1. David Cutcliffe is angry. That’s the only way to sum up Cutcliffe’s eight minutes in front of the microphone, as he wasn’t too happy with the Blue Devils’ performance in the second half. Cutcliffe even seemed to imply that the team quit, and he wondered aloud who would respond this week with the team facing its biggest adversity of the season. The coach seemed particularly displeased with Eron Riley, who totaled at least four drops. Riley’s been struggling with a hand injury, but Cutcliffe said he was making those catches in practice. Further, Cutcliffe said his team was conditioned enough to play two more quarters, again implying that the late-game meltdown may have been more about a lack of effort than fatigue.This certainly wasn’t the same Cutcliffe who has cracked jokes in most of his postgame pressers.
2. The word from the Duke players was execution. The Blue Devils simply didn’t execute in the second half, with several drops and penalties killing drives.
3. In contrast, Duke did execute its gameplan to perfection in the first half, moving the ball on the ground and dominating time of possession. Those stats evened out in the second half, as Miami more or less manhandled the Blue Devils from midway in the third quarter on.
4. The big turning point was Matt Bosher’s 76-yard punt. Miami had consecutive three-and-outs inside its 20, and Bosher’s booming kick pinned the Blue Devils inside their 10-yard line. Duke’s offense couldn’t rebound, and the Hurricanes capitalized on good field position to take the lead. All day, the Miami offense looked skittish when backed up but unstoppable once they got around midfield.
Duke now goes on the road for its next two games at Vanderbilt and at Wake Forest. The Commodores dropped their second straight today, losing to Georgia after they had risen to No. 13 in the rankings. Expect an angry team looking to get back on track and qualify for its first bowl game in a quarter-century in Nashville Saturday.