Duke Quarterbacks Set Tone, Blue Devils Finally Meet Some Expectations
For at least one game the misery that has been the 2010 season was forgotten for the Duke Blue Devils.
There is no mistaking that this season's version of the Blue Devils has not lived up to the excitement that preceded it. Many including the coaches were expecting Duke to be in a position to play in a bowl.
And as badly as the Blue Devils have been, they mathematically still have a chance, albeit a very very slim one.
But Saturday's surprising victory over a respectable Navy team who is likely bowl bound, and who had trounced Notre Dame a week earlier was something to at least marvel at for a while.
It isn't shocking that Duke won, but more so how they won. The Blue Devils for all intent and purposes dominated this game. They controlled almost every facet of the game.
Navy barely had more rushing yards than Duke, and the Blue Devils controlled the clock against an otherwise potent Navy option that is use to owning the time of possession.
Duke's defense was a major factor and controlled the game throughout.
They even played a part in Navy's valiant attempts at a come from behind victory by assisting them with numerous defensive penalties, which turned the normally methodical and slow-paced option offense into a quick-strike one.
Still Duke managed to pull off the victory due in large part to the outstanding play of quarterback Sean Renfree.
It still boggles the mind to see a stat line that includes 28-of-30 passing, 300 plus yards and three touchdowns, two of which were rushing.
Duke fans can say what they will about former Blue Devil great Thad Lewis, but he never had a game like that. In fact only one other Duke quarterback, D. Bryant in 2000, has ever had a game where they was that efficient throwing the football.
Even better for Renfree, was the fact that there were no turnovers, something Duke has been as bad at as anyone at in the country this year.
It was clearly Renfree's best game since the opener against Elon. Lost in Renfree's solid play is the play of his backup and occasionally goal-line threat Brandon Connette.
The true freshman has provided the Blue Devils with a nice change of pace option at quarterback. He is a tough hard runner who helped Duke pick up several first downs on the ground. Some have compared him to a poor-man's Tim Tebow as he almost looks to initiate contact when he runs.
David Cutcliffe has done a nice job in the last two games mixing in the pass when Connette has seen action to throw the defenses off as they typically key on the run when he is in there. Cutcliffe said in his post game interview that Connette can throw the ball too and insists he isn't just a one trick pony.
For Duke going forward they have four games, at home against Virginia and Boston College, at Georgia Tech, and at home against Carolina.
A week ago and bowl hopes were non existent, after a win though everyone is riding high and the hope is still alive. To do it though, Duke would have to win all four of their remaining games and while they certainly can the likelihood has to be small.
It is easy to get too high after a win,especially if you haven't beaten an FBS school all season and are coming off a six-game losing streak.But none of the remaining teams on Duke's schedule are unbeatable, however beating all of them would be a monumental task.
Still if they somehow pulled it off it might be the greatest job of coaching Cutcliffe has done in his three-year tenure and that certainly is saying something.
But even if they don't, another win or two shows Duke is heading in the right direction and it is only a matter of time before they finally get to go bowling again.
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