When: Saturday, November 11, 2017. 12:00 pm
Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, New York
Line: Duke -2.5
Last Time: Duke 13. Army 6. Army visited Durham last fall and lost a sloppy, rain soaked matchup to the Blue Devils. The weather was a product of Hurricane Matthew and made for a very interesting, if not high level, day of football. The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 13-0 lead after Daniel Jones and Parker Boehme each completed touchdown passes to Erich Schneider and Aaron Young. The rain fall was so heavy by the time Young caught his touchdown pass the Blue Devils elected to try a 2 point conversion rather than attempt a kick. Army answered with a 45 yard touchdown rush in the closing minutes of the first half, but failed on their 2 point conversion attempt also. The second half featured lots of hand off and punts. The weather forced a usually pass happy Duke offense into just 16 attempts on the day. The Knights and Blue Devils combined for 16 punts, 6 fumbles, and just 403 yards of offense.
Time is running out for the Blue Devils to become bowl eligible this season. Duke has dropped five straight games after sprinting to a 4-0 start. Five wins may ultimately be enough for Duke to get to a bowl given their strong APR scores, but even just one more win this season isn’t a given.
Most fans and experts probably pencilled in Saturday’s games against Army as one of the easier wins Duke would get this season. As the 2017 season has unfolded it’s become clear that there won’t be anything easy about this weekend’s game. Army sits at 7-2 and will be confident that they can get win number eight against the Blue Devils.
The Knights are an interesting matchup. If they had it their way they wouldn’t attempt a single pass. They take the option offense to an extreme and this year it has been working for them. Duke usually plays well against the option attack. They’re undefeated against Army over the last few seasons and have had success against Georgia Tech also. There will be even less of a threat of a pass against Army, opposed to the Yellow Jackets, so expect Duke to keep at least 8 guys in the box the entirety of the game.
The quality defensive front of Duke should keep the Army offense under control and take some pressure off Daniel Jones and the Duke offense. Hopefully the bye week gave the Blue Devils coaches the opportunity to make some changes in the offensive scheme. There has still been a lack of commitment to go all in on the running game despite all signs pointing that way. It’s unlikely the Blue Devil receivers took a big enough step forward in the week off to change the struggling passing attack so once again we will keep an eye on how many touches Brittain Brown and Shaun Wilson get.