It nearly worked for them, as they would go to the AFC Championship game that year but lost.

Brice needs to play smart and make sure he cuts down on the turnovers. If he does that, Duke may be able to pull this off and at least salvage the season before it’s too late. Brice stepped up and played better against Virginia Tech and Syracuse. Let’s see if he can do it again in what will be a tough matchup against NC State.


Duke has had trouble keeping the ball and winning the turnover battle this year. It must cut down on those. Only one of Brice’s turnovers was his fault, as the other was caused by a hit he took from his blindside. Brice has been the one to give up the ball most of this season, so he needs to work on playing smart. He needs to take a sack or throw it away if nothing is open. It’s something he did well last week. I didn’t see him forcing it to much. The offensive line must give him some time as well, so Brice has enough time to make a read.

Time of possession

Duke won the time of possession battle for the first time this season. If you win the time of possession, you more than likely win the game. It’s that simple. Duke controlled the clock last week because of the performances of Jackson and Durant. If Duke football is going to have any shot at beating NC State, the running game must be the focal point again and needs to be successful.