Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rewind: Duke at Florida State

Duke (6-3, 3-2 in the ACC)

Lost to FSU 48-7

The epigraph: "I told our team it was not a product of their preparation. We have a very committed team. We practiced well. It was not a product of we’re bowl-eligible, now we’re going to shut down. That’s not the case. It is a product of playing a very good team. We didn’t respond to that very good team." —head coach David Cutcliffe

What worked: Big-picture wise, not much. But when coach David Cutcliffe went back and reviewed film, there were individual plays that Duke did win.

A few notable numbers: The Seminoles entered the game with seven fumbles on the entire season, but they put the ball on the ground four times against Duke, including three times in the third quarter. The Blue Devils did recover all four loose balls.

In the first quarter, backup nose guard Steven Ingram hit FSU quarterback EJ Manuel and knocked the ball loose, and freshman safety Dwayne Norman recovered. In the second half, Tyler Hunter muffed a punt off his facemask (Austin Gamble recovered), Ross Cockrell stripped receiver Rodney Smith (Walt Canty recovered), and Norman collected his second fumble recovery when he knocked the ball loose from running back Devonta Freeman.

"We come out and do ball security every day at the beginning of practice," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We're going to fix that, I can't tolerate that and Devonta (Freeman) put one on the ground. I couldn't see what happened on his. But that was disappointing, but I was very proud of our team."

Also, for the first time since a Nov. 4, 2009 win over Wake Forest, the Seminoles didn’t record a sack. That said, FSU did knock out both starting running back Juwan Thompson and quarterback Sean Renfree with vicious hits. Cutcliffe said Sunday that both Thompson and Renfree were sick entering Saturday's game, complicating any postgame evaluation (when you feel bad going in, getting knocked around won't make that any better). CAT scans and X-rays for Thompson came back negative. Cutcliffe did not have an update on Renfree.

What needs work: “Malfunctioned” was the word senior defensive end Kenny Anunike used to describe Duke’s performance on offense, defense and special teams. After reviewing the film Sunday morning, Cutcliffe said there wasn’t a single individual performance worth highlighting. Prehaps most surprising, though, were the struggles of Duke’s two freshmen specialists, punter Will Monday and kicker Ross Martin.

Monday had drawn heavy praise from  Fisher all week, and he came out and shanked his first punt out of bounds as it went just 29 yards. His third punt was returned 75 yards for a touchdown, and he also had another one that was a line drive right into Hunter’s hands. On the day, though, Monday punted 11 times with an average of 40.5 yards per punt, close to his ACC-leading average of 45.8 entering the game.

Martin hadn’t missed a field goal since week one against Florida International (and that was his only miss on the year entering the game), but he missed wide left from 24 yards. That snapped his streak of 13 consecutive field goals.

What’s next: Duke has another tough challenge when No. 10 Clemson (7-1, 4-1) comes to town. The Tigers only loss was on the road to FSU, 49-37.

The epitaph: "I think this is the best team in the country, and I’ve been doing this a long time. I don’t think they have a weakness." —Cutcliffe

-- Laura Keeley


Bryan said...

I agree with Coach Cutcliffe. The game, as it unfolded, brought back some rough memories of hapless Duke teams during a long period of administrative neglect. Then you just realize that FSU is very, very good. They must be absolutely kicking themselves over that NCSU result. How did that happen?

Anonymous said...

Still convinced FSU is the 2nd best team in the country...every game save for NCSU has been an embarrassment.

How did they blow that 16-0 3rd quarter lead against State?