Duke (5-3, 2-2) will look to secure a bowl offer against Boston College (2-6, 1-4)

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After a week off, the Blue Devils return to action this weekend as they hit the road again to face Boston College.

Boston College enters the game in shock after recording just two wins in the first eight games of the season and following a three-game losing streak that includes a 28-point loss to Clemson, another four touchdown loss to Wake Forest, then a loss of 10 points. in Connecticut last week, the first time in program history that the Huskies had beaten the Eagles.

The snowball results had started to raise questions about Eagle head coach Jeff Hafley’s job security, though those were shot down this week by athletic director Blake James who cast a vote of public trust.

“Jeff is an outstanding coach and a great fit for Boston College and I’m confident the wins will come.”

According to betting experts, that win is not expected this weekend against head coach Mike Elko’s Duke team, who are among the 10-point favorites. The Blue Devils will not only be looking to prove the bettors right, but will also enter the game knowing that a win will qualify the team for the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Duke certainly had plenty of positive momentum heading into last week’s opening date after the Blue Devils outscored the heavily favored Miami Hurricanes the previous week by a score of 45-21. The win ended Duke’s two-game losing streak and was made possible by Elko’s defense forcing eight turnovers.

Coming out of the bye, the Blue Devils are still nursing a number of injuries and post-game medical follow-up from Miami confirmed the upcoming changes to Duke’s depth chart.

Eli Pancol suffered a leg injury in the Miami game towards the end, so we probably won’t have it for the rest of the year,” the Duke head coach explained. “It’s unfortunate, but we will get him back to good health as soon as possible. we can. On the [starting place kicker] Charly [Ham] situation, I will say again that Charlie is faced with a small personal situation. It’s not performance based and it’s not something I’m going to comment on, but Charlie won’t be available this week and is just continuing to work on some things.”

Ahead of this weekend’s game, here’s what you need to know and the main storylines to follow…

TIPS:

According to the source, Duke is ranked among the favorites between 9.5 and 10.5 points by various sports betting sites. Throughout the season, Boston College has struggled to help those who choose to bet on them, as the Eagles are 1-7 ATS this season. On the other hand, Duke’s ATS record mirrored their overall record at 5-3.

More notes from Duke Sports Information…

For the second consecutive game, redshirt junior defensive tackle By Wayne Carter forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in the same game. He is tied for first nationally in fumbles recoveries (3) and tied for fifth in fumbles caused (3).

Against Miami, the senior linebacker in the red shirt Shaka Heyward became the 21st player in Duke history to record more than 300 tackles in his Blue Devil career and the first since Joe Giles Harriscurrent linebacker for the Buffalo Bills, did so with 312 tackles from 2016 to 2018. Heyward sits with 301 in his career.

Duke has three losses on the year by a total of 14 points. Of the 14 Power 5 schools with three losses, the Blue Devils’ 14-point margin is second-lowest, behind Texas’ mark of 11. Duke is followed by Florida State (18), Notre Dame (18), Purdue ( 18), and Baylor (20).

In seven of Duke’s eight games, the Blue Devils have won the turnover battle. The only flaw was at Georgia Tech on October 8. Three times Duke failed to return the ball during the game (Temple, Kansas and Virginia).

Starting QB Riley Leonard is 19 yards on the ground from becoming Duke’s first quarterback since Quentin Harris in 2019 to record more than 500 rushing yards and more than five rushing touchdowns in a single season. In Leonard’s first year as a Duke starter, the Fairhope, Alabama native ranks fifth in the ACC in total offense, with a mark of 271.75 yards per outing after compiling 1,693 passes. and 481 rushing yards this season. He sits behind North Carolina Drake May (388.75), Wake Forest’s sam hartmann (296.14), Florida State Jordan Travis (284.00), and Virginia Brennan Armstrong (272.38).

Duke ranks fifth in the ACC in total offense, averaging 422.13 yards per outing. His 3,377 offensive yards on the year also ranks fifth, while his 6.31 yards per game ranks the Blue Devils third in the league.

In Duke’s eight games, he scored 51 points on nine opposing turnovers. Most recently, Duke scored 31 points on five turnovers in Miami.

Duke leads the nation with 15 fumble recoveries on the year. 11 different Blue Devils accounted for those recoveries. Junior red shirt By Wayne Carter (3), senior red shirt Shaka Heyward (2) and second Brandon Johnson (2) make Duke the only ACC school with three players with more than two recoveries on the year.

In the absence of a starter Charly Ham, freshman K Todd Pelino saw action in his first career game in Duke’s last outing against Miami. He converted a 28-yard field goal and six PATs to help Duke to a 45-21 road victory. For those efforts, he earned his first career ACC Specialist of the Week.

HOW TO FOLLOW:

Duke (5-3, 2-2 ACC) vs. Boston College (2-6, 1-4 ACC)
Friday, November 4, 2022, 7 p.m.
Chestnut Hill, Mass. – Alumni Stadium (44,500)

ESPN2 TV
LEARFIELD Blue Devils Sports Network RADIO


THE MATCH UP:

Even though the Eagles are floundering at the bottom of the Atlantic Division standings, Boston College is still a potentially dangerous team. Senior QB Phil Jurkovec hasn’t been as good as last season, but he’s still completing just under 60% of his passes with 11 touchdowns. However, against the Huskies, he was knocked out of the game in the third quarter and did not return, leaving his status for Saturday as questionable.

For their part, it seems that Duke thinks Jurkovec can go there and the Blue Devils have been preparing to face him in the first year. Emmett Morehead.

“I think they’re both very similar,” Elko said of his scouting work at Boston College. “Him and [Emmett] Morehead is a similar sort of quarterback. Phil has played a lot more football and is a lot more experienced, but I don’t think there’s a huge difference in skills between the two. I expect Phil to be the quarterback and be there Friday night. He’s a tough boy and I’m sure he’ll want to go.”

Whichever quarterback will be under center, Eagle’s best target in the air will be Zay Flowers which leads the ACC in a multitude of categories, including receptions (54) and receiving yards (726). Flowers recorded six touchdowns on the season and exceeded 100 receiving yards three times in eight games. While Flowers was limited to just two catches against Connecticut, he was a huge name on the board during Duke’s prep.

“It’s a bit of a game to figure out where he is. They’re doing a really good job of moving him around and moving him to lots of different places. We have to do a really good job of identifying where he is, but we have to also know that we can’t give him too much cover, because they have other dangerous weapons.”

Where things have gone bad for BC this year is along the offensive line, usually a strength of the program. In eight games this year, the Eagles haven’t used the same starting lineup on the offensive line in more than one game this season. A variety of staggering injuries throughout the timeline made continuity a challenge. Finn Dirstine (left guard) was injured at Florida State (9/24) and was ruled out for the season in Week Seven for labrum surgery. Former defensive lineman Jackson Nes has taken over at the center since October 22.

On defense, the Eagles have improved over the years under Coach Harley, breaking into the Top 30 a season ago. Much of BC’s success starts with defensive backs where continuity has been better, but injuries have always been factored in. Boston College started nickel in six of eight games with three players starting all seven games; Elijah Jones (BC), Jason Master (FS) and Jaiden Woodbey (SS). Josh DeBerry has totaled seven corner and nickel starts, while CJ Burton has started four nickel starts, but has missed each of the last three games. Real Freshman amari jackson had his number called to start the last three games. Jones leads the team with 10 pass breakups.

The Blue Devil passing game has been very strong under Leonard, but with starter Pancol out for the season, Duke will be looking for replacement options.

“You will anticipate Sahmir [Hagans] having to take on a bigger role,” Elko explained. “Jontavis Robertson, Malik Bowen Sims and Darrell Harding Jr. are going to have to play extended roles and it just has to be the next man.”

PREDICTION

What a difference a week (or two) makes. Heading to Miami, it looked like Duke was in trouble as the Hurricanes – on paper – had a lot more talent and Duke looked in shock after losing back-to-back games that probably should have been wins. In years past, that negative momentum would have solidified and the Blue Devils would have folded. But not under Elko. This year’s team went to Florida and not only beat Miami, they did it convincingly. After struggling to pressure opposing callers, Duke lived in Miami’s offensive backfield for the final half of the game. Against a Miami defense that was strong against the run… Duke continually gobbled up big chunks of yards while controlling the clock. Now, after a bye week, Duke will be looking to build on that positive momentum and operate as the favorite for the first time since the win over Virginia. Boston College has a strong defense and playmakers who can hurt their opponents. But the Eagles also have a compromised offensive line and the passing game will also be limited given Jurkovec’s injury issues. On paper, this looks like a good game for the Blue Devils, just like Duke was looking for Miami. The difference here is that Elko has his team playing hard and well every week. Manny Diaz doesn’t. With that, we think the Blue Devils can claim a sixth win. And so the choice…

Duke – 27
Boston College – 17

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