Duke football has taken at least another 3.5 hours out of my life and possibly a few years off my life. Lost a 14-13 game to Wake. considering that they were 19.5 point dogs, not that bad, right, eh? But this game was lost in a way that only Duke can lose em.
In the first quarter, the offense was on first. Over 300 yards of total offense. We had a 16-2 edge in first downs at the half. Thad Lewis looked like the best Duke QB since Spence Fischer. So duke must have been up 20-0 right? maybe 27-3? Nope, 10-0. We were in the red zone 4 times and walked away with 3 points. 1 short missed field goal from the 27 yards outs, 2 turnovers in the red zone. 2nd and goal from the 2 after moving 60 yards in 7 plays. Let's go out of the shotgun why don't we? Quick bad snap and that scoring chance is finished.
Then halftime comes. In classic Duke fashion, nothing of substance occurred in the locker room. Wake made some adjustments to stop our weak-side waggle off pass-action which was so effective. Duke, did ummmm, really not sure yet. Halftime ends and Wake starts moving the ball and has 3 possessions where they walk down the field to our end zone. Thankfully, they pulled a Duke and made some mistakes after getting the ball to the one so they only had 14 points to show for it. Duke meanwhile stops their aggressive passing game which moved the ball down the field four times and moves to a george perles run-run-pass playcalling methodology. A couple big plays which created a field goal, but the rhythm was gone. We were clearly playing not to lose. The only time we were aggressive was with 4 minutes left and a 6 point lead when we actually did need to milk some clock. Roofie must have gone to the Art Shell school of game management.
Well, you know how it ends. After Wake drives for a touchdown to go up 14-13. Duke gets it back and gets it to the 6 yard line with 9 seconds to go. Do we take a shot at the end zone with a timeout and a sketchy kicker? Nope. Instead, we put the game on the football of Joe Surgan, ourkicker. Kick blocked ball game. Welcome to 0-2, blue devils. With Va Tech up next it looks like an 0-3 team will be showing up at homecoming to play UVa. Scarily, that might be our most winnable game for the rest of the schedule
I realized that most of this is written as a fan, not as a neutral observation, but that doesn't make it any less relavant. There are some positive signs. Thad Lewis is a player. If he can stay healthy for the rest of the year (which if sketcky with our o-line) he could be of the top freshman in the country. Defense is much improved, though team speed is a big problem. But this was a game which Duke would have,should have, could have won.
It seems Duke just doesn't know how to win. Is that something you can teach?