When: Saturday, September 2, 2017. 6:00 PM.
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
Line: Duke –
Last Time: Duke 49. NC Central 6. Thr Blue Devils kicked off the 2016 season with a dominant win over the Eagles. In Daniel Jones forst career stary the QB went 10/15 for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, adding a third on the ground. Duke ran all over the Eagles, led by Jela Duncan who had 115 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 15 carries. NC Central managed just 4 first downs and 112 total yards for the game on offense. The Blue Devils defense shut out the Eagles before giving up a field goal with 1:16 left in the third quarter.
Duke will open the 2017 season with another installment of the Bull City Classic against NC Central. The Eagles are one of the stronger FCS teams, but shoild be overmatched against the Blue Devils.
Saturday will not only give us a look at which returning players will lead the Blue Devils, but should also give us an idea of which new players may have an impact this season. The first place to look may be at running back. Shaun Wilson is the unquestioned starter and will most likely lead the team in rushing, but he will have some help in the backfield. Redshirt freshman Brittain Brown has impressed in camp and should get plenty of opportunities in game one. Duke anticipates having a strong running game this year. It may be hard to evaluate how good they will actually be this year from their performance against the Eagles, but the rotations the staff uses in game one may give us an idea of what to expect for the rest of the year.
At wide receiver, TJ Rahming is the only certainty. Rahming was the team’s leader in yards and receptions last year. His 70 catches more than doubled anyone else on the team. While there is some uncertainty behind Rahming, there is no shortage of ability. Chris Taylor and Johnathan Lloyd figure to be next in the pecking order, but Aaron Young and Quay Chambers also flashed some potential last season. Thats already some quality depth without redshirt freshman Scott Bracey. Bracey was expected to play as a true freshman last year before injuries forced the heralded recruit into a redshirt. He has battled a hamstring in camp, but figures to be ready for the season.
Saturday will also be the first look at a, hopefully, refreshed kicking game. Duke’s field goal kicking let them down time after time in 2016 after being a strength for most every year in recent memory. Cutcliffe will probably give multiple guys an opportunity to kick on Saturday. Punter Austin Parker and graduate transfer William Homquist are at the top of the depth chart so one of them figures to be the starter moving forward, but with several place kickers on the roster the coaching staff will use every opportunity to figure out who the best man for the job is.
There are plenty of young guys and new faces on the initial depth chart and Saturday will offer our first chance to get a look at who might be ready to make an impact this season.