The sun is definitely shining on Duke coach David Cutcliffe, as the
Blue Devils are headed to Charlotte to face Florida State.
Photo: USA Today
On February 4, 2010, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe told Bruce Feldman (then of ESPN), this:
Cutcliffe on his football program at Duke winning an ACC title in next 5-6 yrs: "Absolutely. One hundred percent guarantee it."
— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) February 4, 2010
Well, David, you are 60 minutes away from that becoming a reality.
Duke managed to kick a field goal with 2:22 seconds left in the game, and the Blue Devils picked off a North Carolina pass with 13 seconds left in the game to defeat archrival North Carolina 27-25 today in Chapel Hill to seal their first ever birth in the ACC Championship Game.
North Carolina actually took an early 7-0 lead on a one yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Marquise Williams, who threw for one touchdown and rushed for two, but also threw two interceptions.
Duke quarterback Anthony Boone threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, both to Jamison Crowder. Defensive back DeVon Edwards, who had the game clinching interception, also added a 99 yard kickoff return near the end of the first half to give the Blue Devils a 17-15 lead.
Duke extended the lead early in the second half on one of Boone’s two touchdown throws, but the Tar Heels scored the next ten points to take a 25-24 lead midway through the fourth. Their defense, however, was unable to keep the Blue Devils out of scoring range, and Ross Martin nailed the game winner.
Duke is on a historic roll right now. The Blue Devils have won ten games for the first time in program history, and it is also the first time in program history that the Blue Devils have been bowl eligible in consecutive seasons. Additionally, their six conference wins are also the most in school history.
Of course, the next challenge for Duke, and the mission they have to complete if they want to make good on Cutcliffe’s prediction this season, would be to face one of the best teams in the country in Florida State. If Duke could pull off the miraculous upset, it would be Duke’s first ACC title since cinching a share of the title in 1989 under then coach Steve Spurrier.
However, win or lose, it is safe to say that the job Cutcliffe has done so far at Duke is amazing. Duke is very much in the midst of a new golden age of football, and it will be interesting to see if it is sustainable in the coming years.