After a last-minute loss to Pittsburgh, the Blue Devils turn their focus to a Georgia Tech squad that has been outscored 90-36 in conference play. The Blue Zone gives you three keys to Duke’s matchup against the Yellow Jackets:
1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Following Duke’s loss to the Panthers last weekend, head coach David Cutcliffe took blame for trying to do too much with the Blue Devils’ offense in the first half. Quentin Harris tossed two interceptions over those first two quarters as Duke entered halftime down 19-3. Cutcliffe reverted back to a simpler offensive set over the final 30 minutes, but by then it was too little too late. The Blue Devils nearly pulled off the miraculous comeback but were unable to stop Pittsburgh’s game-winning drive.
The lesson entering this weekend? Keep it simple. If the team returns to the offense that dropped 45 points at Virginia Tech, a victory this Saturday should be all but guaranteed.
2. It’s Deon time
Entering the 2019 campaign as the lone Blue Devil on the preseason All-ACC team, Deon Jackson has struggled so far this season. The junior tailback is averaging only three yards per carry, though he does have a touchdown in each of Duke’s last three contests. Against Georgia Tech, however, Jackson should finally have his opportunity to shine.
The Yellow Jackets’ defense is dreadful against the run, allowing just under 246 yards per game, third-most in the FBS. If Jackson is going to find his groove at any point this season, now is the time.
3. A test of heart
Last week’s loss was heartbreaking, there’s no doubt about it. But how Duke responds to that defeat will show a lot about what this team is really made of. Coming into this game with a vengeance could be the start of a motivated tear through the rest of the Blue Devils’ ACC schedule. If they come out of the locker room dejected, however, it could be a rough next couple of weeks of football in Durham.
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