2011: 3-5 (1-3)
Last week's game: Virginia Tech 14 Duke 10 The Hokies slept walk into Durham and almost— almost— got beat. Tech's Logan Thomas kept Duke in the game with two interceptions, and the Blue Devils kept this from being one of the upsets of the year by missing three field goals and throwing three picks of their own. Both teams, both fanbases and the entire ACC conference would probably like to just forget this one.
Last year's meeting: Miami 28 Duke 13 Ugly things happen in Durham, NC. Either Duke gets blown off the face of the earth, or their opponents embarrass their friends and families by allowing Duke to hang around. For the Canes last year, it was the latter. Miami rolled up 448 yards of offense, but went 3-16 on either third or fourth down conversions. The game was never really all that close though thank to Duke's seven turnovers, which included a pick six by... Micanor Regis and two interceptions by Vaughn Telemaque.
Offense: There is some explosiveness in Duke's passing game. Wide receivers Donovan Varner and Connor Vernon make up one of the better tandems in the conference. But after that, it gets a bit ugly. Despite those receivers, Renfree is averaging a ghastly 6.49 yards per attempt, and has thrown seven interceptions to five touchdowns. He completes over 65% of his passes, but they usually gain very little yardage. Duke's running backs are solid— starter Desmond Scott ran for 72 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown versus the Hokies last week.
Defense: The Hokies absolutely cannot defend the pass. According to Football Outsiders' S&P rankings, the Blue Devils have 107th best defense in the country, which is obviously terrible. Their best player— safety Matt Daniels, who leads the team in tackles, interceptions and pass break ups— is in the secondary, but it hasn't seemed to matter. The Devils run defense is a bit better, hovering around the top half of the entire country, but that's also likely a function of teams just deciding to pass on them constantly.
Match up in Miami's favor: If the Canes come out sharp— think the first half against UNC, or second half versus Virginia Tech— they should be able to dissect Duke's defense through the air. No one on the Blue Devils roster should be able to cover Tommy Streeter, and it will be a disappointing day if Streeter, coming off a career game versus Virginia, doesn't get up over 100 yards.
Match up in Duke's favor: Can the Blue Devils make this a shootout? They'd probably like to. Duke's Donovan Varner was last seen in Sun Life Stadium routinely slipping past Brandon Harris, and UM's secondary doesn't have anyone half as good as Harris this season. Renfree has his issues, but he's nothing if not efficient, and if Duke can move the chains through the air, this one might be closer than anyone in Miami wants it to be.