Duke 10, Georgia Tech 49 (4:48 4th): If the game wasn’t over before, it certainly is now. Georgia Tech’s seventh unanswered touchdown puts them up 39 on a seven yard TD run by Richard Watson. We’re going to call it a game here at the Sports Blog as the band plays Cascada, to the delight of all 30 students still in attendance. Why Duke students continue to jump up and down awkwardly to that song every time it is played I will never know… anyways, check out The Chronicle on Monday for more on this very disappointing Blue Devils loss.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 42 (9:00 4th): The ruling on the field is confirmed after a Georgia Tech challenge. In other news, the reported attendance today was 25,899. Needless to say, there aren’t nearly that many fans in the stands now. In fact, there may be more yellow than Blue in the stands as this game comes to a close.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 42 (9:52 4th): The triple-option is in full force now as the Yellow Jackets go into full clock-kill mode. Backup QB Jaybo Shaw, though, fumbles a handoff in the red zone, and Wesley Oglesby recovers for Duke. Now less than 10 minutes to go in what has become an ugly game.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 42 (1:15 3rd): The old adage “adding insult to injury” appears like it just got turned on its head. After being overwhelmed in the pocket by Georgia Tech defenders, redshirt freshman QB Sean Renfree just went down very awkwardly and appeared to twist either his knee or his ankle. Luckily, Renfree is walking off the field with a little help from the trainers, so the injury does not appear to be as serious as it initially seemed. Lewis is back in at QB for Duke after the Blue Devils recovered Renfree’s fumble.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 42 (2:30 3rd): Well, its safe to say the rout is officially on, and this contest is all but over. A sick catch by Thomas ends in a 75 yard touchdown pass, as the Duke secondary continues to be exploited by what was supposed to be a team that emphasized the run in lieu of the pass. We’ll update occasionally here as the clock winds down, but its safe to say that this game, and quite possibly Duke’s hopes of reaching a bowl, are over.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 35 (4:40 3rd): It looks as if Coach Cutcliffe knows the logn odds the Blue Devils face to get back in this game, as Sean Renfree has replaced Lewis at QB for the Blue Devils. His first pass came dangerously close to being intercepted and easily returned for a touchdown, but Donovan Varner bailed out his quarterback and even gained a few yards. Another nice bubble screen to Varner has the Blue Devils driving now and nearly in the red zone.
The drive stalls there, and Renfree makes a youthful mistake by trying to spin his way out of a sack, instead of just throwing the ball away, turning an easy 40 yard field goal into a 50 yarder. Snyderwine’s attempt is blocked, and Georgia Tech takes over inside their own 20 after a Yellow Jacket tried to return the blocked kick instead of just taking the field position.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 35 (7:48 3rd): Jonathan Dwyer has just passed the 100 yard mark on the ground, making it four straight 100 yard games for the All-ACC back. The Yellow Jackets certainly seem like they are content trying to run the ball and run out the clock, but an incomplete third down pass will give Duke the ball back at their own 40.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 35 (9:18 3rd): Re’quan Boyette, for one, is not giving up on this game for the Blue Devils. He just took a pass from the flat and trucked a defender to eke out a first down, and on the next play Boyette was a shoestring tackle away from a 50 yard touchdown. But nonetheless, Boyette earned the first down.
Any momentum, though, is quickly squashed by a Derrick Morgan sack and a holding penalty on second down. The Duke offense just can’t seem to get in an extended rhythm after the first drive, as penalties and dropped passes are now stifling the offense. Duke punts the ball away, and Georgia Tech will take over at the 15. If Duke can’t muster a big play of its own soon this game could be over, and indeed fans are starting to slowly head to the exits.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 35 (12:36 3rd): The second half gets out to a bad start for the Blue Devils, as Nesbitt rumbles for a 20 yard rush as the Yellow Jackets quickly approach midfield. Another big play two plays later, a pass down the middle to Anthony Allen for 31 yards, quickly puts the Yellow Jackets on the ten yard line. The fumble bug bites the Yellow Jackets again on the next play, although Georgia Tech recovers to maintain possession. But Dwyer then sprints into the end zone untouched to quickly increase Georgia Tech’s lead to 25 points. After a first half in which the Duke defense looked solid despite the tendency to give up the big play, this first drive of the second half must be very disheartening for the Blue Devils, as the triple-option attack faced little resistance. It appears that the rout may be on after 35 straight Yellow Jacket points.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 28 (0:00 2nd): Well, the big play has burned the Blue Devils once again as the first half comes to a close. Nesbitt hits Stephen Hill for a 32 yard touchdown pass down the middle. Duke cornerbacks continue to appear under-matched in man coverage today, as the bigger Georgia Tech receivers are having their way with Duke’s secondary. A once promising game for Duke is quickly turning into a blowout, and to make matters worse Georgia Tech will get the ball to start the 2nd half. Duke runs out the clock to end the half an heads to the locker room down 18 points.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (1:11 2nd): Duke’s inability to complete passes downfield is continuing to put a damper on any Blue Devil attack. An option on first down and a check-down pass on second down left Duke once again with third and long, and tight man coverage by the Yellow Jackets forced Duke to punt on fourth down.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (2:00 2nd): Sorry for the delay folks… internet troubles up in the press box. But Duke just got a huge break as the completion to Thomas was overturned in the replay booth. After stuffing the triple option on 2nd down, Ayanga Okpokowuruk abused Georgia Tech left tackle Brad Sellers to plant Nesbitt firmly in the turf. After the punt, Duke has taken over on their own 31 yard line with now just under two minutes to go in the half.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (3:53 2nd): Leon Wright continues to be overmatched in coverage, as Demaryius Thomas just reached over Wright’s head to catch a slightly under-thrown pass by Nesbitt. The play is currently under review, but for a team that is known for the run over the pass it must be disconcerting for the Blue Devils to see their top cornerback consistently being beaten at this point in the contest.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (4:08 2nd): Duke just blew a play every football player dreams off. On third and one, Lewis and Scott executed a perfect play action fake, leaving Conner Vernon open down the middle with no one within 10 yards of the freshman receiver. But Lewis tried to put a little too much touch on the pass, overthrowing Vernon and forcing Duke to punt the ball away. That could be the play that comes back to haunt the Blue Devils.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (5:30 2nd): My colleague Dave Ungvary just informed me that every Georgia Tech touchdown has been preceded by a play of at least 40 yards, if one includes the long kickoff return down to the 1 yard line. That is indeed the story of the game thus far: Georgia Tech’s ability to find the big play offensively but stop Duke from doing the same.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 21 (5:50 2nd): Slowly but surely Georgia Tech breaches the end zone, as a Dwyer touchdown run concludes a long series of nothing but runs from the Yellow Jackets. One has to think that this is where Duke is missing Vince Oghobaase dearly, and now a 21 straight Yellow Jacket points have turned a 10 point lead into an 11 point deficit.
Scoring Drive: 7 plays, 66 yards, 3:28 off the clock. Three yard TD run by Jonathan Dwyer.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 14 (7:37 2nd): Nesbitt completes a pass to a wide open Embry Peeples along the sideline, and a missed tackle by Leon Wright allows Peeples to scamper down the sideline to the Duke 30. After an inspired start by the Blue Devils the momentum has shifted entirely to Georgia Tech, as Duke’s inability to stop the big play is proving costly. Another long rush by dwyer for a first down has put Georgia Tech in the red zone once again.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 14 (9:18 2nd): Big plays on kickoff returns continue to give both Duke and Georgia Tech good field position, the latest being another Williams return to Duke’s 38 yard line. Williams, though, is injured on the play.
A quick false start penalty on the Blue Devils works against that good field position, which is exacerbated by Lewis fumbling the ensuing snap, putting Duke in a 2nd and 22 situation. Another screen pass to Boyette is finally sniffed out and is stopped for only a three yard gain, leaving the Blue Devil offense with a third and very long. On third down, Lewis has to settle once again for a check down after the Georgia Tech coverage (it looked like a variation of the cover 2) leaves no one open for Duke. The biggest issue on that third down, though, was a Duke receiver on the right side being knocked to the ground by a Georgia Tech defensive back, although the apparent penalty was overlooked by the referees.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 14 (11:22 2nd): After having only two carries in the first quarter the Yellow Jackets have realized they need to feed the ball to their star Jonathan Dwyer. But Dwyer is stuffed on first down, and Vincent Rey sniffs out a reverse pitch on second down to force 3rd and four. But the triple option finally bites the Blue Devils, as despite having Nesbitt apparently bottled up in the backfield, the pitch is made to Marcus Wright who essentially walks into the end zone. The Blue Devil defense has done a solid job so far excluding a few big plays which have allowed the Yellow Jackets to reclaim the lead.
Scoring Drive: 10 plays, 86 yards, 3:42 off the clock. 16 yard TD run by Marcus Wright.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 7 (13:26 2nd): The Yellow Jackets are feeding Dwyer the ball after his big run to end the first half, but on 3rd and 2 Nesbitt appears to be stuffed just short of the first down. Georgia Tech doesn’t even hesitate to go for it on fourth down, however, and Nesbitt easily carries it off tackle for the first down.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 7 (0:00 1st): Johnny Williams does his best to answer for the Blue Devils on the ensuing kickoff, but after briefly seeing a hole he’s tackled just short of Duke’s 40 yard line. Lewis appears to be getting more than enough time to pass, but Duke receivers are being blanketed by the Georgia tech defense. On third down Lewis has to check down once again, this time hitting Scott over the middle but leaving a fourth and five for the Blue Devils. But on the ensuing punt, return Orwin Smith once again fumbled the ball, despite calling for a fair catch, but recovered. A holding penalty, though, pushes Georgia Tech back to the 14 yard line. As the first quarter comes to a close with a five yard rush by Anthony Allen, this is quickly becoming a sloppy game. That is evidenced by a personal foul penalty against the Yellow Jackets after the play, pushing Georgia Tech back to the 10 yard line. The penalty lead to an untimed down to end the quarter, which turned a blessing into a curse for Duke, as Jonathan Dwyer finally breaks free for the Jackets with a scamper into Duke territory.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 7 (1:12 1st): Remember that Blue Devil discipline? Well, it finally cracked on the kickoff, as after Georgia Tech’s return man briefly fumbled the kickoff, Duke’s coverage disintegrated and Georgia Tech was able to return the ball to the one. Nesbitt punched it in on 1st and goal, and all of a sudden it’s a three point game.
Duke 10, Georgia Tech 0 (1:30 1st): Duke’s offense sputters with great field position, however. After Hollingsworth is stuffed on a first down run, Lewis is sacked on second down by his shoe-strings, and a pass to the flat falls 10 yards short of the first down. But a Snyderwine field goal is true, and Duke takes a surprising 10-0 lead over the No. 7 team in the country. Suffice it to say, the national audience watching today’s contest on ESPN2 is probably mighty surprised…
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (3:00 1st): A member of the press sitting next to me recently said that fumbles would be the only thing that could beat Georgia Tech in this game. Well, after an atrocious snap on the punt (which might have been an attempted fake punt), Georgia Tech fumbles and recovers at the Yellow Jacket 14 yard line. The momentum is clearly trending Duke’s way right now, and the fans seem to be noticing.
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (3:36 1st): Another false start puts the Yellow Jackets in second and 12, but Nesbitt finally gets loose, relatively speaking, on the option for a 10 yard gain up the middle. But Duke’s defense holds strong on 3rd and 2, not biting on the fakes on the triple option and pushing Nesbitt back. Surprisingly, though, Georgia Tech lines up to go for it on 4th and 1, but calls timeout after only trying to draw the Blue Devil defense offsides. Who would’ve thought that against a Top-10 team it would be the Blue Devils who were more disciplined?
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (5:41 1st): Georgia Tech looks very sloppy early on in this contest. A false start gave the Yellow Jackets a first and 13, and Duke continues to snuff out the triple option on 1st down. But Nesbitt finds more success passing the ball, hitting Demaryius Thomas for a first down after Duke appeared to have one-on-one coverage on the outside after a run-blitz.
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (7:11 1st): Scott gains 21 yards on yet another screen pass to the flat. After a fantastic block on the outside there was nothing but green in front of Scott before he was taken down in the secondary. It appears the Blue Devils have found a new niche in their playbook with these screens, and indeed Lewis tries to hit Boyette on another screen on second and 10 but overthrows the open running back.
On third down, though, Georgia Tech’s coverage leaves only the check down option open to Lewis, as he hits TE Brett Huffman for a four yard gain. Well short of the first down, the Blue Devils turn to backup punter Alex King to punt it away, and after an ill-advised decision not to call for the fair catch Georgia Tech is pinned back at their own six yard line.
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (9:07 1st): The Duke defense certainly knows what’s coming from the Georgia Tech offense. Two plays, two triple options, and two stuffs at the line. On 3rd and 9, QB Josh Nesbitt overthrew a wide open receiver down the sideline, and the Blue Devils (very) quickly regain possession, albeit on their own 20 yard line.
Duke 7, Georgia Tech 0 (10:47 1st): Duke’s running backs seem to be more involved early in this contest than they have at any other point this season. After a Re’quan Boyette run for a first down, Lewis threw Boyette a screen and then gained another five yards on an option run. Georgia Tech seems to be a bit confused by this new tactic by the Blue Devils, as they obviously expecting a pass first offense.
No sooner said than done, Lewis runs the play action and then throws the ball back to the man he faked to (a personal favorite play of my father back up north in Michigan) for a 18 yard TD score to Boyette in the back of the end zone. The Georgia Tech defense seemed confused an on its heels that entire drive, obviously expecting Duke to try and use its deep passing game. Instead, Coach Cutcliffe dialed up a variety of screens and shorter passes, along with (surprise!) a few solid runs. Its still early, but if the Duke offense can continue to drive the ball like it just did we may have a game on our hands.
Scoring Drive: 9 plays, 73 yards, 4:13 off the clock. 18 yard TD pass form Lewis to Boyette.
Duke 0, Georgia Tech 0 (12:45 1st): Duke tries to surprise the Yellow Jackets early with an option run on second down, but Thaddeus Lewis stumbled and was taken down for a loss. But Duke’s short passing game comes through for the Blue Devils again, as pass to Desmond Scott in the flat earns the first down and puts the Blue Devils at midfield. Scott follows that up with a 12-yard rush for a first down through a gaping hole on the left side, despite the fact that starting LG Mitchell Lederman is out today. Looks like Duke is at least going to try to make use of their running game today.
PREGAME: Welcome to what has become a beautiful day at Wallace Wade Stadium, despite the threat of, well, the world ending during this week of torrential downpours. As Wallace Wade slowly fills up, Georgia Tech wins the coin-toss and defers to the second-half, which actually might be a blessing in disguise for Duke. If the Blue Devils have any chance at the monumental upset, they’ll need to get off to a fast start against an average Yellow Jackets defense. Look for Duke to try to go deep early to one of the Killer V’s to try to put the pressure on Georgia Tech.
The bad news for Duke’s chances, though, is that Vince Oghobaase will not play today because of a leg injury and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Kinney Rucker. Considering Georgia Tech is a running team, that loss could prove tough to overcome.