What went wrong:
Duke was out-coached and out-executed on both sides of the ball today. Wake Forest rang up a staggering 557 yards of offense including 419 yards on the ground. Chris Barclay did most of the damage himself, rushing for 204 yards on 18 carries with 2 scores. The Deacons also played an impressive game on defense, limiting Duke to just 203 yards of total offense. After last week's rushing success against FSU, Duke was only able to gain 50 yards of the ground. Duke was forced to punt the ball 10 times and only recorded 14 first downs. The Devils were a sorry 3 of 14 on third down chances and only reached the red-zone one time.
TDD player of the game:
Duke had few bright spots on Saturday, but one of them was the play of true freshman WR Eron Riley. Having secured a starting spot in the Blue Devils' receiving corps, Riley has proven to be Duke's biggest weapon on the outside. On Saturday, Riley only caught two passes, but those catches covered 56 yards and scored Duke's only touchdown. For his efforts, Riley is this weeks' TDD Player of the Game.
It seemed that Duke has generated a little offensive momentum last week against FSU. Duke was able to rush the ball for over two-hundred yards against a very stout defense. Things seemed to be going their direction, heading into what seemed to be like a winnable game. How does Duke respond? They play the worst game of Ted Roof's tenure. Duke was physically dominated on both sides of the ball by a middle-of-the-road ACC opponent. The execution of fundamentals was almost non-existent. Missed tackles, missed blocks, blown coverages, and bad pass routes were the order of the day. The Devils looked like the football version of the Bad News Bears. Credit should rightly be given to the Wake Forest players and staff. They came to play Saturday, and beat the stuffing out of Duke.
Having finished up the home slate, Duke will head on the road for their final two contests. The first will take place in South Carolina against the Clemson Tigers. Coming off a heartbreaking 10-9 defeat against Georgia Tech, The Tigers will be looking to get right against the Blue Devils. The years' version of Clemson is a much more run-oriented, physical version. Duke will have their hands full with the Tiger offense and QB Charlie Whitehurst.
It is going to be a long week for the Blue Devils. The players should be demoralized after an effort like they gave on Saturday. The coaching staff really let the team down by not giving the team much of a chance. The rotation of quarterbacks, the questionable use of personnel, and lack of aggressiveness shown on the field can all be directly traced to the coaches. They must give the team clear direction and leadership, rather than formulating indecisiveness. Rather than spending all of their time trying to confuse opponents with goofy punt formations, sky kicks, and shuttling quarterbacks, how about just lining up and playing football?