DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – For the first time this season, the Blue Devils are preparing for an opponent with a win under their belt.
Seeing their hard work and effort pay off with a victory would put a little steam in the stride of any player.
Duke Head Coach David Cutclffe is hoping the sweet taste of success in the Carrier Dome helps his team kick it up a notch this week
“Well, it should help us a great deal. What I’m anxious to see as we move each day back to practice is does it make practice better, said Cutclffe. “I expect our team will be excited to work and prepare and understand how big the challenge is this week. That remains to be seen, but I expect that we will.”
Even with the win, there were some glaring problems.
The Blue Devils biggest issue all year has been turnovers. Despite coming out on top Saturday, they committed four more.
Duke leads the nation with 19 turnovers this year and coach was quick to point out they still have problems.
“Obviously you saw that game, there’s a lot left to work on. Continuing to take care of the ball better,” said Cutcliffe. “We really were closer to even having a bigger game in the run game. We’ve got to finish blocks.”
Despite coach wanting more, the Duke run game showed just how dangerous they could be.
Mateo Durant rushed for 163 yards on 23 attempts and found the end zone twice. His longest rush of the day went for 48 yards. His teammate in the backfield, Deon Jackson, rushed for 169 yards on 30 carries breaking off one run for 50 yards.
This duo is just what the Blue Devils offense needs to keep opposing defenses honest.
“I feel like me and Deon are pretty similar, but he’s just a bigger back than I am,” said junior running back Mataeo Durant. “I feel like we have a lot of speed and we’re both very powerful. I know people may not think I’m as strong as I am, but I feel like I run with a lot of power and I feel like we are just a great one to punch overall. There is not a drop off when he comes in or when I go in.”
Those two will need that same type of performance this week. They’re catching an NC State squad riding a two-game winning streak and perfecting an already potent offense and defense as they go. Meanwhile Duke is working hard but still looking for that consistency they need to be competitive.
“We need to play a complete game. We know we’re capable. In all five of our games we’ve had moments where we’ve played really good football,” said Cutcliffe. “But we need to put together a complete game and it couldn’t be a better week to do that than this one.”
Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm at Carter Finley Stadium