Three & Out with Duke...


Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe talks with quarterback Anthony Boone (7) in the second half of an NCAA college football game at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)

Duke Head Coach David Cutcliffe talks with quarterback Anthony Boone (7) in the second half of an NCAA college football game at Veterans Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, in Troy, Ala. (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)

• Kansas Jayhawks (1-0) at Duke (2-0)
2:30 p.m. (central) Saturday, Sept. 13, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina

Three and out, with the Duke Blue Devils...

1st Down

Duke enters this week’s game vs. Kansas with an 18-11 non-conference record under current coach David Cutcliffe. One of those 11 losses came to Kansas in 2009, when the Jayhawks drubbed Cutcliffe's club, 44-16, in Lawrence.

KU coaches Clint Bowen and John Reagan, both on the Jayhawks' staff in 2009, said they would not be able to take much from that game that will help them this week, other than the knowledge and memory of how disciplined, detailed and prepared Cutcliffe's club was that day. Bowen remembered specifically the first couple of plays from scrimmage catching the Kansas defense off-guard.

In the last 12 regular season non-league games, Cutcliffe has guided the Blue Devils to an 11-1 mark, including eight straight regular season non-conference victories.

2nd Down

Did you know that KU coach Charlie Weis once hired Duke coach David Cutcliffe to be his quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame? Weis has long been a fan of Cutcliffe's mastery of offense and play-calling and Weis said earlier this week that he picked Cutcliffe to join him at Notre Dame back in 2005 with the idea of eventually handing over the offense to him.

It never happened and neither did Weis and Cutcliffe working together. Cutcliffe resigned from the post before really getting started after suffering a heart attack and having triple-bypass surgery.

Cutcliffe was out of football for all of 2005 and he rejoined the Tennessee coaching staff in 2006 and 2007 (he previously worked at Tennessee from 1982-98 and helped develop Peyton Manning into one of college and professional football's greats). In 2008, the former Ole Miss head coach took the head job at Duke, where he has racked up a 33-44 record and is now in his seventh season.

“I was looking for somebody I could turn the offense over to and I thought David was one of the best minds out there,” Weis said this week. “Not only was he well-schooled with the quarterback position, which is his reputation, but I thought he'd be a perfect person to hand over the offense to because of his mind and his ability as a play caller. What he's done there is what I would expect him to do anywhere. Just about anywhere he's gone, in an ample amount of time, he's been able to get things going in the right way, especially offensively. He's a very, very good coach.”

3rd Down

Although they wound up losing 34-17 to the Blue Devils last week, Troy proved one thing early on: Duke is vulnerable to a strong running attack.

On its first two drives of the game, Troy gained 100 yards on 16 carries — and 166 yards in all — and jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Duke's D tightened up after that giving up just 58 more rushing yards and limiting Troy to a 3.7 yards-per-rush total.

But the two successful drives that opened the game each were 83-yard drives, with one taking 11 plays and another a whopping 13.

The Blue Devils lost All-ACC linebacker Kelby Brown to a season-ending knee injury in August and that left senior David Helton (6-4, 240) as one of the few experienced linebackers on the roster. In the first two weeks alone, Duke has relied upon a red-shirt freshman and a true freshman to play a significant number of snaps in the middle of the defense.

Duke's first two opponents of 2014 recorded 152 and 158 yards on the ground in losses to the Blue Devils.


While last year's 10-win team was one of the best in Duke history, the 2014 version is hardly the same club. In addition to losing two of the team's top returners in Brown and fellow-all-ACC tight end Braxton Deaver to preseason injuries, the Blue Devils saw 21 players make their collegiate debuts in the season opener, with five true freshmen and 13 red-shirt freshmen playing in a college game for the first time.

However, despite that fresh blood, Duke still features an experienced roster. In all, the Blue Devils field 21 seniors on their roster, 17 of whom are listed on the two-deep depth chart.


Eric Dawson 7 years, 11 months ago

Matt, a suggestion for this game and similar situations in the future. I note that KUSports is not showing the usual "TV Coverage" info for this game. While it is not on TV per se for folks outside of the reach of the "Regional Sports Network" (the "region" being around North Carolina) , it will be on ESPN3 @3:30pm EDT, and that information would be helpful for many. You could provide that info in the TV info box, to include adding the link to help KUSports readers get to the site. LINK:

Eric Dawson 7 years, 11 months ago

Note that the link won't be active until game day approaches.

Jay Beakum 7 years, 11 months ago

To be fair, they do have a play by play of the game right here on the site, which garners quite a few hits I’m sure. What you are (kind of) asking is that they hold our hands and take us to the competition.

I can tell you that Direct TV has the game listed on about a dozen different regional Fox channels, and when that happens I can almost always get one of them.

Matt Tait 7 years, 11 months ago

No worries, Jay. We're always happy to help people be able to see the game. The hope is that they'll watch it on the TV and interact with the KU sports fans on our game blogs on here at the same time.

With that said, here's a link to all the FOX Sports Midwest Plus channels on all of the different providers out there. Check the list for your provider and then check the corresponding channel. Hopefully most of you will get the game.


kellerman411 7 years, 11 months ago

We need to get this thing done, enough is enough. Let's go beat Duke and put this road losing streak to bed.

At least 30% of the success of this team is on Cozart.. 20% to the receivers and 50% to the defense. I'm sorry but I don't see us building a water proof O-line between now and Big 12 play. But look, IT DOESN'T MATTER. An elite, mobile quarterback hides those weaknesses.

Cozart's "pocket sense" has to be laser sharp. He has to to know when it's time to go. If he is back there taking hits from the blind side, we're done. It's gotta be one check, two check and if it's not there, time to improv. He's not just a mobile QB, that kid can really run.

I'm thinking optimistically but there is a chance we hit the jackpot with Cozart. Still way to early to tell but if we did, nothing else will matter.

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