Duke-Maryland: Blue Devils Hope to Not Fear the Turtle This Halloween

Mike KlineAnalyst IOctober 20, 2009

DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 29:  Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis #9 of the Duke Blue Devils drops back to pass the ball during the game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Wallace Wade Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Over the past several years, Duke Football has been one of the scariest things to watch in college football.

But under the new regime of Coach David Cutcliffe, the Blue Devils are hoping to strike fear in the hearts of their opponents for a change.

After dismantling NC State two weeks ago, and enjoying a bye week, Duke is back to work this week preparing to host the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday.

The Terps' slogan Fear the Turtle hasn't really held up this year. They are an unimpressive 2-5 (1-2 ACC) so far.

But make no mistake, despite all of Duke's progress in Cutcliffe's second year, don't expect he or the Blue Devils to overlook Maryland.

If they do, you can expect a day full of horrors this Halloween in Durham.

Despite being a slight favorite going into the game, Duke still has little room for error. If they come out flat, which they have tended to do after bye weeks in the past, they are setting themselves up for a fall.

Cutcliffe is hoping to fill the stands at Wallace Wade with Duke fans for a change. Chances of that seem somewhat higher after impressive performances against Virginia Tech and NC State in consecutive weeks.

But if Duke doesn't build on those performances, expect the fans still warming up to Blue Devils football to be scared away in a hurry.

Duke will need to continue to bring the same hard working opportunistic play into Saturday's conference show down.

Winning consecutive ACC games would seem more like Christmas than Halloween at this point. The gifts of course being above .500 and one step closer to reaching their ultimate goal of a bowl berth.

Just think how scared most triangle fans would have been if the ACC experts had seriously predicted that Duke had an as good if not better shot at being bowl eligible as the other North Carolina schools at this point.

For that to be a reality though Duke must get by Maryland first and if they can avoid the common mistakes that have plagued them year after year they can avoid the Fear of the Turtle this Halloween.