David Cutcliffe on bowl eligibility: A burden is off

lkeeley@newsobserver.comOctober 23, 2012 

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Duke head coach David Cutcliffe cheers on his team during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game played between the Duke Blue Devils and the Florida International Panthers at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, NC on Sept. 1, 2012.

CHRIS SEWARD — cseward@newsobserver.com

One Winter 2007 morning, David Cutcliffe saw the potential in Duke football. Saturday, everyone saw it, too. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

While the Blue Devils (and this blog) have already turned their attention to next Saturday's game at Florida State, here's one more post on Duke's bowl-clinching win over North Carolina.

First, if you haven't read Luke DeCock's two columns, one from Saturday night and one today on what the win means to recent Duke football alumni, check those out.

I wrote a story for today's paper detailing the beginning of Duke's trek to six wins. The origins date back to the wee hours of one 2007 winter morning, when David Cutcliffe sat alone in an empty Wallace Wade Stadium. After his peaceful moment, he went through his scheduled interviews and was eventually offered the Duke head coaching job. The rest is history.

Emotions were obviously running high in the aftermath of the 33-30 win over UNC. But which emotions? After the game, Cutcliffe was asked if finally earning win No. 6 took a burden off the team.

"It’s only natural that that’s what everybody around them was talking to them about because of the length of time we have not been in a bowl game," Cutcliffe said about his players. "I would be naïve to not think they weren’t hearing that everywhere they go. That’s a great thing. I saw it in the senior’s faces particularly, to have it behind you. What I expect is that there is a burden gone, but there’s a hunger that needs to be created that’s greater."

If you have access to a replay of the game, look closely at Sean Renfree's face on the sideline after he throws the game-winning touchdown pass. You'll see tears.

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