THE CONTENTS: After their season-opening loss to Richmond, Duke travels to West Point, N.Y. to face Army in the Black Knights’ home opener. The game can be seen on CBS College Sports and can be heard on WDNC-AM 620.
THE EXPOSITION: The Blue Devils looked much more like their 2006 counterparts than last year’s team after losing to Richmond last weekend. While Thaddeus Lewis threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns, Duke rushed for only 19 yards on 16 attempts and had to rely on a short passing game to replace the stagnant running attack. But the main issue for the Blue Devils was their special teams, which easily cost the team 13 points that might have won them the game on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and two missed field goals.
The Black Knights’, meanwhile, won their opener in new head coach’s Rich Ellerson’s first game at the helm. The victory, though, was over lowly Eastern Michigan, a team ranked as the second worst in the country by ESPN.com’s Bottom 10. Army’s new triple-option attack was prevalent, as the Black Knights’ rushed for 300 yards and threw for only eight.
WHEN THE BLUE DEVILS ARE ON OFFENSE: Army’s defense held the Eagles to only 223 total yards last week, including only 183 through the air. Junior defensive end Josh McNary led the Black Knights with nine tackles and two-and-a-half sacks last weekend, after recording 69 tackles and four-and-a-half sacks last season. However, Army’s defense as a whole was fairly porous last season, allowing 23.7 points and 339.5 yards per game.
Duke should be able to pass the ball at will again this week with Lewis and receiver Johnny Williams leading the way. The difference, then, will be if the offensive line can contain McNary and open up holes for running backs Re’quan Boyette and Jay Hollingsworth. If the Blue Devils are unable to run the ball this week, Army’s vaunted triple-option rushing attack should allow the Black Knights to control the clock and the pace of the game.