You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone
In the Blue Devils’ first drive of Saturday’s contest against Clemson, quarterback Thaddeus Lewis went 3-for-3 for 24 yards, leading Duke to two first downs before a Tiger sack forced Duke to punt. On the next series, Lewis was hit as he threw on third down, straining his foot enough to sideline him for the rest of the game. Up to that point, the score was knotted at zero, and the two teams appeared fairly balanced and ready for an exhilarating back-and-forth game.
But then backup Zack Asack came in and the Duke offense stalled, failing to convert another first down until the third quarter and running only six plays in Clemson territory all afternoon. Now, in no way can a 31-7 loss be placed all on the shoulders of the backup quarterback—period, end of story, can’t be done. It did create a tremendously difficult uphill battle for the Blue Devils, though, and, once the game started getting away from them, their problems snowballed exponentially.
As Asack worked to shake off the rust, the Blue Devils turned in three-and-outs on four straight drives to close out the first half. The placed the defense in a tough spot, remaining on the field for more than 20 minutes before the break as the Tigers worked up an insurmountable 17-0 lead.
It’s way too early to tell if this offense can produce behind Asack—he has been successful in the past—but the importance of Lewis to this offense was made remarkably evident Saturday. We’ve known all along this season he was special, but his name was sometimes overshadowed by the likes of star wideout Eron Riley and up-and-comers Johnny Williams and Jay Hollingsworth. Now we see that, without the conductor at the helm, even the most well-oiled machine can break down. Continue reading