POSTGAME NOTES: It was a rough day all around for Duke. The Blue Devils failed to get anything going offensively until it was far too late, and even then Duke couldn’t put any points on the board. Lewis finished 15-of-28 for just 97 yards, and the rushing attack netted 35 yards on 20 carries — not nearly enough production against a quality ACC opponent like Georgia Tech. Some notable quotes from the postgame press conference:
- Head coach David Cutcliffe has been known to crack some jokes in his press conferences. Despite the loss, today was no different. Upon walking into the Hugh Spruill Fitness Center — which is exactly what it sounds like, a weight room — Cutcliffe quipped, “It’d be nice to get a workout while I’m in here, get something out of this. Do you mind if I lift while we talk? I probably should, in all honesty.” It was that kind of day for Duke.
- But Cutcliffe wasn’t down on his squad by any means: “We can’t measure ourselves as a team just in wins and losses alone at this stage. There’s a lot of growth involved in everything that we do…. Obviously, we failed the test on the field to a great degree. We played a team that played really well, played far superior to us today…. We’ll learn from it.”
- Navy head coach Paul Johnson, on backup QB Jaybo Shaw having a lot of time to think about his upcoming start this week in place of injured Josh Nesbitt: “I’m sure you couldn’t have driven a straight pin up his tail with a sledgehammer. I’m sure he was a little nervous.” Shaw did just fine, going 9-of-14 for 230 yards — all of them to WR Demaryius Thomas — and an 88-yard touchdown pass.
27-0 GEORGIA TECH, FINAL: Duke is shut out in its first road game of the year, mustering virtually no offense until it was too late. Quotes and more analysis to come later.
27-0 GEORGIA TECH, 0:54, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech just misses a touchdown, as WR R.B. Clyburn is ruled out of bounds. Blair tacks on a field goal.
24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 2:25, 4TH QUARTER: Lewis’ third-down pass is tipped and picked off by Alex Walker. Walker returns it to the 12, putting Georgia Tech in great position to add to its lead in the final minutes.
24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 6:35, 4TH QUARTER: Facing a must-convert fourth-and-15 from the Georgia Tech 21, Lewis is pressured and has to dump it off to Clifford Harris, who is tackled short of the first down. The Yellow Jackets’ first play is a long completion to Thomas, who now has the second-best receiving day in Georgia Tech history.
24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 9:11, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech puts an exclamation point on the game, in all likelihood sealing a victory on an 88-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Thomas, the third-longest pass play in Yellow Jacket history. Thomas now has 197 yards receiving in the game, good for ninth-best in school history.
17-0 GEORGIA TECH, 13:05, 4TH QUARTER: Zack Asack enters the game, but a different quarterback produces the same result. The Blue Devils go three-and-out, with Asack’s third-down pass sailing past Riley. Kevin Jones rebounds with a 60-yard punt, but Duke needs to move the ball on offense and they have just been unable to do so.
17-0 GEORGIA TECH, 14:56, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech punches it in on a Shaw keeper to the left side. Duke’s going to need a huge quarter to come back — a tall order for a team that currently has 48 total yards.
10-0 GEORGIA TECH, END OF 3RD: And sure enough, Georgia Tech’s first play of the drive is a 36-yard run by Dwyer. He carries the ball on the next three plays as well, getting the Yellow Jackets down to the 2 as the quarter winds to a close.
10-0 GEORGIA TECH, 2:11, 3RD QUARTER: The momentum is starting to swing in Georgia Tech’s favor, if it wasn’t already that way. Duke went three-and-out, with Lewis narrowly avoiding a sack on third down and then misfiring on a pass intended for Austin Kelly. Kevin Jones’ punt only went 20 yards, giving the Yellow Jackets their best starting field position of the day — at their own 47.
10-0 GEORGIA TECH, 3:59, 3RD QUARTER: Duke’s bend-but-don’t-break defense finally broke. Roddy Jones took a pitch left and scampered into the end zone on third-and-1 from Duke’s 4. The Yellow Jackets were helped out by a Jabari Marshall pass interference penalty on the drive, which came on a crucial third-and-15. It isn’t just the option that’s torching Duke — Shaw also completed a 25-yard pass to Thomas on first-and-10 from the 48, and he was going for the end zone on the Marshall penalty. Georgia Tech is airing it out (relatively speaking) against Duke.
3-0 GEORGIA TECH, 11:17, 3RD QUARTER: After Duke kept Georgia Tech’s drive alive with a penalty (again), the Yellow Jackets killed it with a flag of their own. Duke was called for roughing the passer on third-and-12, giving Georgia Tech an automatic first down. But four plays later, on fourth-and-inches from their own 43, a false start pushed the Yellow Jackets back five yards and forced them to punt, giving Duke the ball for the first time this half.
HALFTIME OBSERVATIONS: It sure doesn’t feel like Duke is only down by three points. The offense has struggled, while Georgia Tech has run the option to near-perfection. The Blue Devils started making some more tackles for loss at the end of the second quarter, so look to see if they can make further improvements in the second half. Their bend-but-don’t-break defense has worked so far, but if the Yellow Jackets keep this up, they will most likely be able to put some more points up on the board in the second half. Duke came out of halftime against Navy and absolutely shut down the running game, but this time it’ll be harder. After all, the Blue Devils aren’t just going up against better athletes — the man roaming the sidelines for Georgia Tech, Paul Johnson, is the engineer of the modern-day triple-option offense. Still, the fact that Duke is only down by three is an encouraging sign. The Blue Devils prevented the Yellow Jackets from dominating the first quarter, which they have done so often this season. Now it’s on to the second half, where the Blue Devils’ conditioning has paid dividends so far this year — and they’re certainly hoping it does again.
3-0 GEORGIA TECH, HALFTIME: The penalty doesn’t cost the Blue Devils, as Georgia Tech makes it to the Duke 42 before halftime but can’t get any closer to the end zone. Shaw’s last-second pass on fourth-and-6 sails out of bounds, and the teams head into the locker rooms after a surprisingly low-scoring first half.
3-0 GEORGIA TECH, 0:50, 2ND QUARTER: An impressive defensive stand by the Blue Devils — highlighted by a sack and a tackle for loss on an option left — appears to give Duke one more chance to score before the half. But Georgia Tech’s punt is negated by a roughing the kicker penalty, resulting in an automatic first down for the Yellow Jackets.
3-0 GEORGIA TECH, 5:29, 2ND QUARTER: Georgia Tech marches down to the three before Duke pressures Shaw into throwing an incomplete pass into the back of the end zone on third down. Scott Blair nails the 20-yard field goal, putting the Yellow Jackets on the board.
0-0, 8:50, 2ND QUARTER: First review of the day. Shaw completed a 32-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas, who fumbled it backwards out of bounds at the 23. The play stands as called and is not reversed to an incomplete pass, which puts Georgia Tech back near the red zone.
0-0, 11:28, 2ND QUARTER: The Blue Devils go three-and-out, as Thaddeus Lewis is sacked on third down. Georgia Tech’s defensive line is dominating Duke’s offensive line to this point, something Duke will have to fix if Lewis is going to get enough time to be effective.
0-0, 12:24, 2ND QUARTER: Georgia Tech goes for it on fourth down again, but this time the Yellow Jackets come up short as Shaw keeps it on the option. Duke takes over at its own 29.
0-0, END OF 1ST: Neither team has put any points on the board, but Georgia Tech has been moving the ball better. The Yellow Jackets have converted two third downs on their current drive — including a third-and-7 from their own 5. Duke will need to find a way to slow down the option, as it did so successfully in the second half against Navy.
0-0, 2:40, 1ST QUARTER: Duke’s drive stalls at Georgia Tech’s 46, as Jay Hollingsworth is only able to pick up one yard on third-and-4 on a screen pass. Kevin Jones’ punt is downed by Raphael Chestnut at the 2, pinning the Yellow Jackets deep in their own territory.
0-0, 7:23, 1ST QUARTER: Duke catches a huge break. Georgia Tech had been marching down the field, converting a critical fourth-and-2 from Duke’s 33 and a third-and-8 from the 21 before Wesley Oglesby recovers a fumble at the 9. The Blue Devils regain possession and just converted their first first down of the afternoon.
0-0, 13:41, 1ST QUARTER: Not a good start for Duke. The Blue Devils go three-and-out after Eron Riley drops a sure first down over the middle on third-and-11. A good punt pins Georgia Tech inside the 20, but the Yellow Jackets’ first play from scrimmage is a 25-yard run by fullback Jonathan Dwyer.
PREGAME: The Georgia Tech band is out on the field, and Bobby Dodd Stadium still has a bunch of empty seats 15 minutes before gametime. Judging by the number of yellow-clad people on the streets of downtown Atlanta, however, the Blue Devils will likely be facing a hostile sell-out crowd this afternoon. Still no official word on Eron Riley. He was warming up on the field before the band came on, but remains a gametime decision. We’ll let you know when we get official word, but our guess is that he’ll play.