Duke at Army: Game preview

September 12, 2009 

Tudor's take

It's not so much about the game, or even the opponent.

This one is all about what's going on inside Duke's helmets. The Blue Devils have more talent, and preparing a defense to face Army is as simple as college football game-planning can possibly get: Stop the run.

Infinitely more important is the status of Duke's ego. After last week's panic against Richmond in Durham, there's evidence not all that much has changed on the confidence front with David Cutcliffle's arrival.

If Duke can't win this one, we can forget that 4-0 (now 3-1) September song. It'll be 1-3, followed by Virginia Tech, followed by "Singler on the wing, dribbles left, looks inside to Thomas. He's covered. Swings it back to Scheyer at top of the key behind a Plumlee screen. Three on the way!" Duke, 23-21.

Observations

Bounce back?

After drawing their largest home crowd since 2001, the Blue Devils head on the road to Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y. They hold a 10-9-1 overall record against the Black Knights and won 20-17 the last time the teams met, in 1997.

The Devils look to rebound from an uninspired performance in their season-opening 24-16 loss against Richmond, after which coach David Cutcliffe said his team never played with competitive zeal or consistency.

Trouble kicking

In their first game, the Devils had a punt blocked, and junior kicker Nick Maggio missed field-goal attempts from 38 and 36 yards. To open the season, he was listed with junior Will Snyderwine as a starter. Cutcliffe said this week that the two will share duties until he makes a decision otherwise.

Player to watch

Ali Villanueva

Army, senior, WR, 283, 6-10

Duke cornerbacks and safeties may have their hands full defending a player at least a foot taller than the Blue Devils' starters. During his first two seasons, Villanueva played on the defensive line.

He was moved to the offensive line last season, and this spring he was moved outside to the receiver position. He started in Army's opener but does not have a career catch.

By the numbers

Duke

Army

16

scoring

27

24

scoring defense

14

19

avg. rushing yds.

300

125

opp. avg. rush yds.

40

350

avg. passing yds.

8

157

opp. avg. pass yds.

183

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