This is not your older brother's Duke Blue Devils football team.
Bolstered by a 5 game winning streak, including a 13-10 defeat of Virginia Tech on 10/26, the Blue Devils come in to Saturday's game with a 7-2 mark, including 3-2 in the ACC (tied with Miami for third place in the ACC Coastal).
Hurricanes Head Coach Al Golden has taken notice.
"We just finished our Wednesday practice, getting ready for Duke who is playing with a lot of confidence right now. Winners of five in a row. So it's a veteran team. It's a team that play was lot of poise. They're doing a great job protecting the football, they're doing a great job in penalties against and doing an excellent job on special teams. So it's a winning combination, and obviously why they're executing at such a high level and having such success. So it's a great challenge for us and one that we're looking forward to Saturday."
In addition to the little things they do well, Golden noted this is a very talented squad.
"No. 1, they're playing both quarterbacks. Both have the ability to run. Both have the ability to get out of the pocket. I think they're getting the type of plays that they need to get from obviously Crowder is having a magnificent year, close to 70 catches already and a hundred yards a game. But I think the biggest difference is Braxton Deaver. Those two guys are making it hard just to focus on one element of their offense. They have a veteran offensive line who is playing really well. And obviously it's a mature team. They know how to win."
And while Duke still has a long way to go to clinch the ACC Coastal, ( If Clemson avoids an upset and defeats Georgia Tech, then the Blue Devils will control their own destiny if they defeat Miami in the home finale and then win road games against Wake Forest and North Carolina) .there's a different feel to this year's squad.
David Cutcliffe's squad is 5th in the ACC in both points scored (33.2) and points allowed (22.2).
They are not just winning with smoke and mirrors.
Both Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone have passed for over 1,000 yards. Jamison Crowder is having an ALL ACC type season at WR.
But the real strength of the team have been the defense.
DE Kenny Anunike can really rush the passer and LB Kelby Brown is a wrecking ball of a LB. S Jeremy Cash, leads the way for the secondary with 4 picks. And S Devon Edwards is coming off of an impressive game in which he had three TD's against NC State, including two pick sixes.
Miami leads Duke 9-1 in the all time series, with Duke's only win coming in 1976. But this year they face a team that is oozing in confidence.
"These next three games are all winnable, so why not?" tight end Braxton Deaver said. "Let's win these next three games and go to the ACC championship."
Miami better come to play on Saturday or it could be a long day in Durham.
And if the Hurricanes do come out victorious this weekend, it will be a quality win against a very worthy opponent.