Duke Builds Confidence in Win but Still Has Work To Do

Mike KlineAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2009

At least for one night, Duke appeared to be capable of dominating a football game, even if it was against an inferior opponent.

With the exception of the second quarter where the visiting NCCU Eagles pulled within one touchdown, Duke never really was in danger of losing Saturday night's game.

That is the good news.

The bad news is they are still banged-up and they are headed into conference play against Virginia Tech, who had a pretty big win against some team from Florida.

There are several positives Duke can take away from their performance Saturday night.


Lots of Offense and at last a running game

For the first time all year, Duke showed a balanced offense, with both a solid running and passing game.

Thad Lewis looked sharp for the most part and freshman Desmond Scott showed he was ready to step up and make a contribution in his first action of the season.

Even Patrick Kurunwune, normally the third running back behind Re'quan Boyette and Jay Hollingsworth, ran hard.

With Boyette and Hollingsworth both sitting out with injuries, Scott got the start and made the most of his debut rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown.

The big question is was the offensive output a result of improvements Duke has made or is it simply that Duke was facing inferior talent?

That question will be answered next week when the Hokies come to town.

It will be interesting to see what Scott can produce against a Bud Foster led defense.


Duke's Defense looked stout

Duke's defense, who was blitzed last week against Kansas, really put the clamps down on Central. Aside from one good drive sparked by a long pass in the second quarter, Duke's defense didn't allow much.

Linebacker Vincent Rey also returned a fumble for a touchdown late in the third quarter essentially eliminating any chances of an Eagles comeback.

Not bad considering the Blue Devils were without their best defensive player, Vince Oghobaase, who missed his second straight game with a leg injury.

The only concern against Central leading up to the Virginia Tech game will be the fact that Duke's secondary got beat a couple times with long passes. Just imagine if the Hokies are able to open up their passing game in addition to their potent rushing attack?

Duke will definitely need to sure that up before next week.

Ultimately, Duke will walk away from Saturday's game with a renewed since of confidence. However, they still have a lot of work to do to get ready for the nationally ranked Hokies and what is shaping up to be a potentially brutal conference schedule.

Last year's game in Blacksburg without Thad Lewis was a close one, but Duke's lack of offense ultimately prevented Duke from pulling off the upset.

If Duke wants any chance against the Hokies next week they will have to get some of their injured players back, and get better in a lot of critical areas such as run defense and pass protection. And they better do it quickly.

Virginia Tech is riding high, and short of a major let down I'm not expecting the Hokies to walk into Wallace Wade next Saturday with any ideas of loosing to the Devils.

But after this week in college football stranger things have happened.