A Fast Start… and then Nothing Else
The Blue Raiders got off to a fast start on the first drive of the game. After 13 plays and 51 yards the Blue Raiders tallied three points. After the quick first drive, Duke would go on to score a touchdown, recover an onside kick and score another 7 points to end the 1st quarter.
The relentless offensive onslaught by Duke continued in the 2nd Quarter, as the Blue Devils continued their offensive pressure by scoring 17 more points. Duke ran 25 plays in the 2nd quarter amassing 160 total yards on offense in route to those 17 points, making the score 31-3 at the half.
Defensive Woes Come to an End in the 2nd Half
Duke started the 2nd half with the football and made quick work of their first drive, moving the ball 71 yards in 6 plays for a field goal. Middle Tennessee Would answer with their first touchdown of the game, on a 26 yard pass from Asher O’Hara to CJ Windham. A successful two-point conversion would bring the Blue Raiders to double digits on the scoreboard, at 34-11, favoring the Blue Devils.
After a final touchdown in the 3rd quarter by Duke, Middle Tennessee’s defense would find a way to keep anymore points from hitting the scoreboard. And as a show of resolve, MTSU would drive down the field one final time for another O’Hara to Windham connection for six points.
In the end, Duke would run away with a win, 41-18. They will go into this bye week on a high while they prepare for a Friday night match-up at Virginia Tech on Sept. 27th.
How to Improve Going Forward
As for the Blue Raiders, they have serious places to improve in their bye week before taking on currently 18th ranked Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. One of Coach Rick Stockstill’s biggest points over the last two weeks was the need for improved tackling. After the win against Tennessee State last Saturday, Stockstill said, “We didn’t tackle very good.”, while later elaborating, “We missed some tackles in the third quarter. We missed some tackles in space. We have to be better this week or we will get exposed by Duke.”
After such a steep loss this week, Stockstill echoed last weeks message, “We never stopped them…we could never get them off the field.” When asked about the recent defensive struggles and what can be done to fix them, Stockstill replied, “We gotta tackle better, that’s one thing we have to get better at.”
In the post-game press conference, Coach Stockstill outlined his plan for the bye week as follows:
- Sunday(9/15): Film
- Tuesday(9/17): Practice
- Wednesday(9/18): Practice
- Thursday(9/20): Recruiting
- Friday(9/21): Recruiting
- Sunday(9/23); Start of week 4 @ Iowa
Saturday, September 28th, Middle Tennessee will play the Iowa Hawkeyes. Kickoff is TBA and will air on ESPN, ESPN 2, or ESPNU. Check your local listings for channel numbers.