That was certainly a stressful way to win a division game for the first time since 2014, but it got the job done. The defense was frustrating again, and it fell on Justin Thomas to do everything seemingly by himself, even when the blocking was poor. It won’t get easier from here, and some changes will need to be made.
Q2 1:05 4th and 4 - I’ll hand it to Roof, he dialed up a good run blitz here. The Duke OL utilized a lot of double teams, and they were occasionally slow to respond to blitzers in the run game as a result. Lewis and Gray do a great job of getting penetration, and get a huge stop.
Q3 11:51 2nd and Goal - Look what Brandon Adams can do! He absolutely destroys the Center, throwing him into the QB, who is trying to run a sneak. Unfortunately, Tech had 12 men on the field, but that doesn’t take away from Adams’ incredible individual effort here.
Q2 11:12 2nd and 10 - Both safeties are 15 yards off the ball against 11 personnel(1TE, 1RB). This leaves 6 in the box to deal with 5 OL, 1 TE, 1RB, and a running QB. 8>6. This leads to predictable outcomes. When a team spreads you out, you have to play numbers in order to make sure you don’t put yourself at a major disadvantage. By playing both safeties back like this, we gave up read-option runs all day long. This could easily be mitigated by a 330 lb DT who can eat multiple blockers. Too bad we don’t have one of those.....
Q3 3:16 2nd and 10 - The LBs aren’t ready. Both are on the same side, leading to Duke having a numbers advantage on the side. Duke recognizes this and runs away from the backers for a TD.
Q4 10:28 3rd and 5 - Marshall trips on this own man’s leg in the hole. Would have easily gotten the first down, and perhaps could have gotten more than that with his explosiveness.
Just as in 2014, the refs absolutely refused to call holding on Duke. Here’s a couple of the worst ones: Look at Antonio Simmons on this one:
Look at Freeman on this one:
Little Big Player of the Game - Terrell Lewis
Lewis stepped up big in the absence of PJ Davis this week. After Alford showed he wasn’t a good fit for the Will position last week, I was a bit worried that there weren’t any available LBs who could effectively fill that role. Lewis proved that theory false, flying around the field and getting involved in plays. Lewis wasn’t perfect, and missed a few key opportunities, but as we’ve seen in this series so far, Davis hasn’t been perfect either. If Lewis continues to improve, he could find himself in a more prominent role next year.
- While last week I lambasted Ted Roof individually for the shortcomings of the defense, it wasn’t 100% his fault this week. Execution was awful, and that comes down to the players and position coaches. Way too many missed tackles and blown coverages this week. Completely unacceptable.
- Jahaziel Lee was again a mixed back that showed a lot of promise. On one sequence of plays, he drove his man 10 yards down the field on a rocket toss, then immediately followed it up with a false start. He just needs time, but he’s shown really high upside these past 2 weeks.
- Will Bryan played a lot more in this game, as Shamire Devine struggled. Bryan did a bit better than he had been playing, but still has a ways to go.
- The DL was physically over-matched in this one, and the Jackets did a poor job of handling being spread out. Let’s check who’s on the schedule next! Oh.....