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The Day After: Duke

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Our weekly look back on our commentary and analysis to see what was right, what was wrong, and how it played out on the field

Miami v Duke Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Hello there, Canes fam. We’re back with another installment of The Day After, looking back at our commentary and analysis leading up to Miami’s 31-6 win at Duke on Friday night.

With no further ado, let’s get into it.

Matchup of the Week

In his weekly installment of Matchup of the Week, Matt Washington gave several things to look at. Here’s what he said, and how it went.

1 vs. 1 Matchup: Duke LB Ben Humphreys (six foot two, 225 pounds) vs. Miami RB Mark Walton (five foot nine, 205 pounds)

Commentary: “In the 2016 season, Mark Walton rushed for 100 or more yards in the first few matches, but went through a five-game drought in which he did not surpass 100 yards. He also rushed for 60 yards on 13 carries with a 4.62 yards-per-carry average against Duke. This season Walton has come out of the backfield like a man on fire. He has gone over the century mark in both games, and he had a career-best 204 yards against Toledo. We are intrigued by Walton’s game last week and will be watching to see if he can follow up that incredible performance.

The challenge for Duke’s front seven, led by LB Ben Humphreys, will be to keep Walton’s streak of rushing for 100 or more yards to just two games. Duke has stifled opposing run games to just 65.25 yards per game, ranking first in the ACC and second in the nation in that category. Prior to Friday’s contest, Duke has only surrendered three rushing touchdowns in four games. With Miami averaging 285.5 rushing yards per game, something will have to give.”

The Day After: It was a group effort, but Duke held Walton to 51 yards on 17 carries on the night. Though, he did add 79 yards receiving to have 130 yards total offense. Yeah, Walton was dealing with the effects of an ankle injury, but Duke did well to clamp down on the run game.

For his part of things, Humphreys had 6 tackles, a TFL, and was generally a nuisance for the Canes run game. Along with fellow linebacker Joe Giles-Harris, who had 9 tackles and was around the ball often, I’d have to say that Duke won this matchup pretty handily.

Positional Matchup: Duke’s Front Seven vs. Miami’s Offensive Line

Commentary: “Friday night’s game will be won in the trenches. The Blue Devils’ defense is ranked at the top of several categories. They lead the nation in third down conversions, with opponents converting just 7 of 50 attempts on the money down. They are also tied for fourth in the country in tackles for loss (35 tackles for loss in four games for an average of 8.8 per game) and have 15 sacks. The defensive line, featuring DE Mike Ramsay and freshmen Drew Jordan and Victor Dimukeje, could disrupt Miami’s offensive attack. Duke has forced nine turnovers (seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries). Its defensive unit does a solid job of getting into the backfield and forcing quarterbacks into terrible decisions.

Miami’s offensive line will need to provide Malik Rosier with enough time to make the throw and create holes in the run game. TE Christopher Herndon IV and the running backs could stay in to help with pass protection if the line struggles with the pass rush. The Hurricanes offensive line will need to impose their will on their opponent in order for the offense to succeed.”

The Day After: Duke’s front 7 got torched early when Miami came out and got a quick 14-0 lead on the first 2 possessions of the game. The Blue Devils rebounded to stymie and stifle Miami’s offense from the beginning of the 2nd quarter into the 4th quarter with strong play, and timely pressure.

Miami was finally able to get things going again in the 4th quarter and extended the game to the final margin of 31-6 with 2 TDs in the final period.

I’d give the edge to Miami here, because the points and win, but Duke made it closer than it initially looked in the first quarter. They fought and played really, REALLY well for like 35-38 minutes of game action before Miami finally got things going again.

Caneseye Players to Watch: Miami Hurricanes QB Malik Rosier and Duke Blue Devils QB Daniel Jones

Commentary: The most obvious answer should be QB Daniel Jones, a dual-threat quarterback who serves as the first true test to the ’Canes defense. I’m intrigued to see how defensive coordinator Manny Diaz accounts for Jones as a run threat. The Blue Devils run a potent read-option that’s dangerous because Jones is a capable runner when he keeps the ball (42 attempts, 141 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns). Miami’s defensive line will need to keep gap integrity in order to reduce Jones’s potential to scramble. I know there is concern regarding Miami’s quality of play in the secondary. However, if communication and alignment are sound in the back half of the defense, ’Canes defenders will be able to create negative plays against the Duke offense.

For the Hurricanes, this game falls on Malik Rosier. While Miami will lean on the run game, Rosier’s decision making will make or break the game. Although you can apply that logic to any game, this point will become even more important against Duke. This Duke defense is disciplined and opportunistic. The Blue Devils have returned three interceptions for touchdowns so far this season, two of them by CB Bryon Fields Jr. While we were willing to overlook the late game interception last week against Toledo, Rosier and the offense cannot afford to make decisions like that a trend. This game will come down to discipline.”

The Day After: Here are the stat lines for the QBs in this game:

Malik Rosier: 15-26, 270 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 162.6 rating, 15 carries, 45 yards, TD, Win

Daniel Jones: 21-41, 166 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 80.4 rating, 18 carries, 31 yards, Loss

This is a DEFINITIVE win for Rosier. Not even close.

One last thing to watch: Miami Hurricanes Penalties

Commentary: “Speaking of discipline, Miami needs to cut down on the penalties. In just two games, the Hurricanes have amassed 16 penalties. In contrast, Duke has been called for 18 penalties in four games. Gone are the days when Miami could spot Duke a lead and easily make a comeback. Miami does not need to help out the Blue Devils on Friday. If they do, Miami might find themselves looking for a late miracle to pull out a win in Durham.”

The Day After: Only 5 penalties for 59 yards. Massive improvement.

7 penalties for 82 yards for Duke.

Another win for Miami, and more great commentary from Matt Washington.


Game Preview

Commentary: From this week’s game preview, Carter Balderson wrote the following:

“It is no secret that one of Miami’s biggest weaknesses through the first two games has been the secondary, and more specifically their coverage. Dee Delaney, who was expected to come in and be an All-ACC DB right off the bat, has struggled mightily. Just as Bethune Cookman and Toledo took advantage of this, so will Duke. Daniel Jones is one of the best QB’s in the ACC despite his rather mediocre start to this year. Additionally, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is one of the best at game-planing big games in the business (last year Duke went just 4-8 but played at Louisville with a chance to win late in the game).

...

On defense, Duke has been unprecedentedly solid in 2017. Statistically, they have one of the best run defenses in the nation and a 14% third down conversion percentage, good for #1 in the country. It will be key for Miami to convert on third downs and wear this Duke defense down.”

The Day After: Miami had Jones on lockdown, holding him to 166 yards on 41 attempts, roughly 4 yards per attempt. That’s elite. If that was the ratio for the whole season that would lead CFB in EACH OF THE LAST 11 YEARS. Moreover, Miami’s DBs — Delaney included — played GREAT coverage all day long. Edge: Miami

For the Canes’ offense, Miami converted 4/12 3rd downs, good for 33%. While that’s not great, it is nearly double the conversion rate Duke had allowed in their first 4 games. Add in a 4th down conversion, and Miami was 5/13 (38.4%) on money downs. While that’s very good, just think what those numbers would have been like if the offense hadn’t gone into hibernation for about 38 minutes of game action.


Opponent Q&A

Commentary: In our first opponent Q&A, with Ben Swain of Sportschannel8, our guest said the following:

“Traditionally, Duke’s leveled off as the competition gets better, but there’s really no reason for that anymore. It’s a great opportunity for Duke to make that the new normal, which is where they should be if they’re right there with the Miamis and Virginia Techs of the Coastal.”

and

“I like that the game is at home, I like the home team in a short week, and Miami’s definitely dealt with some unfortunate scheduling with much more important issues to deal with back home after the hurricane. I also like that Duke gets Miami the week before the Canes have the best chance of beating Florida State in a long time.

I’m going with Duke in a low scoring game (relatively, for these two teams), with something like 34-24.”

The Day After: Ben was right: Duke’s performance levels off against more talented teams...like Miami.

As for his game prediction...uh....

But hey, can’t fault a guy for hoping, right?


Cam’s Tweet of the Week

Adding this to The Day After because I was so right that it hurts.

Commentary:

The Day After: Malik Rosier went 8/8 for 155 yards and a TD in the first quarter when Duke tried to rush only 4 and play man to man across the field vs Miami’s receivers.

Later on, Rosier picked on Duke’s DBs again when he hit Ahmmon Richards for a 49 yard touchdown — on a shallow cross so it was a 6 yard throw and 43 yards of run after catch — to extend the score to 24-6 minutes into the 4th quarter.

So, basically, every time Duke went man and didn’t blitz 5 or 6 guys, receivers won their 1v1s and Rosier picked them apart.

Yeah, I was SUPER right about that one.


That’s it for this installment of The Day After.

Love it? Hate it? Have a thought to make this piece better? Hop in the comments and let me know.

Go Canes