Boston College-Duke Preview
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) When Boston College visits Duke on Saturday, yards and points probably will be at a premium.
The Eagles (3-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) and Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0) meet in a matchup of two of the nation’s best defenses.
BC ranks first in the FBS in both total defense (118 yards per game) and against the pass (72 ypg), and is second in both points (7.8 ppg) and yards rushing (46 ypg).
Duke isn’t far behind: The Blue Devils are 10th nationally in total defense (261 ypg) and seventh in scoring defense (11.5 ppg).
And muddying things further, heavy rain is in the forecast with Hurricane Joaquin expected to head up the East Coast.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe calls BC’s defense ”a well-oiled machine” while the Eagles’ Steve Addazio says the Blue Devils’ Jeremy Cash was ”a wrecking crew” last week against defending Coastal Division champion Georgia Tech.
After that game, Cash proclaimed that the road to the Coastal goes through Duke – the only team in the division with a conference win.
”It’s definitely something we’re excited about, that we beat the reigning Coastal champs,” linebacker Dwayne Norman said. ”I guess, if my captain says it, then I’m right there with him.”
For the Eagles, it’s a good thing they’ve got a strong defense because their offense has been overwhelmed by injuries.
The latest player to go down was Jonathan Hilliman, who broke his foot against Northern Illinois and will be replaced by Tyler Rouse.
”He is the toughest guy on the entire football team,” Addazio said. ”He’s a guy that will go 10,000 miles per hour and won’t say a word.”
Some things to know about the BC-Duke game:
UNCLE DOUG: Troy Flutie is expected to make his first road start against the Blue Devils. The nephew of 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie was 5 of 11 for 92 yards with a touchdown last week against Northern Illinois.
NO BARNES: Duke WR Johnell Barnes won’t play in the first half after his ejection for targeting in the second half against Georgia Tech. Barnes had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Georgia Tech PR Jamal Golden after he muffed a punt. Cutcliffe said ”I’m going to view it this way: We get a fresh Johnell barnes the second half of the game.”
HAPPY RETURNS: DeVon Edwards has two of his five career kickoff returns for touchdowns this season, including a 100-yarder last week against Georgia Tech. His average of 44.8 yards per return is tops in the ACC and second nationally. Duke is 5-0 when he brings a kickoff back for a score.
GOING FOR 2-0: A win would make Duke 2-0 in ACC play for the second time under Cutcliffe and just the sixth time since 1970. The Blue Devils last won their first two ACC games in 2012.
SERIES NOTES: This is just BC’s second visit to Duke and its first since 2010, when the Eagles won 21-16. BC leads the series 4-2.