Duke football: Running game leads to first win

duke football

Duke football was finally able to get a running game going for the first time this season. Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson didn’t just run well, they both had career performances. Duke was able to beat Syracuse this past Saturday and win 38-24.

Running game

Durant and Jackson both played an outstanding game against Syracuse to help Duke get its first win of the season. Jackson had 125 rushing yards in the first half alone, while Durant ran for 102 with one touchdown. Duke finished with 247 rushing yards in the first half. I’ve been saying for weeks Duke had to find a way to get its running game going, and it finally broke through.

This was a good morale booster and something the Blue Devils will be able to build from for the rest of the season. Syracuse adjusted its game plan to stop the run game and while it was successful, both Jackson and Durant were put up a respectable second half. Jackson finished with a total of 163 rushing yards while adding one catch for 13 yards but had one fumble. Durant finished with 163 rushing yards and two scores.

Chase Brice

Chase Brice had a pretty good performance as well but struggled again to take care of the football. Brice finished the game with 270 yards, threw for two touchdowns and ran for 18 yards on five carries. However, he still accounted for two of Duke’s four total turnovers by throwing and interception and fumbling the ball. The fumble wasn’t really Brice’s fault as he was hit from his blindside that resulted in the fumble.

One interesting thing that happened in the game, Gunnar Holmberg came in after Brice was hit and fumbled. There didn’t seem to be any indication Brice was hurt and was seen wearing his helmet on the sideline. Holmberg was only in the game for one offensive possession that ended with him fumbling the ball. Brice came back into the game after. Perhaps head coach David Cutcliffe sat Brice down to calm him down or make sure he was OK.

Duke defense

Once again, the Blue Devils defense helped bail out its offense by mostly stopping Syracuse’s offense after a turnover occurred. The defense still gave up some big plays, but it was a key to this win as well. Without its defensive stops, Duke more than likely doesn’t win this game. The offense must find a way to take care of the ball. The defense wasn’t able to force any turnovers but was able to get an amazing six sacks in the game.

Looking forward

Duke’s plan for the rest of the season has the be to commit to the run. In this game, Jackson and Durant had a total of 53 carries between them. This duo has the stamina to keep up with the workload, and Duke needs to utilize it. This will also take the tremendous amount of pressure Brice is feeling right now. This win is something that can give Duke football momentum and a clear game plan for the rest of the season.