FACTS & STATS: Site: Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) — Durham, North Carolina.
Television: RSN. Home Record: Tulane 1-1, Duke 2-0. Away Record: Tulane 0-1,
Duke 0-1. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-0, Duke 0-0. Conference Record: Tulane 0-0,
Duke 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Duke Blue Devils will try to continue their best start in 20
years when they host the Tulane Green Wave for a final tune-up before ACC play
The Blue Devils, who won 10 games for the first time in school history last
season, have sprinted out to a 3-0 start to begin the 2014 campaign. They have
not managed such an opening since going 7-0 to begin the 1994 season. They
blasted Elon (52-13) at home, then claimed victories over Troy (34-17) and
Kansas (41-3) to keep the ball rolling. They will face Miami-Florida next
weekend to kick off ACC action.
Tulane earned its first win of the season last Saturday by besting FCS foe
Southeastern Louisiana, 35-20. The Green Wave suffered losses in their first
two games, falling in double-overtime to Tulsa (38-31), and in regulation to
Georgia Tech (38-21).
Juwan Thompson rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns to carry Duke to a 48-27
win over Tulane when these teams last met in 2011. The win was the second in
three all-time meetings for the Blue Devils.
Even in Tulane’s win last Saturday, Tanner Lee failed to look all that
impressive. The Tulane quarterback threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns,
but it is tough to say he had a good game considering he completed just 46.7
percent of his passes and was intercepted twice. On the season, Lee has
connected on an even 50 percent of his attempts for 673 yards and eight
scores, while being intercepted six times.
Luckily for Lee he has one of the best receiving tandems in the AAC in Justyn
Shackleford and Xavier Rush. Shackleford has snagged 17 passes for 251 yards
and two scores, leading the team in the first two categories. Rush has been an
explosive play waiting to happen with 223 yards and three touchdowns on only
Sherman Badie has also given the Green Wave an explosive option in the
backfield, averaging better than nine yards per carry at running back. In
total, he has amassed 310 yards and a pair of scores on 33 carries. In the
loss to Tulsa he picked up most of those yards, scampering for 215 on 15
Despite the speed of Badie and Rush, the Green Wave still need to pick up the
pace on offense. They are averaging 401 yards and 29 points per game.
Improvements are needed on defense as well. The Green Wave may have held
Southeastern Louisiana to 271 yards, but they surrendered 592 to Tulsa and 359
to Georgia Tech. In all, they have let up an average of 407.3 yards per game,
while tying for sixth in the AAC in scoring defense (32 ppg).
Sam Scofield (25 tackles, INT) and Nico Marley (22 tackles, 3.0 TFL, INT) have
been the top playmakers for the unit. Marley has one of only three sacks for
the cause. Lorenzo Doss, who was a Second-Team All-American last season, has
15 tackles, but zero interceptions, pass breakups or passes defended.
Duke’s offense moved the ball at will against Kansas last weekend. The Blue
Devils averaged 7.2 yards per play and finished with 511 yards of total
offense. They were particularly effective on the ground, finishing with 331
yards on only 36 carries. It doesn’t seem like the offensive firepower won’t
be going away any time soon, with Duke averaging 510 yards and 42.3 points per
Contributing in Duke’s suddenly potent rushing attack is a trio of running
backs. Shaquille Powell is the starter and has the most rushing attempts (28),
but has just 122 yards and one touchdown. Josh Snead (129 yards) and Shaun
Wilson (334 yards, three TDs) have been more productive, especially Wilson,
who is averaging more than 15 yards per carry.
Of course the offense is really in the hands of quarterback Anthony Boone, who
has gotten off to a strong start. He has completed 63.6 percent of his
attempts for 695 yards. Even more importantly, he has thrown seven touchdown
passes and has not been picked off.
It helps that Boone gets to throw to Jamison Crowder, who has 177 yards and
two scores on 16 receptions. However, Boone has spread the wealth fairly well,
with Max McCaffrey (16 receptions, 178 yards, two TDs) and Issac Blakeney (13
receptions, 173 yards, three TDs) getting chances as well.
Duke performed extremely well on defense against Kansas, holding the
admittedly-weak Jayhawks to just 297 total yards and 17 first downs. The Blue
Devils have only allowed 33 combined points in the first three games, while
limiting foes to 340.3 yards per tilt.
The players to watch on the Duke defense are David Helton (31 tackles), DeVon
Edwards (28 tackles, INT) and Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo (2.0 sacks).
With their multi-faceted offensive approach, the Blue Devils should once again
move up and down the field at whatever pace they choose in this one. Tulane
has some talented players, but is not strong enough under center to keep
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 34, Tulane 13