Author Archives: Joe Drews

LIVE BLOG: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 0 (FINAL)

Zachary Tracer/The Chronicle

Zachary Tracer/The Chronicle

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.

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Riley To Start Against Yellow Jackets

Senior wide receiver Eron Riley, who was listed as questionable with a hand injury, will start this afternoon against Georgia Tech. Yellow Jacket starting QB Josh Nesbitt, however, did not dress. Jaybo Shaw will start in his place.

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Danowski Keeps Loss In Perspective

Audio from John Danowski

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Despite the Blue Devils’ obvious disappointment associated with coming up short of the program’s first national championship, head coach John Danowski wasn’t too outwardly upset about the loss.

“The sadness I feel–it’s not losing the game today,” Danowski said. “Listen, I’ve learned in the last two years the games aren’t that important. But you know what, I’m going to miss seeing these kids tomorrow. That’s what I’m going to miss: being with them, going to meals, being in the hotel with them for another day. I don’t get to do that now. And that’s what I’ll miss.”

Danowski praised his outgoing seniors, who helped raise the program to new heights but were unable to get over the hump and take home the national title. From the fifth-year players, who have been criticized for being allowed to play another season, to the senior class, which stuck with the program during the 2006 scandal, the head coach defended his team.

“This is one of the neatest groups of young men I’ve ever been around,” Danowski said. “There’s nothing that they don’t do well–academically, socially, community-oriented, lacrosse-wise. And the fifth-year guys had a chance to play again. They’ve been vilified for choosing to play a fifth year…. Why? You love to play lacrosse. Would you like to come back and maybe play in front of 40,000 people? I mean, come on, it’s a no-brainer for these kids…. Their legacy is they didn’t win the game today. They’re going to be very successful in life, and this is going to be a small bump in the road for all of them.”

-by Joe Drews

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FOURTH QUARTER: Duke vs. Johns Hopkins

With time beginning to work against the Blue Devils, Matt Danowski scored a much-needed goal with 8:51 to go in regulation. His shot from 10 yards out was slowed down by Gvozden, but it trickled into the net to pull Duke within one at 7-6.

Johns Hopkins countered less than a minute and a half later, as George Castle scored his second goal of the year with 7:25 remaining to push the lead back to two. But the Blue Devils answered with two quick goals of their own, with Danowski firing an underhand shot into the back of the net at 7:13. Greer fed Nick O’Hara just six seconds later, knotting the score at eight.

The Blue Jays, though, didn’t take long to untie the game. O’Hara picked up a cross checking penalty six seconds after his goal, and Boyle scored on the ensuing extra-man opportunity.

And then, a potentially pivotal sequence. Quinzani picked up the ball at midfield, then sprinted down the left side and rifled a shot off the crossbar. The rebound was corralled by Johns Hopkins, and Huntley scored in transition to give the Blue Jays a 10-8 edge with 4:18 remaining.

Duke had a great scoring opportunity with 2:19 remaining, as Quinzani pushed a rebound off a Steve Schoeffel shot just wide right. The ball went out of bounds, giving Hopkins possession. The Blue Jays played keep-away for the next 60 seconds before the Blue Devils forced a turnover with a minute remaining.

With 28.2 seconds to go, Brad Ross got Duke within one with a goal into the upper left corner of the net from 15 yards out. Hopkins won the ensuing faceoff, but the Blue Devils forced a turnover, getting one last shot to even the score.

Coming out of a timeout with 3.9 seconds left, Danowski rips a shot that’s saved by Gvozden. The rebound squirts off to the left, and the Blue Devils can’t muster another attempt before time expires. And so, for the third time in four seasons, Duke’s season ends with a one-goal loss to Johns Hopkins in the NCAA Tournament.

–by Joe Drews

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SECOND QUARTER: Duke vs. Johns Hopkins

The low-scoring play of the first quarter continued into the second period, with Duke controlling time of possession early but unable to get one past Hopkins goalie Michael Gvozden. But with just over five minutes in, Blue Jay Brian Christopher found the back of the net, streaking down the right side and firing one past Dan Loftus. That goal tied the score at two, as the Blue Devils — aside from Zack Greer’s goal — have struggled to get out in the fast-paced transition game that has allowed its offense to be so successful this year.

With 5:35 remaining in the quarter, Johns Hopkins’ Steven Boyle initiated from behind the cage, curling around and one-handing a shot past Loftus to untie the game. Just 14 seconds later, the Blue Jays struck again as Boyle fed Kevin Huntley for an over-the-shoulder goal to give Hopkins a 4-2 lead.

Duke generated a couple scoring opportunities in the final minute of play, but Gvozden turned away two Matt Danowski attempts, and Max Quinzani was unable to get off a shot at the buzzer. The Blue Devils are held scoreless for the quarter, just the fourth time that has happened this season. 

So for the first time all year, Duke enters the break trailing. It was the Blue Devils’ lowest-scoring first half this season, and tied for the team’s worst half of 2008 — Duke was outscored 8-2 in the second half of its lone loss of the year, to Georgetown March 22.

If the Blue Devils are to avoid scoring in single digits for just the second time this season — and, more importantly, losing to Johns Hopkins for the third straight tournament — they will need crisper play on the offensive end. The Blue Jays’ long possessions seemed to frustrate Duke, as the Blue Devils rushed passes and made mistakes they don’t normally make.

–by Joe Drews

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