Sunday, November 02, 2008

Woe in Winston

I'm sorry, dudes, but if we are claiming to be a blog devoted to Duke football, this game deserves more than one sentence of analysis. Plus, while I silently moped all of yesterday, I woke up this morning and still felt the need to talk about it some more.

While it's both easy and accurate to compare this game to 2006 (and had this blog existed back then, I might have set a record for longest post with the most expletives), this game was worth a lot more, potentially costing us the long-anticipated DudeMania: Idaho.

I'll start from the beginning... Each week in Wally Wade, Duke announces a special honorary coach of the week. This man is always a rich guy who has donated large sums of money to the Duke Football Improvement Plan at the Special Teams level. It seems that DudeSpin will have to reach into its deep pockets and contribute a little more, for special teams doomed us from the very start. (Corporate Dudes, I am not joking about this opportunity. Can't you picture us rewarded with a game ball and a day on the sidelines decked out in Duke polo and khakis? We could become a four-headed beast of a coach with complete access to Coach Cut’s left ear. Imagine on a 3rd and 5whispering, “double reverse flea flicker” and then watching Thad work his magic. But not only would we experience a thrill of a lifetime, we would be helping Duke football.)

-We fumbled the opening kickoff... Touchdown Wake.
-We had a punt blocked for a safety.
-On the ensuing kickoff, Wake returned it 57 yards to the Duke 30... FG Wake.
-After taking the lead 20-19, Duke attempted a surprise onside kick, which Johnny Williams recovered, but then was flagged for interference. (I can't begin to attempt to analyze this call as I was still watching a horribly slow, digitized, and audio-free production courtesy of ESPN360. I had to quit toward the end of the game and rely on Bob Harris.) Either way, it set up an easy Wake FG.
-We fumbled a punt... Touchdown Wake.
-And then, of course, the missed field goal at the end of regulation.

All total, not including the safety, on all of its scoring drives, Wake averaged a mere 20.5 yards per drive. They scored two field goals on drives in which they lost yardage. Meanwhile, Duke needed 62.4 yards per scoring drive.

Other tantalizing what-ifs:
-Riley was open on the final play, Thad just underthrew him. More zip, less lob, and we're posting pictures of potatoes today.
-On 3rd down in Wake's OT possession, Skinner avoided a sack, threw the ball off a Duke defender's hands, and it landed in the arms of a Wake receiver for the first down. Wake's back-up kicker has been shaky all year; I would have liked to see him attempt a long one in OT.
-Also, early in the 4th, Thad missed Riley on a sure touchdown. Eron was streaking down the left sideline, was wide open, had to slow down and wait for the throw and caught it falling backwards on the ten. Duke could only get a field goal out of the drive, but had Riley been hit in stride, it would have been a sure TD.

On the positive side, some perspective: I am upset that we now have to go 2-2 to reach a bowl. That's New Duke! (And 276 second half yards is nothing to sneeze at.)


The Dude said...

prolonging the agony!

Big Daddy said...

Thanks Undude. I too was hoping for more than just a sentence or so. Your analysis is right on as usual.

It is true about Old vs New Duke. Last year if you would have told me we'd be 4-4 with a shot to be bowl eligible by ending the season 2-2 I would have been ecstatic. Now you just expect more.