For years, Blue Devil nation has always been known for it’s prolifically gifted basketball program that exudes dominance year in and year out. Until recently, the same could not be said for a struggling and anemic Blue Devil football team that hadn’t beaten a ranked team on the road since 1971. Worse still, the Blue Devils haven’t won a bowl game since the Cotton Bowl Classic in 1961. However, this resurgent and resurrected football organization is looking to rewrite history as they recently beat a formidable Virginia Tech football team in a defensive battle for the ages. While it wasn’t a decisive victory for the Blue Devils, it was a well-deserved win for a team that needed to prove that they were the real deal.
While the ACC hasn’t historically been known for having dominant college football programs, this year looks to be a trendsetter for a conference that is currently trending upward in terms of competitiveness. Between a surging Florida State team that seems to have all the answers and a veteran led Clemson squad that is still fighting for a National Championship berth, the ACC is conference riff with determined and driven athletes. Although the Blue Devils can hardly be considered as prestigious or supremely dominant as these well-crafted teams, they have exponentially raised expectations for their organization that has continually been faced with a series of losing seasons and underwhelming disappointments.
Now, the quietly confident Blue Devils are sitting at 6-2 and look to garner bowl eligibility for the second consecutive time, something that has never happened in the existence of the Blue Devils football program. While the Blue Devils winning ways is nothing short of a miraculous achievement, it is their recent offensive innovations that has allowed this team to stay in games that seem to be out of reach. So far, the Blue Devils dual quarterback system has allowed them to string several successful offensive drives together which allows them to dominate in ways that they have never been able to do before. Although some teams have been struggled to properly utilize the dual quarterback system because one passer usually as an edge over the other, the Blue Devils have found two solid quarterbacks who are evenly matched. This was made evident when the Blue Devils bounced back against the Virginia Cavaliers when they were down 22-0 near the end of the 2nd quarter.
Slowly, the Blue Devils mounted an impressive comeback as quarterbacks Anthony Boone and Brandon Connette each had two touchdown passes that allowed their team to score 35 straight points in their 35-22 victory over the Cavaliers. While Connette has more touchdown passes than Boone, both of these passers are fairly accurate with Connette completing 64.4% of his passes and Boone completing 62.3% of his passes. Although these numbers may not jump out at anyone who follows the quarterbacks of the Pac-12 or SEC, it is undoubtedly impressive for a Blue Devils team that has figured out how to allow these two young quarterbacks to play successfully in tandem. As a result, this team has a tenacious offense that has scored under 28 points only twice this season (this happened when the Devils lost to Georgia Tech and in their most recent victory against Virginia Tech).
As the Blue Devils prepare for the remainder of their schedule, they can take comfort in knowing that three out of their last four games are against teams that sit at .500 or lower. However, if this team really wants to show what they are made of, they’ll have to go up against a 7th ranked Miami Hurricanes team. While this may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, even for the scrappy Blue Devils, the Hurricanes have been on the verge of being upset for the past two weeks. In their last two games, the Hurricanes have won by a combined score of seven points. If the Blue Devils can continue to excel offensively, they have a chance to upset a finicky Hurricanes squad.
When all is said and done, the Duke Blue Devils have finally crafted a respectable and determined football team that can win when you least expect. While the accomplishments of their up and coming football organization may never come close to eclipsing what their basketball team has done, it is still an important milestone for die hard Blue Devil fans that have been patiently waiting to have a solid football team that they can root for week in and week out.