Duke's season is just about over, and with its bowl hopes gone, all it can do is try to play spoiler.
Left in the Blue Devils' two-game season are Georgia Tech and North Carolina. Tech still is a win away from becoming bowl eligible but hopes to claim that status Saturday.
Duke (3-7, 1-5 ACC) has played two option-oriented teams already this year in Navy and Army and is 1-1 against those teams.
Georgia Tech (5-5, 3-4 ACC), though, is the defending conference champion and still has a lot of talent to give the Blue Devils all sorts of trouble. Duke's defense has struggled, even in the win against Navy, to stop opposing offenses, giving up 37.1 points per game.
Even in a win against Virginia two weeks ago, the Blue Devils gave up more than 600 yards of offense.
The Yellow Jackets are without starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who was lost for the rest of the year with an injury. Duke, though, is also beat up on offense.
At this point in the season, these two teams are underachieving and desperate, and whoever wants this game the most is likely to win it.
Keys for Duke
The second verse is the same as the first: Duke has to keep the Yellow Jackets off the field and off the scoreboard.
The Blue Devils offense behind quarterback Sean Renfree has come alive in the last three weeks, though it didn't show against Boston College last week. If it can put up some points early and often and get out to a lead, it would force Georgia Tech to play from behind.
That is always an advantage when playing a run first team. To do that Duke has to find a way to generate more than the four yards rushing it did last week and hold on to the ball.
The defense also needs to find a way to slow down the option attack at the same time. That effort would be aided greatly if Duke's offense stays on the field instead.
Like any option team, it wants to score first. If it does and the Yellow Jackets are able to control the clock, this shouldn't be that tough of a game.
Still, Duke is talented if young and can win the game. Georgia Tech cannot take anything for granted and will have to play hard to come out with the win.
If they keep their offense on the field and force Duke to turn the ball over, they should come out on top.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 42, Duke 28
This game will be close at the half and for a while in the third quarter. Ultimately the Yellow Jackets will force some turnovers and blow the game open in the second half to come out with the win.
Georgia Tech has more at stake in this game, so that should motivate them to not overlook the Blue Devils, who are just looking to end their season with something positive to build on for next year.
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