Some thoughts and observations from Duke’s 24-14 loss to Wake Forest in the ACC opener Saturday.
— The game was the opposite of what some expected. Wake Forest, not Duke, had the better running game. Wake Forest, not Duke, made the most of its offensive chances. Wake Forest, not Duke, was the better fourth-quarter team. Wake Forest, not Duke, won.
— Did Duke give up on the run too soon? Maybe. Duke coach David Cutcliffe said the Deacons’ defense dictated the Devils’ play calls — Wake Forest’s defensive line was tough to handle and the Deacons often had a safety in the box for run support — but Duke’s Jela Duncan and Shaun Wilson are capable of breaking off big-gainers. Wilson had two carries in the game.
— Impressive totals for Duke linebacker Joe Giles-Harris: 11 solo tackles, 15 hits in all, an interception and a fumble recovery. The redshirt freshman was around the ball a lot. So was senior safety DeVon Edwards, who had 13 tackles including two sacks.
— Daniel Jones’ second game at Duke wasn’t as smooth as the first, nor was it expected to be. Cutcliffe said the QB would face some “fire” against Wake Forest and he did. Early in the second half, a Jones sack and fumble at the Duke 14 led to the Deacs’ second TD. But Jones then completed three passes, including a 56-yarder to Anthony Nash, in a 75-yard scoring drive that Jones capped with a 2-yard run. Good response from the redshirt freshman.
— Not sure what the quarterback debate is about at Wake Forest. Kendall Hinton’s ability to run loosened up the Duke defense. He should be the guy for Deacons coach Dave Clawson.
— Cutcliffe said the Devils tired at times during the game and will need to develop more depth. Wake Forest’s physicality did take a toll. And Duke does need more depth.
— The attendance for the ACC opener was disappointing: 21,077. Not sure how many Power 5 teams have that kind of turnout for conference games but it can’t be that many. Duke had 35,049 for N.C. Central.
— Noticed some of the Wake Forest defensive guys on the field turning and watching as Duke honored Grant Hill and Shane Battier, and its other recent Hall of Fame inductees, during a break in the game. Some basketball fans among the black and gold, it seems.