2021 Season – Duke Blue Devils

Pitt lost their second game of the season last Saturday against the Miami Hurricanes. Pitt remains atop the ACC Coastal division. No need to rehash that maddening loss.

The Duke Blue Devils are up next. Last week, Duke lost to Wake Forest 7 – 45. After starting 3 – 1 in Out of Conference games, they have gone 0 – 4 in ACC competition with only the Georgia Tech loss being competitive.

As we know, Duke is a basketball school.

ACC standings and Duke and Pitt’s year to date schedules.

Only one common opponent – Georgia Tech. Duke was competitive in a loss to Georgia Tech.  Pitt won by 31.

Here are the NCAA stats for team and individual comparison. Those highlighted in yellow are Duke’s advantages.

The NCAA has updated team stats but not Pitt’s individual stats. The first time I looked at Pitt’s, they seemed wrong. They were. I have left off values. Only changes are John Petrishen Is tied with DeMamarri  Mathis for interceptions and SirVocea Dennis now leads in tackles.

Mataeo Durant is a stud running back. Jake Bobo seems to be the go to receiver but not a home run hitter like Jordan Addison.

On to the individual stats. Of course, starting with the QB’s I have shorted the list by only showing the individual game stats for the expected starters – Kenny Pickett and Gunner Holmberg. For all others,  I am using a summary line combining all the QB’s and trick play gunners.

I will be highlighting transfer portal entries in green and those who have entered the portal in light orange. Keyshon Camp  is the only injured player that I think may not play.

The NCAA has rectified their error in week #8 stats. The additional stats have been removed.

The ever popular running backs/receiver category. ESPN stats compared to NCAA totals.

Some defensive individual stats. From ESPN team stats and compared to NCAA statistics for accuracy.

I used the top 16 (tie) in tackles for Duke. Pitt has 17 (tie) for the coveted top 15 listing. In total, Pitt now has 41 and Duke 42 players who made at least one tackle (solo or assisted)/sack/pass defended (PD)/interception/forced fumble(FF)/ fumble recovered(FR).

I did add some stats to compare the “chosen fifteen” to Team totals.

Linebacker Shaka Hayward is the leader of the Duke defense. He leads Duke with 65 tackles, 20 more than SirVocea. Originally, I thought that stat is pretty impressive (and it is). But Duke has 69 more chances to make a tackle in the same number of games.

Games played and started for offensive linemen. Since the NCAA has Pitt only playing 7 games, I have left off Pitt’s Linemen. Instead, I am showing all the Duke offensive linemen who played in at least one game.

How are they protecting the QB and opening holes for the running backs?

We are almost done. Just turnovers, a prediction, and a notice.

Pitt breaks 40 – Duke breaks into the teens. Pitt 42 – Duke 17 I will be taking some me time into the mountains (my euphemism for going to a casino) and preparing for my brothers weekend visit. I will not have time to do a North Carolina review.

146 thoughts on “2021 Season – Duke Blue Devils

  1. If you set your alarm clock for 4:30am, my apologies. Still haven’t figured out the scheduling function on WordPress.


  2. So the numbers that jump out at me are that Davis has run 85 times for a 3.6 yd avg, Izzy 84 times for a 5.1 yd average and Hammond 44 times for a 5.8 yd avg.

    Pass catching Davis has a 5.6 avg and Izzy an 8.9 yd avg. Hammond has only had 3 catches.

    I just don’t get it. It is like Whipple doesn’t want to get the running game established. If it is Davis’s blocking that gets him all that playing time, why not use him on third and long and have the other guys in for 1st and second downs.

    So pretty much when Davis is in the opposition doesn’t have to worry about the run.

    These numbers are screaming for Hammond to get more carries.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Gosh Gordon, I’d have given you big kudos for that observation, but then I’d have to do the same for almost anyone not named Whipple. 😂 But in any case, I heartily agree. If Davis can throw the ball maybe he could also be used on the flea flicker?


  3. Also interesting from the Pitt stats, in the two losses, VS. WMU Izzy ran once and Hammond ran once.
    VS> Miami Izzy ran 6 times Hammond ran once. Nothing like keeping two of your best offensive weapons in reserve. Just a coincidence that we lost? or that we stumbled 4 times in the red zone vs. Miami?

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I watched part of the Duke-Wake Forest game…Duke has a good running back but looks “weak” and maybe they have given up. Their HC Cutcliffe is a good man and coach who has done good things for the Dookies. but I wonder if he will hang up the spurs after this season. Duke has drifted downward the past few years. PITT should have no problems with Duke if they bring their “A” game. BTW, Wake has a really good team and good coach. Maybe we meet in Charlotte. Time will tell. Thanks Richard. As always good job.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks – RB Durant is a stud. 2’nd in ACC in rushing (behind Tucker/Syracuse). Debated on putting Cutcliffe’s future in the article. IMO, unless he hangs it up, Duke will keep him. Duke is one of those places that puts numerous non football roadblocks in a coaches path. Takes a special kind of coach to get them even bowl eligible. Cutcliffe was able to pull that off in the past.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Just a quick thought about last week, since I don’t have ACCN and couldn’t watch the game live: Pickett is having such a great season. The other QBs that have put up big numbers, Young & Stroud, have 5-star receivers, never have to throw a guy open. Kenny does it all game long, perfect placement. Those two ints last week were heartbreakers since both plays could have gone for TDs. My thought last week was if Pitt finishes 11-1, Kenny 100% wins the Heisman. Still has a chance, but probably needs others to falter. Good chance to get back on track vs. Duke & then UNC’s horrible defense

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the comment in the article, “As we know, Duke is a basketball school.” Does that mean we are a women’s volleyball school? Or a medical school? Or a philosophy school? Or a school with Nard on the front porch beckoning you and I to enter?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my case, I try to find Duke blogs that gives a “fans” perspective of their team. When I find a Duke blog, I usually find articles about basketball seasons long past or players from those teams and how they are doing in the pros. That makes Duke a basketball school


      1. Great article, I totally get it. I was just trying to make a joke and ponder what our identity is at PItt. Please don’t take any offense to my comment.


        1. Not a problem at all. Just had to make the “basketball” comment because it was so frustrating to find out anything that is happening on the football team.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks, Richard, for your good work.

    I suspect Coach Cutcliffe will have his offense marching up and down the field. If WMU knew Pitt’s defense, how well will Coach Cutcliffe know it???

    I expect a shoot-out, but I’ve thought that about just about every game this season…

    Best wishes to Reed and his son.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Regarding the loss of Wendell Davis, a couple thoughts, no doubt Dennis has made more splash plays, but he is gone next year. How do you bench a guy for making a mistake on a defense that made numerous mistakes in that game. Obviously there is much more to this story

    And don’t blame it all on Narduzzi, there is a linebackers coach and Randy Bates before you get to the head coach.

    On a team that hasn’t lost much on the portal, this one is rather head scratching.


  10. Thanks RIchard!

    Hope your prognostication is on the mark.
    I expect the team to rebound fromm that losss, but lets see.

    Enjoy the “wilderness”!


    1. Not much of a wilderness. But there are some 150 yard hikes. Only casino that I know that the elevators from the hotel don’t empty out on the casino. Casino floor is on the opposite side of a creek. The elevators themselves are on the far side of the hotel. So have to walk to elevators, walk through hotel hallway, over the skybridge over the creek, walk to an escalator and finally down to the casino.

      Long walk but the casino grounds and non casino area are well maintained, excellent landscaped and the interior space will be full of holiday themed decorations. Well worth the exercise.


  11. Many thanks PITT-cocks Fan for pulling all of this together. I will be curious to see the Pitt numbers, if the correct ones ever can be posted.


    1. pmd – I just didn’t take the time to fill in the numbers. If you look at the individual stats by ESPN using NCAA totals (NCAA team totals are fine) to confirm, you can find numbers except for punting and kicking.


      1. Richard, come home a big winner…blackjack..poker..or craps ??? What’s your game ??? …and a guy with you analytical mind better not answer “slots!”


        1. It slots / video poker. I like to play alone and I’m frugal. I got a set limit of $ to spend in a day and playing machines extends my overall “me” time.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. The receiving corps is thinning out. Narduzzi said her doesn’t expect Mack and Barden versus Duke and maybe for the rest of the season. Yikes.


  13. We haven’t seen much from the freshman Bradley but what little I saw he looks like he could be the real deal. When asked about working with Barden yesterday Pickett answered that he was working with the freshman Bradley on some plays. He simply avoided answering anything about Barden on the question. Todays disclosure explains much of Pickett’s answer on the Barden question.—–I’m not sure Pitt can take many additional hits on their WRers and still expect to run the table on the remainder of their schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I just voted for them both, and will continue to do so. Right now volleyball is being led by PSU and Wisconsin players. Kenny is leading for football. LET’S DO IT!!!!


    1. Can you elaborate on that post? It does look like something was amuck however when Wendall Davis decided to enter the transfer portal this week.


      1. It’s quite simple; Wendell Davis thinks he should be the starting MLB…he is not. He was playing that position in the Miami game when the RB broke a run for 50 plus yards. Davis was then benched and saw no more playing time in the game. I believe, in his eyes, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m sorry he’s leaving. By all accounts he is a pretty good player and a solid citizen. I wish the young man well. I really hope he finds a spot where he can get more playing time.


  14. I refuse to get too up or down on the team anymore.. As far as I’m concerned the Duzz is still on schedule for his 5 loss minimum. I love it when the sky is falling or the chest puffers get going. Until he gets to 10 wins ( or 9 with no ACC championship game) I still say he’ll lose 5. It’s just what he does, no matter the teams talent.


  15. A photo has surfaced where the Miami defender clearly did not catch Kenny’s second INT. Great shot from the end zone where the ball is clearly on the ground yet ACC Network doesn’t have the production crew to have more than enough cameras in the stadium. Not one on the goal line, etc.

    Anyone who sees and says it looks like a catch is just being a contrarian.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Got a link or a website for that. Would love to see it.

      The ACC announcing crew for Pitt/Miami covered for their apparent lack of cameras and therefore camera angles. They were more than eager to agree with just about every call against Pitt.

      And they were more than ok, with almost immediately saying this apparent interception was indeed a catch, when I thought it looked anything but certain from even their sh&t camera angles.

      ACC Network is part of ESPN, so it’s almost ludicrous to think, t they wouldn’t have a Goal Line camera and not have more cameras than to just give you 3 camera angles (2 of which were useless, since the Refs were standing in front of them) on the most important play of the game. That being the Safety, non-call and following Review from Greensboro.

      The 2 Roughing the Passer calls on Pitt, on the same Miami drive which resulted in points for them
      were also highly not penalties at all. Take that those points off the board and it’s a whole different game as well.


      1. Good grief. Take those penalties out of the game and the next call would have been different and may have been a touchdown for all we know. We can’t predict what would happen. It’s like saying that if Pickett doesn’t throw interceptions we would win. What is that based upon? Forall we know, the next play could be a fumble.


  16. Pitt wins 38-24

    Duke runs well and the Gunner fires some bullets against the wounded Pitt D. However, KP8 throws cleanly with no INT’s, Izzy & Hammonds get 20 carries combined and the only Davis brother remaining gets 100 APY’s.

    This one is a one score game in the 4th qtr. The Miami hangover lingers on.

    Pitt jumps to #24 in the polls.

    Up next is the UNC boat race…


    1. If Pitt gives up 24 points the entire defensive staff should be fired at the end of the season. The Devils have scored a combined seven points in the past two games versus two terrible defenses: Virginia and Wake.

      I sure wish Heather would tell Narduzzi a new defensive coordinator with 2020 defensive concepts needs to be brought on board after the season.


      1. Tre had a couple td’s against Marshall a few years ago. Next man up, give him a chance. Look for #83 John Vardzel to maybe get a shot as well at WR.


        1. That was way way back in 2016.

          I’d prefer, if Pitt has a WR shortage, which I don’t think they do, but let’s say they do.

          I’d prefer some 2 TE’s formations with Manster Krull & the Blue Mountain Kid, Gavin Bartholomew
          who is avg’g almost 12 yds per catch, with 15 receps and a TD as a true Freshman.

          Liked by 2 people

  17. is there ANYONE who does not find the ESPN “Play-by-Play” to be the most confusing mess of information when trying to figure how a game sequence happened?

    either I’m an idiot or their dumbarse system bites
    is it based on Fortran or Calc 2? that could explain my issue too


    1. tvax1

      I frequently use Gamecast to try to keep track of action, particularly the Steelers games since I live where they are not always broadcast. I am betting that Play by Play feeds from the same system. I find it hard to believe that a real person is entering the info. It is maddeningly slow and often later corrected.


      Liked by 1 person

  18. The loss of the two receivers is another good reason to establish the running game. You have two guys that average over 5 yds per carry, while getting very few carries. A more balanced attack would help the defense by keeping them on the bench more. It gives the offensive line the opportunity to hand out more punishment to the D-line. It keeps the other team guessing. Hopefully it stops so many of those quick three and outs, holding penalties and sacks. Also the scrambles which is where KP takes the most hits.

    Shoot-outs vs UNC, and VA are not a great idea. Syracuse is capable of long sustained drives, just like WMU, when our quick scoring drives kept the defense on the field too much.

    While I agree the defense has to play better, the offense has to help them by keeping them off the field and not leaving them with short fields to defend.

    Show this week that the other guys have something else to defend.

    No margin for error when you need to win four games in a row.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. On the opposite side of that coin is this:

      longer drives with many plays run….. via rushing the ball gives the super biased ACC refs more opportunities to call all sorts of penalties on Pitt. Any of which can quash a Pitt drive in a heartbeat.

      So I will take the short quick score drives, take the points and roll the dice on the defense.

      Additionally Pitt plays lots of guys in Defense, so them getting tired shouldn’t be an issue.


      1. You are paranoid re the refs. After last game maybe justified.
        Our well rested defense hasn’t been working, and they get penalized too. Lol


  19. The only 2 players on that Senior Award with over 40% of the votes.

    Are Kenny and some clod from the Ohio Fake University.

    Everyone in America hates the Suckeyes except Ohio, so you’d think Kenny would win.

    But’s he not…..so……..leads one to believe………


    1. Don’t worry about it John. Some pimple faced ohio state nerd fan figured out a way to vote one million times in one second.


    1. IMO, the offense has the potential to be better than the defense this year, but the defense has the most potential to improve from their current performance level


        1. If you are saying the defense has more room for improvement OK, but if you are saying they are the more likely to improve, heck no!

          We are going to play three teams that all have pretty great offenses, two with excellent QB’s and one with superb running backs. We will have to out score them, and keep our defense off the field as much as possible.

          The only way we lose to Duke is if we are looking ahead to next games or have turnover city.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. This Wendell the middle linebacker kid doesn’t know the meaning of the word team. And neither did
    AJ Davis.

    Pitt is in the midst of perhaps it’s best season in a long long time, perhaps a New Year’s Day Bowl game
    and these 2……..BAIL ON THE TEAM !!

    Ok so Wendell got yanked after Miami ran straight up the gut, untouched on several plays for long gains,
    and he’s get benched. That happens when you screw up. Take it like a MAN.

    Work and learn, get better, be ready for next opportunity.

    An injury to someone at your position, puts you right back on the Field.

    In my book, both of them are Quitters !! Go cry your eyes out….babies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do they get extra eligibility by leaving in the middle of the season?

      Also, their departure, to me, anyway, seems to be less onerous than when that starting tight end bolted the week of the ND game.


  21. AJ leaving made sense – he wasn’t going to see the field, at least I hoped he wouldn’t…. He just didn’t have the quickness.

    Wendell seemed to have potential. Like ike posted earlier, McKillop looked shaky until he was a Junior, when all of a sudden he looked and played like an All-American.

    Perhaps Wendell and the new LB Coach didn’t hit it off…or the LB Coach was sending a message than Wendell wanted to hear…

    Good for Wendell for graduating – might be tough to find a roster spot with the COVID-year players taking spots. Will be interesting to see where he ends up…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I assume that entering the portal now improves their chances of being registered in the new school by the start of the winter term. They can then participate in spring ball

    That’s the only thing I can think of

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. But it is true and the reason their is over 5 QB’s with starting experience now in the portal.


    2. Plus, best to find a home now as opposed to later when a few spots are left and might be taken by super seniors who the coaches will allow back, thus counting toward the 85 limit.


  23. PITT’s defense doesn’t get enough credit, going into last weeks game against Miami they were ranked # 20 in the country. Not to bad with PITT’s offense playing so well. PITT is a few plays and a couple bad ref calls away from serenity amongst PITT fans. Maybe?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ike I guess you could also say Pitt was a few plays and a couple of bad ref opposition calls from sheer panic taking place on the POV.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You could jrn and you would already have lots of company. For a good laugh, take the time and read the post game articles after the WMU and Clemson games. The differences between the flippant and exuberant comments by the same posters are strikingly funny.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. It is hard to figure out a Pitt defense that shuts the door one week and leaks like a sieve the next. The outdated defensive scheme is the same each week, and the quality of the opposing QB determines if the defense performs or get smoked. Pitt could easily have lost two more games if the opponent hadn’t missed receivers or if the receivers hadn’t dropped well thrown balls.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt little or zero game time jitters. Perhaps tomorrow but I don’t think so.

    Hopefully 4* Daniel Carter gets some significant playing time? I think this kid is good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m a fan of KP8 and this team for many, many reasons and this is definitely one of them.

      Up early to tackle some work related tasks that need done to clear my head for noon today. I’m looking forward to watching Blue Mountain Bart and this Pitt offense shred the Blue Devil D.

      I’m hoping our D can cause Gunner to fire enough blanks today to get out of Durham with a W.

      Go Pitt!

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Why no great outcry when Paris Ford and Jaylen Twyman opted out? Hint – it wasn’t a fear of Covid.

    Pitt fans get tunnel vision sometimes.

    Here is a big reason for why players either enter the portal or opt to transfer to another school by themselves… look to the academic side of things. It is no surprise that when Pitt players leave here most all end up at smaller schools.

    The NCAA has bare minimum academic standards but almost every P5 school requires higher academic levels. Pitt’s is certainly higher, as are all the ACC schools. FBS schools often are not as stringent and D2 schools much looser.

    The kids who leave Pitt do so for a variety of reasons and not making the required grades is a common one.

    Same for when a kid doesn’t play in a game or suit up (or travel to away games)…a lot of times he’s informally suspended until the academic side is satisfied.
    True also is that the football players and their parents are at odds with the HC and coaching staff. That doesn’t happen just on the BB side. I know Pitt players who left for that same reason.

    As in life – not all is as it appears on the surface.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Good comment, Reed. Davis came from a prep school (that my uncle and cousins attended btw) that is strong academically. Davis is able to graduate either early ( can’t recall if he was a spring enrollee) or on time. Good for him for getting the sheepskin before leaving. Will be interesting to see where he ends up… may shed some light on the “why” he left.


  27. In volleyball news, Pitt had a first tough set against Syracuse but prevailed 25-23. The other two sets were very different as Pitt crushed the Orange. In the second set Pitt got so far ahead Pitt was playing two freshman and two sophomores at the end of the set. In the third set Pitt used its fourth middle blocker, Russ. Part of the reason the first set was so close was due to Pitt having 4 service errors in the set. They cleaned that up for the rest of the match.

    Senior day is on Sunday as Pitt faces Boston College at 1 PM in the Fitz.

    Liked by 8 people

  28. Some series history: Pitt has played Duke 7 times in the ACC, and won 6 of them.

    Year Score
    2013. 58-55
    2014. 48-51 Loss
    2015. 31-13
    2016. 56-14
    2017. 24-17
    2018. 54-45
    2019. 33-30

    Some high-scoring, quite entertaining games in this series. The win at Heinz in 2018 was a super game to watch as Pitt hung with the high-scoring Blue Devils and then overtook them at the end of the game.

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. In South Carolina High School football action. Nate Temple’s Abbeville High beat my Blacksburg Wildcats 41-0. Davis BeVille’s Greenville High beat Walhalla 55-12. Greenville now has the honor to travel to Columbia to meet #1 overall seeded A. C. Flora (34-10 over Indian Land) QB’d by my grandson.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Been to Abbeville for bbq, Richard. Westinghouse (now Eaton) had a plant in nearby Greenwood and I traveled there frequently in the 80’s for work. Not much else going on down there… at least back then.


      1. Only been to Abbeville once. Funeral of my wife’s friend mother. Trip was longer then I expected. Lot of country, country to transverse but I like country. Enjoyed what little of Abbeville, I saw.

        Eaton has a plant near King’s Mountain, NC. I live about 25 miles from there. Can’t remember if it’s off I-85 or US 29.


    1. Punching a police officer in the face. Public drunkenness. Resisting arrest. …. Nothing to see here. Just move along.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Horton’s arrest is horrible for the program and Capel. Hardly Capel’s fault but the program is getting worse. Is it time to start over, hit the reset button?


    1. Two people need to be removed from Pitt Basketball immediayely: The hooligan who used a cell phone as a weapon and Capel who had no control over his team. Whyvis this player out in a drunken rage during the season?


    2. Craziest thing is Levance Fields’ arrest before the 2008 season was worse than what Horton did and Levance didn’t miss a single game. Big difference when you’re preseason top 5 compared to being bottom of your conference.

      When it rains it pours when it comes to Pitt athletics.


      1. But I don’t remember Fields attacking a police officer.

        The best thing Pitt can do is dissociate from this player and loudly denounce attacking our police officers


  31. Lyke who continues to demonstrate her laziness and incompetence. Capel should have been fired after last seasons disaster. And don’t forget about Hugley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This may be enough to dismiss Capel for cause. Don’t forget her public criticism over Capel’s ref criticism.

      With players disgruntled and leaving before last season’s completion, Capel continues to demonstrate he is not head coach material and he is not a particularly effective player manager.

      Strange that Narduzzi gets more criticism than Capel. Narduzzi has real accomplishments whereas Capel has nothing but negatives. His one claim to fame? Not going winless in ACC play.

      If Pitt has an opportunity to get rid of Capel now without a huge payout, do it. This season is destined to be pretty bad anyways.


  32. I won’t get upset over BB…not much of a fan of today’s game… time to get focused on FB… the season is passing by tooooo quickly!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. BC or Pitt at the bottom of the ACC in bb? Whatta mess. The coach can’t be on top of every player’s daily lives, however, he sets the tone of proper discipline needed to represent the University. I know absolutely nothing about Horton’s background, however, punching a police officer is as STOOOPID as it gets. Goodbye Ithiel…..hello absolute disaster of a season with a team that has marginal talent in the backcourt and is badly in need of defense under the basket. Heather,. I am so sorry that you didn’t get the Spartan’s job.

    Today we play a great basketball school on a day that our team implodes. Hugely last year…Horton this year….any guesses for next year?


  34. Not sure about the Gameday/prediction thread so I will get mine in here. Pitt wins 42-24. Duke covers while Pitt focuses on running the ball and TOP.


  35. When the Sibande injury hit, I asked out loud what else could go wrong after that disaster. Now we know. Why is a player out drinking at 1:00 AM? This will probably get knocked down to a misdemeanor, but it still exposes the larger issue of overall team discipline. The PG reported that Capel has a contract through 2026-27, so he should have time to build his team the right way. But at some point the story of the Capel years gets written, and I’m not overly optimistic that it will be a positive one.


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