Know the Enemy: Duke

(The header image an old mascot of Duke University. The name actually refers to the Chasseurs Alpins, also known as “les diables bleus” (“The Blue Devils”), a French military unit which had impressed many Duke students and alumni returning home from the Western Front after WWI.)

We’ll have the normal predictions thread up tomorrow but it is hard to write about this upcoming game without speculating on the final outcome because, what it all boils down to, this game is the difference between having a winning regular season or not.

Duke is not the ACC powerhouse we faced last week or even back in the beginning of the season in North Carolina.  Here is how they sit in the ACC Coastal Division as of today:


You can see we bracketed them with wins against Georgia Tech 37-34 and lowly Virginia 45-31.  Which is nice because so far those two teams are the only Coastal wins we have at this point.

Here you can see that Duke is situated pretty firmly in the middle of the 128 schools in the NCAA rankings in the main offensive and defensive categories:


As things have been going this season you can probably use a factor of 1.5-2 when thinking about how many yards their QB might put up on us. 400 yards passing sounds about right as things have played out with our defense so far.

But Duke has played the underdog with a bite this year as the won against ND in South Bend 38-35 and then just last week they squeaked by North Carolina (who beat us earlier) by a score of 28-27.

So even with a 4-7 record they are a team to prepare for as equals.  Here are the individual stats for their offensive players.  What  jumps out at as a threat to our defense is the fine play of their FR QB Daniel Jones. As you can see he’s a legit dual threat as both a passer and a a ball carrier on rushing plays.



From ESPN: Since 2013, there are 22 different coaches than have played at least 10 games against ranked opponents while coaching an unranked team. Only Duke’s David Cutcliffe does not have a losing record in those games (5-5).

As of this week the ACC has Pitt going to…. drum roll please… Hyundai Sun Bowl. Here is the countdown clock which I have on the homepage of my phone. sun-bowl

We’ll be back in the “Alternate” uniforms for Saturday’s match.  Although why they call the ‘alternate’ I don’t know as we seem to have many variations of what the players wear out there. For some reason Pitt tends not to use the word “Throwback”.

And here is my new favorite play of the year:


84 thoughts on “Know the Enemy: Duke

  1. With their coach, Duke is a tough game.


    I have made comments about Narduzzi playing Wirginis, Brightwell and other players more this year. Taleni, Dane jackson, etc. should have had more reps earlier in the year.

    I know PN is a coach that demands practice performance to get on the field and maybe some of the players mentioned above haven’t put out in practice. It seems to me the team may have been better in past games rotating guys more.

    Narduzzi even made a comment about telling the LB coach to make sure Wirginis got on the filed more and stated how a fresh Galambos helped at the end of the game.

    So, is it the position coaches decision? I think Narduzzi learned a lesson on this one.

    Reed, what are your thoughts?


  2. While “PITT” unfortunately rhymes with “$h1t”, fortunately “DUKE” rhymes with “PUKE”.
    Let’s beat the puke out of them!!!! :>)


  3. Reed – you did have to point out that Duke’s QB can run. Ruined my day…

    Looks like windy and rainy for the game – so could be an ugly one. A QB running could be a big factor in those crappy conditions.

    Get out the rain gear.

    Go Pitt.


  4. Well just maybe the wind and rain may slow down the oppositions passing game. Nothing else has helped this year so just maybe the elements may be our favor.


  5. I like plays like Kansas ran there. Wonder what would be said if Boise State tried that with their blue turf?

    My favorite dumb play this year was when the Army punter thought he saw a seam and the right alignment and took off running on a fourth and 44. I think he lost 4 yards.

    This game is scary but we have to keep trusting what our eyes are seeing and that this a team ready to play and play hard throughout the entire game. Looks like Duke’s defense is the better half of their team and that bodes well for PITT.

    but……..when will Canada run out of the great play calling he’s demonstrated so far this season? (he won’t) PITT may not need as much trickery as Conner will pound the ball right at these guys. The motion and formation changes will blow Duke’s mind. The Uni’s are a great added touch for a big game of the season.


  6. Ike – I think you are correct.

    We’ll see line up and smash football until we get inside the red zone then we’ll let Peterman throw – the shovel pass. That is perhaps the 2nd weirdest thing about this season – no one team has figured out that we do that play all the time.

    #1 weirdest thing is, of course, our pass defense.


  7. “Nova struggled to beat Western Michigan in Charleston…MAC teams aren’t easy W’s…hope to see a sense of urgency from the Panthers tonight…no more nonchalant attitude


  8. I think Henderson will have a big day on the jet sweeps. Duke will now be worried about the shuffle pass and lose focus on the sweeps.


  9. Weather is supposed to be pretty crappy at kickoff, maybe that – something ! – will finally help this pass defense.

    12 TDs to 9 INTs also gives me some hope that maybe Pitt can get some more picks Saturday.

    But it’s still the same old story as the first 10 games this year. Control possession and the clock, score TDs instead of FGs, and Pitt should win.


  10. Looking forward to all the hate about to rain down on POV considering Kevin Stallings.

    Hey it’s hard to replace a false Gaad.

    After tonight’s and next game, it just may be that HCKS has played a tougher schedule than HCJD ever did….or at least most of the time.


  11. Pitt a 4 pt dog tonight vs SMU.

    Great article in Sporst Illustrated today about Clemson Game. When was the last time Pitt Football appeared in a SI article. Maybe Wanny and our thug players? Last time a positive article in SI? 1980?

    Maybe Whitehead’s injury will allow the opposition to attack evenly and give Lewis a break. One of the reasons Whiteheads name is not called much as teams ran and passed almost exclusively to the opposite side to avoid him.


  12. Bro in law (Pitt Eng Grad, BSU prof) and his family live in Boise, Been to BSU stadium and walked the blue turf. Love the trick play. BSU opponents complain when they are in all blue at home it camouflages the defense players and offense I guess as well. Sacre Bleu.


  13. Must win to avoid another 6-6. plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Dont know French, just an embarrassing Pitt grad school incident.


  14. lol The Mighty Jayhawkers need much more than that feeble attempt at trickeration.

    Funny Reed how you tied in the SunBowl and Kansas in one article. Since Pitt played Kansas in the 1975 SunBowl Game, the year before our NC title run. I believe QB Bobby Haygood was the MVP of the game.


  15. The SunBowl or the Pinstripe Thingie would be alright with me. Since that would at least provide us with a legit opponent. A PAC 12 opponent would await in El Paso, while a Big 12 one would in the Big Apple.

    SunBowl is a long standing bowl game, dating back to WW2 or near there. Weather would be better and maybe you can find a maid for the McMansion. 🙂


  16. ~ rkb. Speaking of Boise’s blue smurf turf. Pitt could go with a Yellow Turf, matching Ketchup Bottles seat color. That would really grab your attention. And a giant Royal Blue Pitt Script stretching from the 35 to the other 35 yard line.

    The Stillers Black and Yellow uni’s would also look good on it, and you could just change out the Pitt Script for Stillers in Black.


  17. Forgot there was a Bball game tonite. SMU has a Duke transfer who is avg’g 22 pts and 11 rbs per game.
    So that is going to be a test as is this weeks football game with the Dookies.

    Duke football has played all their losses tight. Losing only 14-24 to #5 L-ville, 21-24 to VT and 35-38 to GT. Biggest loss of season was only 14 points, also lost by 10 to Northwestern & Wake.


  18. With this weekends road closings for construction, what is the best way to the stadium for us travelers from the Harrisburg area?

    Thanks in advance…


  19. Emel lol, I am forwarding your resume to the Rooneys, maybe replace the ketchup bottles with Heinz mustard which squirts real mustard into the opponents seating area in endzone corner. Forwarding ur resume now. 🙂
    Could we possibly avoid emel’s favorite bowl – The BBVA Cumquat in Beautiful Downtown Birmingham Wham bam birgmingham alabam dont give damn ,,, let it rock..


  20. You could take the Turnpike past Monroeville to Cranberry and then take 279 in. Or the turnpike to New Stanton 2 exits before Monroeville then 43N to Rt 51 (or just take Rt 51N) and in through the Liberty Tunnels.


  21. Allegheny Valley Expy exit from the turnpike – Rt 28 straight down to the North Shore. Heck, that actually seems easier than the parkway, even if a bit longer distance.


  22. Right Joe, no need to travel to Cranberry just because its Thanksgiving, Allegheny Valley exit takes you right to the north shore. This route is actually better then getting off in Monroeville coming from the east traveling to the game.


  23. A Road construction article would get more comments than most of the football ones. 🙂

    Once upon a time in da Burgh, they did all the road work in the summer. So you could view all the Road
    Construction barrels thru an open window. I see they went to like rubber barrels, I like the old metal ones better, you could crush them with your vehicle. 🙂


  24. Too bad the game is not tomorrow, weather predication for Burgh says 73 and sunny. But blah on Saturday, 50’s with rain in am……blah 😦


  25. Ike … answer from last post PITT vs Navy 1971 was nearly a repeat of the 1970 PITT vs WVU… white RBs for us were Lou Julian, Paul Felinczak, Bill Englert and Stan Ostrowski who’s niece is married to Howard Stern


  26. Give Stallings a chance to recruit and replace Dixon’s lazy stiffs…it’s only his 3rd game here. But if he can’t recruit, the sport may die here.


  27. Concerning BB game tonight. How can you win in the ACC without a point guard and center???
    Stallings is going to have to recruit like there’s no tomorrow – because there will be no tomorrow without some top recruiting.


  28. “What the hell is a shuffle pass?”–Nick

    Invented in Buffalo. Something to do with the single wing, or Wild Wings, or something like that.

    Not to be confused with the shuttle pass, which gets you on the airport bus.


  29. Can someone educate me? Saw Patrino get a quick sideline warning in the first quarter of SMU/Louisville game last night. Last Saturday I watched Dabo Sweeney deep on the field screaming like a maniac the whole night with no foul or warning (unless I missed it). Is there a rule in college football about sideline/coaches warnings/penalties?


  30. @ BigB. That 1971 Navy win on a cold cloudy day at Pitt stadium began the love affair that I’ve had with Pitt football ever since. Our 1st date was a TV hookup all the way out in LA when the underdog Panthers showed up to take down UCLA on national TV. All this while I was a Freshman at Pitt. Then the really low point of the 1-10 s ason right before “a Major Change in Pitt Football” occurred. What a roller coaster ride for us Pitt fans back in the early 70s.

    Here’s hoping that this is not just a flash in the pan with Narduzzi and that what is transpiring is genuine. Now with us Pitt fans, “not so fast my friends” attitudes we want more concrete proof.

    This game is that litmus test. A team that is truly feeling the MOJO that propels itself through the finish line of the regular season takes on this opponent with a step on their throats attitude, doing what has proven out to be good enough to bring home wins against teams like Clemson & Penn State. A hungry team that wants to eat and is willing to do the little things necessary to dominate an inferior opponent rather than letting them hang around to throw a wet blanket on a signature win just produced during their previous contest.

    No doubt about it, a Pitt win by more than acouple TDs pretty much confirms that this squad is ready to climb that ladder going for ars to ascend to the n cut level. Myself, I’m all in! Pitt is It! Destroy the Dukies!


  31. Dr Tom .. I remember watching the UCLA game too and celebrated by splurging with my $10 extra money( my parents gave me each week) on a couple of dogs from the ” O” I remember the excitement on Forbes and Fifth that late night.. beating the Bruins was a big Phucking deal in those days… no patsies on our schedule- right Dr Tom…
    Would love to see us blow em out.. Our offense can keep us in any game… our defense can keep any opponent in any game..


  32. I appreciated the last two comments about the 1971 UCLA game. That was the start of what we thought was going to be a grat year. It was better than 68-69-70, but still disapointing. Upside…it was the first date with my wife of 43 years. Still have the Bacardi Rum bottle with her phone number on it! Is rum still any good after 45 years?


  33. So how crazy is the ACC Coastal this year?

    Duke gave VA its only conference win, but beats ND and UNC and it has only one conference win.

    But still a team that just beat #2 Clemson, should be very wary.

    What a season! With only two games all year that weren’t completely competitive mostly because of our inept pass defense. But still we faced extremely competent QB’s and receivers in almost every game.

    A team that has beat two top ten teams, must win its next two to maintain momentum. Two that early on we thought should be gifts but now look very formidable.

    Hope we have some adrenaline left over from last week and Duke has a let down after they beat their #1 rival.


  34. So WF holds Lamar Jackson to 12 points, what did he break an arm or a leg?

    There goes their hope for the playoffs. Did I say the Coastal was competitive and crazy, looks like it is the whole ACC.

    Looks like a really bad week for the ACC financially. Just lost a whole lot of bowl money.


  35. Guys,
    I remember that win at UCLA also. What I don’t remember is my dad (the ultimate Pitt fan) I were all excited to go to the next home game and we got blown out. Who did we play??? Maybe USC?


  36. Pittman4ever…. do Greg Pruitt, Leon Crosswhite and Jack Mildren and the
    Wishbone ring a bell… Sooners came to PITT stadium … put over 50 on us that day …


  37. PITT did lose to USC in those days just not sue what year. Pat Hayden got hurt and a guy named Vince Evans came in to lead the Trojans to a win but that wasn’t a blow out. Something like 18-6 weird score. Evans scrambled for yardage a few important times.


  38. Thanks Big B!
    Also, Ike, like you was at the USC game. Hayden got sent to 5th Ave by our hard hitting linebacker Rodney Kirby (sure of first name, not sure on last name)


  39. wbpenguin… there’s only one way to find out… if you get a buzz – it’s still Good … if not
    Then discard..
    Kinda neat when we old bastads on here share memories from nearly 50 years ago…hell we might have been in each other’s proximity and didn’t even know it…
    REED … email me the pic of the flag… we need a “Battleflag ” for the POV legion of fans…
    After hanging out with
    Dr Tom ,I think I might indulge in a new “vice” – smoking a Victory Cigar… got the drinking part down but a non- smoker … might need to make an exception


  40. Remember when Mark Harmon was not an actor but the UCLA QB?? He came to PITT Stadium in 1970 I think .. my 1st game freshman year… Ralph Cindrich hurt his knee on the 1st or 2nd play… would have had a good team that year but decimated with injuries….


  41. All the memories rushed back when I saw the posts of the ’70 WVU game and the ’71 Navy game.

    What I miss are the bed sheet signs that paraded along the track at Pitt Stadium. Like the one where the panther was riding atop a submarine. The sign said Shoot the “Seamen”. And the one when we played FSU. “Corn hole the Seminoles.”. We’ll never see those days again.


  42. AS a teenage Pitt fan during those tough years, WVU and the Navy I think gave a spark to influential alums as to how exciting Pitt football could be if backed properly. So they went out and got Johnny Majors (Dee Andros as I recall was their first choice- nicknamed the Pumpkin). As wwb said that 7-7 tie opening 1972 was BIG. It was the dawning that we could return as a football power. Most jazzed I ever got over a tie. You had to be a Pitt fan in the 60’s to realize how big it was. Georgia in Athens.
    BigB I smoke cigars on occasion – 1) don’t inhale let it roll in the mouth 2) don’t smoke as many as Ulysses Grant. haha


  43. Did my own fact check. It was, in fact, Rod Kirby who gave Pat Hayden a severe concussion which plagued him thru his QB career. Kirby was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1974.
    Personally, I think Ralph Cindrich was the greatest ML for Pitt.
    Kirby would hit like a heat – seeking missile, many a time when he hit someone they didn’t get up.
    Gerald Hayes was also a beast!


  44. rkb. Dee Andros was the first choice in ’69 when Hart was fired. He came in, looked around and said I don’t think so. Pitt settled for DePasqua.


  45. Gotta go for today.. just came out of the recovery room with a brand new left knee joint… we are rebuilding ourselves to be able to follow our boys on the journey to claim our “10th National Champship” one for the remainingpinky… Hail to PITT and Fight ..Pitt .. Fight


  46. Need to clarify -Wife came out of the recovery room… but it would be great if I could undergo a joint replacement and fully participate with my POV pals !!!!


  47. BigB, I’ve had total knew since 2000 and now my wife is getting ready for a partial knee. The doc said it’s only a 50 minute process barring problems which he doesn’t expect. Yes, my wife is a big baby, like all nurses are. (retired though) If you come across any advice I would and my wife would appreciate it.

    I feel the pain……ike



  48. Ike… she will do well as post op pain management has come a long ways since your surgery and legalized cannabis could be coming your way soon! She is also a nurse… Been my girlfriend since we were 16 years old… Married 42 years… She is a true Pitt football fan and one tough girl… She was the eighth of nine kids whose father was an ironworker… And Schmitz drinker … her mom… A stay at home mom who could take a piece a round steak and turn it into something that tasted better than any prime rib or filet mignon I ever put in my mouth…


  49. Tomcat … I was so naive as an 18year old That I thought “seamen ” referred to guys who would look for adventure riding around in boats…


  50. Hey, sounds like you hit a home run too. I needed to have my kidney removed couple years ago and they administered some sort of pain management med inside my stomach that kept the pain away for most of the first day. You’re right, there are better ways today to get through the pain. Pot? I thought I already smoked through my allotment years ago. Maybe I’ll get a redo.


  51. Ike .. advice from me with 42 years as a practicing physical therapist …. focus in getting Range of motion back… #1 have her sit in a kitchen chair and gradually flex the knee back until the base of the little toe is at the front leg on the chair.. that is 120 degrees #2 place another chair of equal height in front of her with some toweling to pad the heel. Place the heel on the other chair and let gravity slowly straighten the leg to zero degrees. The fundamental is to get the motion back and everything will fall into place …a lot like the fundamental of ” turning your head to find the hall if youre a DB -its all about the fundamentals..Good luck in her rehab…


  52. Tomcat: we had a sheet made after Paterno complained about the seats Sue Paterno was assigned for a PSU Pitt game. “The bitch belongs in the end zone”


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