Category Archives: Football

Duke v. Virginia Tech: Live Blog

By Harrison Comfort

15:00 1st Quarter (0-0): It is a beautiful day. Virginia Tech wins the toss and is set to receive.

12:45 1st Quarter: (0-0): Duke forces a punt after Virginia Tech gains only 5 yards of offense after its first possession.

6:20 1st Quarter (0-0): Two straight offsides penalties by Virginia Tech. Thaddeus Lewis is very tricky.

2:48 1st Quarter (7-0 Duke): Thaddeus Lewis 48 yard touchdown pass to TE Brandon King. 9 plays 79 yard drive and the Blue Devils are on top.

0:49 1st Quarter (7-7): Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor 36 yard touchdown pass to Danny Coale. Extra Point good.

15:00 2nd Quarter (7-7): Score still tied. Blue Devils have the ball on their own 18 yard line facing a 2nd and 16. Shotgun formation is in effect. It does not prove effective as Duke has its first three and out.

10:41 2nd Quarter (10-7 Virginia Tech): 40 Yard field goal by Matt Waldron good. 10 straight points by the Hokies, the Blue Devils need a good drive to regain momentum.

9:32 2nd Quarter (10-7 Virginia Tech): Another three and out for Duke. They really need a big play.

6:14 2nd Quarter (17-7 Virginia Tech): VT touchdown on a 30 yard pass from Taylor to Jarrett Boykin. The Blue Devils really need some momentum before the game gets out of hand.

4:28 2nd Quarter (17-7 Virginia Tech): Desmond Scott is in the game and has gotten the ball three straight plays. A 5 yard run, a 24 yard reception and another 7 yard rush. In the midst of writing this post, Scott just broke a tackle and scampered for another 14 yards. We are all witnesses.

0:42 2nd Quarter (17-7 Virginia Tech): Thaddeus Lewis fumbles the ball on a 8 yard run up the middle but Duke recovers. 3rd and 1 on the Hokies’ 10 and Kurunwune just got stuffed running a trap.

0:07 2nd Quarter (17-10 VT): Snyderwine 29 yard field goal good capping off a 11 play 69 yard drive. Definitely a much needed score before halftime.

0:00 2nd Quarter (17-10 VT): It’s halftime and the band is performing. After this spectacular showing, some local high schools have performances of their own.

13:11 3rd Quarter (17-10 VT): Thaddeus Lewis completes a 74 yard pass to Conner Vernon. Austin Kelly laid on two Hokie defenders on Vernon’s run to the three yard line.

12:45 3rd Quarter (17-13 VT): Duke is unable to put the ball on the end zone from the three yard line. Snyderwine 22 yard field goal good. The Blue Devils need to take advantage of these opportunities in the red zone.

10:34 3rd Quarter (17-13 VT): VT just converted on a 3rd and 34. Prior to that play, the Blue Devils accepted a personal foul penalty rather than just declining it and leaving the Hokies with a 4th and 9. What were the Blue Devils thinking?

8:33 3rd Quarter (20-13 VT): VT kicked a field goal, but Duke dodged a bullet after allowing the Hokies to convert on 3rd and 34. The Blue Devils are still just a touchdown and an extra point from tying the game.

4:45 3rd Quarter (20-13 VT): Matt Daniels forces a fumble after a VT completion. He is everywhere. Duke recovers. LETS GO!

0:44 3rd Quarter (20-13 VT): Duke converts on a 3rd and 24 after a personal foul penalty on the Hokies. The Blue Devils need to get on the board here.

14:30 4th Quarter (20-13 VT): Duke has the ball on the Hokies’ 33 yard line. It’s 4th and 4 and the Blue Devils covert a fake punk. 1st down Duke.

13:51 4th Quarter (20-16 VT): Synderwine hits a career-long 47 yard field goal. More than enough distance and right through the uprights.

9:37 4th Quarter (27-16 VT): Hokies’ running back Josh Oglesby scores a touchdown on a 12 yard run. He was untouched.

7:08 4th Quarter (27-19 VT): Duke is unable to score a touchdown after another trip inside the Hokies’ 20 yard line. Snyderwine his 4th field goal of the game for 43 yards.

2:28 4th Quarter (34-19 VT): Another VT TD. The Cameron Crazies are fleeing Wallace Wade Stadium.

0:25 4th Quarter (34-26 VT):  Austin Kelly TD reception on a slant. Pass from Thaddeus Lewis. The on-side kick squad will be coming on soon.

0:25 4th Quarter (34-26 VT): VT recovers onside kick.

0:00 Final (34-26 VT): VT wins. Game over.

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Miamis Aldarius Johnson tips the ball over Dukes Lee Butler for a touchdown in the second half of Miamis 49-31 win over Duke Saturday. Photo by Simeon Law/The Chronicle

Miami's Laron Byrd tips the ball over Duke's Lee Butler for a touchdown in the second half of Miami's 49-31 win over Duke Saturday. Photo by Simeon Law/The Chronicle

Check out a slideshow of The Chronicle’s best photos from Saturday’s game by following this link.

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LIVE BLOG: Miami at Duke


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.

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Johnny Williams Doubtful For Miami Game

Freshman wide receiver Johnny Williams, the team’s second-leading wideout, is doubtful for the Blue Devils’ Saturday matchup with Miami because of a dental abscess, the program released in its weekly injury report Thursday. Williams has hauled in 20 catches for 231 yards in five games, trailing only senior Eron Riley, who has 27 catches for 288 yards and six touchdowns. He caught 11 passes for 135 yards in Duke’s Sept. 6 24-20 loss to Northwestern.

Defensive end Wesley Oglesby and cornerback Leon Wright are both questionable with leg injuries.

Full injury report:

RB Re’quan Boyette (leg) — OUT
C Marcus Lind (shoulder) — OUT
WR Johnny Williams (dental abscess) — DOUBTFUL
DE Wesley Oglesby (leg) — QUESTIONABLE
CB Leon Wright (leg) — QUESTIONABLE
CB Lee Butler (shoulder) — WILL PLAY
WR Eron Riley (hand) — WILL PLAY
WR Austin Kelly (back) — WILL PLAY

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Devin Hester Shined Against Duke

Devin Hester has gone on to bigger and better things—the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl, to name two—but perhaps his most famous punt return came against Duke in 2005—sort of. Hester’s most-viewed YouTube clip depicts him criss-crossing and weaving through the Blue Devil special teams unit for a touchdown that was eventually negated by a holding call that barely affected the play.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, watch the video below and you will soon realize the fuss. And for those of you who have, it’s always worth watching again.

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Thaddeus Lewis, Jacory Harris To Renew Old Friendship

When Miami comes to Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday, Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris and Blue Devil signal-caller Thaddeus Lewis won’t just be looking to improve their teams’ ACC records. The two have a bit of shared history from their time as high school quarterbacks in Miami-Dade County, Fla.

Harris, a freshman who splits time with Robert Marve, and Lewis, now a junior and the solidified starter, grew up about 20 miles away from each other in South Florida.

After Miami’s 20-14 win Saturday against UCF, Harris was asked about playing Duke, and said he was excited to take on Lewis. In high school, the two occasionally worked out together in Opa Locka, close to Lewis’ hometown of Hialeah Lakes, and in the interview with radio station 560 WQAM, Harris credited his rival with “getting him into playing quarterback.”

Harris took the starting job at Northwestern High School in 2006, when Lewis was already getting settled in Durham, so the two never met on the gridiron in Florida. Nonetheless, Harris could have chosen to play another position or another sport altogether in 2004 and 2005, but stuck with quarterbacks thanks in part to Lewis’ guidance.

Lewis earned team MVP honors in his last three seasons at unheralded Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior High School, a school with no district championships since 1990. Harris, meanwhile, quarterbacked powerhouse Northwestern to state championships in 2006 and 2007; last season the Bulls also defeated Southlake Carroll High, one of the best teams in Texas and the school that produced Missouri star Chase Daniel, en route to an unofficial ranking as the nation’s best team.

For comparisons of the two schools’ pedigrees, just check out their records from last year. Northwestern went 15-0, including a 63-0 thrashing of Lewis’ alma mater, and a whopping seven Bulls received scholarships to Miami; in contrast, Hialeah-Miami Lakes went just 1-10 in 2007.

The recent differences between Miami and Duke are vast, but nowhere near as oceanic as that.

–by Gabe Starosta

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Q&A With Larry Coker

Larry Coker was one disputed pass interference call away from leading Miami to back-to-back national championships in 2001 and 2002. Now, he’s the color analyst for ESPNU and has covered three of Duke’s games this year—its wins over Navy and Virginia and its loss to Georgia Tech. The Chronicle’s Ben Cohen caught up with Coker Tuesday to discuss his impressions of the Blue Devils, his recruitment of Duke defensive lineman Vince Oghobaase and his prediction for this weekend as Duke welcomes the Hurricanes.

How does this year’s Duke team compare to the teams that you coached against?

I think it’s probably the best that’s been around in a few years.

You’ve seen the pass-catch combination of Thaddeus Lewis and Eron Riley three times this year. What kind of potential do they have on the next level?

They have a lot of potential, they could be Sunday-type players, especially if Lewis can get some help with the running game—it’s going to make him a lot better. I know Harris is doing a pretty good job, Hollingsworth did a nice job the last time I saw him [against Virginia Sept. 27]. I think [Lewis and Riley] are both Sunday-type players.

Given linebacker Michael Tauiliili’s season so far, is he the favorite for ACC Defensive Player of the Year?

I don’t know that—I know he has all-league potential. Vince Oghobaase, too.

Were you surprised Oghobaase came to Duke instead of other highly touted programs?

Yes, I think it was a decision he and his family made for his eduaction and for the right reasons, but i was surpsirsed. I thought he would probably end up… it was Duke or [Miami]. I thought we were going to get him.

Can all the changes from this year’s team to those of the last few years be attributed to change at the top of the program, starting with Cutcliffe?

Well, it was the previous staff that recruited these players. Ted Roof did a really good job recruiting and this was kind of the year that he had built for. But the new staff and attitude of David Cutcliffe and the stamp he puts on this team and the staff he’s put around him—it just personifies those good players that have matured.

How difficult is it for Lewis to succeed if he doesn’t have a legitimate running threat?

It’s pretty hard. You’re going to get a lot of different pressure. If you can run the football, it makes a lot of difference how you put pressure on the passer. I think it’s pretty hard to just be a good passing team and not being able to run the ball.

What are your thoughts on this weekend’s Duke-Miami matchup?

Miami’s got a lot of talent. That’s going to be the key, whether Duke can protect the quarterback. If they can, they’ll have some chances in the passing game. Defensively, Duket is pretty good. Javaris James, the running back, will help Miami. Miami didn’t play well last week, so they’ll want to step out of the shell and play great. It’ll be a challenge for Duke—it’ll be a really good game. It’s kind of a tossup game.

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