Six key plays: How Duke ran over Miami

November 16, 2013 

A breakdown of six key plays in Duke’s 48-30 victory over Miami, which put the Blue Devils in first place in the Coastal Division:

1. Canes get big play early

•  Score: Miami 3, Duke 0, early first quarter.

•  Situation: Duke punting from its 29.

•  The play: Miami, which missed on a deep ball on its first play from scrimmage, flashed its speed on this return. Stacy Coley fielded a 50-yard punt and burst up the middle for a 79-yard touchdown and 10-0 lead.

•  Why it mattered: One key for Duke was limiting Miami’s big plays. Miami missed on the deep ball on its first play when Stephen Morris overthrew an open receiver. A catch would have resulted in a 76-yard score. Coley made up for Morris’ miss, the second time in two weeks Duke allowed a punt return touchdown.

2. Defense picks up Duke again

•  Score: Miami 17, Duke 7, 10:40 left in second quarter.

•  Situation: Miami ball, 3rd-and-4 at its 49.

•  The play: Morris, 14 of 17 for 144 yards and a score at this point, threw over the middle. Duke’s DeVon Edwards, who returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week, broke on the ball and forced a deflection, which Deondre Singleton picked off and returned to Duke’s 38.

•  Why it mattered: The turnover not only stopped Miami but led to a short touchdown pass from Brandon Connette to Shaquille Powell to cut Miami’s lead to 17-14.

3. Snead, Duke run wild

•  Score: Miami 20, Duke 14, 4 minutes left in second quarter.

•  Situation: Duke ball, 1st-and-10 at its 36.

•  The play: Handoff to Josh Snead, who runs for 32 yards to the Miami 32.

•  Why it mattered: This was the biggest play of Duke’s 75-yard, go-ahead drive. The Blue Devils ran for 62 yards on the drive, the final 3 coming on Connette’s run for a 21-20 lead. Duke rushed for 172 yards in the opening half, almost all of it coming out of its single-back, zone read formation. Snead ran four times for 59 yards.

4. Miami strikes back on bubble screen

•  Score: Duke 28, Miami 20, 11:40 left in third quarter.

•  Situation: Miami ball, 1st-and-10 at 50.

•  The play: Morris, in the shotgun, threw a quick bubble screen to Herb Waters, who broke a tackle and ran 50 yards for touchdown to cut Duke’s lead to 28-27. It was Waters’ second TD.

•  Why it mattered: Duke used a 21-3 run to wipe out a 17-7 deficit. Its running game was taking over. Miami changed momentum with another big play. On its next drive, Miami went back to Waters on another bubble screen to convert a key 3rd-and-8, which led to Matt Goudis’ go-ahead field goal.

5. Snead off to races again

•  Score: Duke 31, Miami 30, 12:20 left in fourth quarter.

•  Situation: Duke ball, 2nd-and-10 at its 25.

•  The play: Zone-read handoff to Snead, who ripped through the middle of Miami’s defense for a 56-yard run.

•  Why it mattered: Snead’s run led to Brandon Connette’s 29th career rushing touchdown (a Duke record), which extended Duke’s lead to 38-30. Miami already had shown the ability to score from anywhere, so it was critical that Duke’s offense maintained the cushion.

6. 4th-and-1 ... and he’s gone

•  Score: Duke 38, Miami 30, about 7 minutes left in fourth quarter.

•  Situation: Duke ball, 4th-and-1 at Miami 33.

•  The play: Miami stacked the line. Anthony Boone handed to Shaquille Powell, who burst through the line, got a block from a receiver and ran untouched into the end zone for a 45-30 lead.

•  Why it mattered: Duke’s running game dominated all day, and there was no hesitation to go for it. Powell’s TD put Duke in sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division. It was a fitting play to seal it on a day Duke ran for 358 yards and five touchdowns.

Chris Wright

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