Saturday, September 3, 2016

Duke Opens Football Season Saturday With NCCU

DURHAM, North Carolina -- Duke football opens the season at home against MEAC co-champion North Carolina Central. The Blue Devils have beaten the Eagles all four times they’ve played during Cutcliffe’s tenure, most recently 55-0 last year. We expect that trend to continue, but we’ll give some team history and some names likely to be called during the game.

Central has won a share of the MEAC title in ’14 and ’15, but have lost post-season chances on tiebreakers both years. Their goal for the year is to get to the post-season, a goal that luckily will not be hindered should the Blue Devils take care of business on Saturday.

Incidentally, winning even a share of the championship would give the Eagles a three-peat for the first time in school history. Speaking of school history, HC Jerry Mack was the first coach in NCCU history to win 15 games in two years. Eagles defensive end Ryan smith was drafted by Tampa Bay after last season. He recorded five tackles in their game against Duke last year.

The Eagles bring back fifteen of their starters, most importantly redshirt senior quarterback Malcom Bell, who recorded 1,581 passing yards last year, along with 509 rushing yards, and 13 total touchdowns. He is labeled as a dual-threat quarterback, which will at least be familiar to the Duke defense.


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