Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bowling Shoes don't fit



The dream is dead.

I am too heart broken to write a full analysis, but here are my thoughts.

Quarters 1-3:
Although Miami had the better first half stats, we easily could have been up a lot more. Coach Cut said we could have been up 20. We had three impressive drives stall into field goal opportunities. Snyderwine nailed them all, but we needed to walk away with more points. Pass only teams usually struggle in the red zone as the field shrinks, and although we ran the ball a little better Saturday, we’re still pass only.

Defensively, we really played well, and had a handful of near-interceptions. Jacory Harris looked pretty terrible, and we always seemed just inches away from getting a big INT. Unfortunately, they don’t give you the ball for near interceptions.

When it all fell apart (last drive of the 3rd-4th)
Especially later in the game, when Miami had the ball, they had an uncanny ability to convert on 3rd and long. Miami took a 20-16 lead early in the fourth after a monster, 90-yard drive, that actually began at the 5 when you take into account a first down penalty. Duke held them to a 3rd an 8 on the 12, but they completed the pass. They were 5-for-6 on third downs in the third, and 8-for-10 in the 2nd half. Meanwhile, for the game we were 3-for-12. Ugh. During the drive, Damien Berry steamrolled over Duke, gaining 58 yards.

But after Miami took the lead, Duke responded with a long drive of its own. On 2nd and goal, UM foiled a screen pass, and Lewis threw it on the ground. Lewis was flagged for intentional grounding. He was inside the hash marks, but there was certainly a receiver in the area, and Cut and Bob Harris were both livid. Then on the next play, 3rd and goal from the 13, Lewis threw toward Hollingsworth, who might have been held by a defender. No flag. Now Cut and Harris are in apocalypse mode. Cut is screaming, slams his headset into the ground, and [ENGLISH MAJOR ALERT!] as the audio equipment plunged down toward the earth, so did so many Blue Devil hopes and dreams. Snyderwine’s 31-yard attempt sailed wide right, and Duke was never in the game again.

Miami got a TD on the next possession, and Thad threw a pick-6 on a forced throw on the next possession, and just like that, a VERY winnable game was 34-16.

NOTES:
- Interestingly, this is Cut’s first loss at Duke after leading through three quarters (we’re 8-1).

- If we had won, I had a wonderfully worked-up opening about Will Smith's "Welcome to Miami" being one of our classic Mardi Gras Bowling songs. It would have been beautiful.

- Injuries piling up. Cut said that Thad’s injuries are really bad, noting that Thad couldn’t even sit in his car until Thursday this week, that’s how bad his thigh hurt. No Vince for the 2nd straight game. No Boyette or Johnny Williams. And our starting left guard didn’t play.

- Holy crap, what happened to Miami football? That stadium was EMPTY!

- Coach Cut said this: "I could not be more proud of a football team. They amaze me over and over and over. If we had been able to do this and pull off next week and be a bowl team, I would have considered us the No. 1 team in America for the accomplishment."

- Congrats to Thad, who became Duke’s all-time leading passer. Next week we’ll bid him farewell in typical DudeSpin fashion, but for now, I have to put the bowling shoes back in the closet and cancel my plane reservations to Boise.

9 comments:

The Dude said...

i was too nervous to LiveBlog... Should we nominate Thad to the DudeSpin Hall of Fame?

Anonymous said...

I know it would never happen, but do you ever wish you were a Boise State fan? They just played Utah State and won by 31.

The Ricky Time Guy said...

Who is the Anonymous hiding in the shadows with junk like this. That will be the future of Duke football.

It's something when we can be distraught about a 5 win season, not being able to close the deal on Miami and miss out on going to a bowl.

Do the Wright Thing said...

Ricky, you are right. Cut inherited a team that went 1-23 the two seasons before he came, and now we could still be a .500 team this year.

That's definite progress, so Boise State, watch your back, it won't be long now!

HD said...

I was ironically south of Miami this weekend for a wedding, and watched the second half from a sports bar filled with Miami fans. A friend noted that it was probably the first time in the history of the sports bar that a Duke football fan was cheering. Without question, my excitement also led the Miami contingent to get more vocal in the fourth quarter.
I still think if the refs either don't call the intentional grounding on second down -- and they shouldn't have -- or call the pass INT on third down -- which they should have -- we score a TD or at least have a closer field goal, and maybe still win the game.
At least on TV, I was more impressed with our running game than at any time this year, though our failures in the red zone have been a recurring theme.
With Wake having lost four straight, the door is open to close out .500, and look ahead to next year with bowl aspirations.

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