Despite entering Week 5 averaging over 40 points and nearly 500 yards per contest, Duke was limited to a season low in points (6), yards (349) and yards per play (3.97) in Friday night’s difficult 31-6 loss against Miami, dropping the Blue Devils to 4-1 (1-1 ACC) on the season.
Miami, which improved to 3-0 (1-0), got a strong performance from its redshirt junior quarterback Malik Rosier, who completed 15 of 26 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. One week after allowing 30 points to Toledo, the Hurricanes defense kept Duke out of the end zone, earning their fourth consecutive win over the Blue Devils and 13 of the last 14 matchups overall.
Still on track for what could be a “special” season for Duke’s football program, here’s what coach David Cutcliffe had to say after the game:
On his reaction to the game: “They’re all over the place because the game was all over the place. We came up short in the first half, first quarter wasn’t the greatest start for the defense and offensively, it looked like we were going to just move the football almost at will. You can run it and we were throwing it okay at that point. Penalties, fourth down and short, we busted protection and gave up that sack, then a turnover puts us in a worse circumstance. What was a 17-6 game, you look atthe sheet, didn’t look like a 17-6 game. Third quarter, our defense played tremendous and gave us every opportunity. We miscued in the passing game, we miscued the protection. We still ran the ball well, but when we chose to try to throw it downfield, we even dropped some passes that were opportunities down the field. We’ve got to throw it more accurately, we’ve got to throw it on time, we’ve got to protect better, we’ve got to be on the same page route running. It’s all over the place. When you have a team as talented as Miami, any mistake you make is going to be exaggerated. I said it going into the game and you certainly saw it tonight.”
On whether scoring on the first drive could have set a different tone: “That’s football. You think about kicking the field goal right there, just to finish with points. But everything in my
book says to go for it. I know how talented they are, and I knew that they would create some measure of points. Thirty-one points is misleading to the people who are going to read about this. It’s one of those tough situations – danged if you do and danged if you don’t. But where we are right now, I don’t know if we can make a field goal anyway.”
On the defense rallying to perform well later in the game: “Our guys have a lot of pride. I’m talking to them on the sideline – they felt like they matched up physically. Basically it was the pass rush. They weren’t going to run the football real well on us when it mattered, game’s on the line. We started getting to the quarterback. He wasn’t nearly as accurate. Those plays early – oh my goodness. The pass protection, we weren’t near him. I thought [Defensive Coordinator] Jim Knowles did a good job of gearing that up and putting us in some better situations. We got a little more aggressive and it paid off.”
On how he anticipates the team will respond to the adversity: “In the locker room I talked with them about how we had a terrific camp. We’ve played five games – we’ve won four
of the five. All you can do is one day at a time. You work to get better. We’ve got one game coming – that’s it for now. We’ve got those five. This team has got some character, some guts and some toughness. They’re not backing down from the work and they’re not backing down from having a special season.”
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