Duke vs. N.C. State: what worked, what needs work, what’s next

Posted by Laura Keeley on November 11, 2013 

DeVon Edwards had not one but two interceptions that resulted in touchdowns.

CHUCK LIDDY — Chuck Liddy

Duke (7-2, 3-2 in the ACC)

beat N.C. State 38-20

game story: DeVon Edwards with a career day, students chanting “we want Florida State,” and more

side bar on Duke’s quarterback struggles and the plan going forward

Luke DeCock with more on Edwards

In case you missed it: Duke football, tops in the Triangle

7-2 is no fluke for Duke

What worked:

For the fifth consecutive quarter (dating back to the second half of the Virginia game), the Blue Devils’ defense carried the team. The Wolfpack outgained the Blue Devils with 412 yards of total offense to 321, but N.C. State punted eight times, and the quarterback duo of Pete Thomas and Brandon Mitchell combined for three fourth-quarter interceptions. Two, on back-to-back plays, were returned for touchdowns by redshirt freshman safety DeVon Edwards. Jeremy Cash added the last one for good measure.

Only 13 of N.C. State’s 20 points were scored against the defense (one touchdown came on a punt return). After giving up at least 30 points in eight straight ACC games (starting in October 2012 and running until the 58-55 debacle against Pitt this season) Duke hasn’t allowed more than 22 in its past three contests, all wins.

What needs work:

As great as the defense has been recently, the offense has been equally as disastrous. After throwing four interceptions against Virginia Tech (and not completing a pass in the second half), Anthony Boone threw three more Saturday, prompting coach David Cutcliffe to bench him in the third quarter in favor of Brandon Connette, who promptly lost a fumble on his first drive. And of Duke’s 30 points, three touchdowns came courtesy of Edwards, with his two pick-sixes and 100-yard kickoff return. That leaves just a field goal and a touchdown drive led by Connette in the fourth quarter.

Cutcliffe said Boone has practiced well, so finding out why that isn’t translating to gameday will be a top priority for Duke. Expect to see both quarterbacks going forward.

What’s next:

Miami (7-2, 3-2) comes to town Saturday for a must-win showdown at 3:30 p.m. The Blue Devils’ Coastal Division hopes hinge on a victory.

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