Duke vs Pittsburgh Thoughts & Game Notes
Duke heads up to Pittsburgh Saturday for a noon kickoff in what should be a colder weather game than what this Duke football team has been used to playing this season. The weather and this Pittsburgh team will be a good test for the Blue Devils as they get ready for bowl season. Duke is 7 -3 and would like to continue this winning streak going as they have won their past 3 games. The latest odds from FanDuel have the line in favor of Pittsburgh at -7.5 with the Over/Under at 50.5. I think this Pittsburgh team will be as tough of a battle as Duke has and will face this regular season. With that said I still am picking Duke to win this one.
My score prediction
Keep reading below for Game Notes from Duke Sports Information
Duke rounds out its regular season road schedule when it travels to Pittsburgh on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon, and the game will be broadcast live on ACC Network. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series between the two schools, 16-9. In the last meeting on Nov. 6, 2021, the Blue Devils dropped a 54-29 decision to the Panthers at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke's last win over Pittsburgh came on Nov. 1, 2014, when quarterback Thomas Sirk bulled into the end zone from five yards out in the second overtime to lift Duke to a 51-48 victory. After leading Duke to its seventh victory of the season, head coach Mike Elko is the program's first head coach to lead the Blue Devils to seven wins in their first season at the helm since Fred Goldsmith in 1994 (8-4). Duke has recorded 200-plus rushing yards on six different occasions this year and ranks second in the ACC and 20th nationally with 203.80 ground yards per contest. Saturday's ACCN broadcast will feature Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich and Lericia Harris on the call. The game can also be heard on the Blue Devil Sports Network from LEARFIELD through the Varsity app or goduke.com.
HOW TO FOLLOW Duke (7-3, 4-2 ACC) vs. Pittsburgh (6-4, 3-3 ACC) Saturday, November 19, 2022 • 12 Noon Pittsburgh, Pa. • Acrisure Stadium (68,400) TELEVISION • ACCN RADIO • Blue Devils Sports Network from LEARFIELD GAME NOTES • Duke Notes (PDF) • Pittsburgh Notes (PDF) LIVE STATS • PittsburghPanthers.com TWITTER • @DukeFOOTBALL
GAME NOTES This season, sophomore quarterback Riley Leonard is 178-of-278 (.640) passing for 2,113 yards with 13 touchdowns and has rushed 100 times for 625 yards with 10 scores. For that effort he ranks third in the ACC in total offense (273.80), trailing North Carolina's Drake Maye (399.60) and Wake Forest's Sam Hartman (309.78). In addition, he is the only player in the ACC with 10-plus rushing and 10-plus passing scores, making him just the second player in Duke history with 10-plus rushing and 10-plus passing scores in a single season (Brandon Connette, 2013). Duke and Florida State are the only two teams in the ACC to be averaging 200.00-plus rushing and passing yards per game on the season. For the fourth time this season and for the second-straight outing, redshirt senior linebacker Shaka Heyward led the Blue Devils in tackles with nine stops against Virginia Tech. The Dacula, Ga., native has 321 career tackles to his ledger, placing him 19th in program history. He is nine tackles away from breaking into Duke's top 15 in the category. After finishing the 2021 season last in the ACC and tied for 108th nationally in turnover margin, the Blue Devils are first in the league and second nationally this season in the category with +1.40 turnovers per game. They trail Southern California (+1.70). Duke is first in the country with 15 fumble recoveries on the year. TOTAL SCORING The Blue Devils are fifth and sixth in the ACC in scoring offense and defense, respectively. Duke is averaging 33.7 points per game, while its defense is only allowing 21.5 points per outing. Just a year ago, the Blue Devils ranked 102nd and 127th nationally in scoring offense and scoring defense. This year, Duke is 33rd and 35th, respectively. MARGIN OF DEFEAT Duke has three losses on the year by a combined 14 points. Of the eight Power 5 schools with three losses, the Blue Devils' 14-point margin is the lowest. Duke is followed by Florida State (18), Notre Dame (18), Illinois (18), and Kansas State (24). BACK-TO-BACK ROAD WINS The Blue Devils have strung together back-to-back road wins, marking the first time since 2019 when they registered consecutive wins over Middle Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The consecutive road wins are also the most in league play since beating Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh and Syracuse in 2014. TOTAL TOUCHDOWNS Through 10 games, the Blue Devils have registered 43 total touchdowns to rank fourth in the conference. That total is the most since Duke recorded 51 in 2018. Duke's 40 offensive touchdowns are also the most since 2018 when it recorded 50. 2,000 x 2 After surpassing the 2,000 rushing and passing yards mark against Virginia Tech, the 2022 Blue Devils became the eighth team in program lore to register 2,000 rushing and passing yards in the same season (2003, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2022). QB1 Duke charted sophomore Riley Leonard its starting quarterback at the beginning of 2022. Throughout his Blue Devil tenure, Leonard has seen action in 17 career games and has completed 215-of-340 (.632) pass attempts for 2,494 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions, while rushing 147 times for 798 yards (5.42) and 12 scores. Against Virginia Tech, Leonard became the first Duke quarterback since Quentin Harris in 2019 to rush for 500-plus and throw for 2,000-plus yards in a single season. Only three other players in program history have achieved that feat (Thomas Sirk, 2015; Daniel Jones, 2017 and Harris, 2019). Leonard currently has 10 rushing scores on the year, which is the most in a single season by a Duke quarterback since Brandon Connette set Duke's record with 14 in 2013. KEEPING POSSESSION The Blue Devils rank third in the ACC in time of possession, averaging 32:13 minutes per game. So far this season, Duke has put together one nine minute drive, three seven minute drives and two six minute drives. RACKING UP THE SACKS Over Duke's last four games, it has recorded 16 of its 26 total sacks on the year. The Blue Devils currently rank seventh in the ACC in sacks and compiled a season-best six against Miami on Oct. 22. Sophomore DB Brandon Johnson leads the team with 5.5 sacks on the year after registering 2.0 against Virginia Tech during Duke's last outing. Johnson is 0.5 sacks away from breaking into Duke's top-15 for a single season. He also would be the only defensive back on the list. LIMIT THE SCORING In 2021, the Blue Devils finished last in the ACC in scoring defense (39.8) and 127th nationally. This season, they rank sixth in the ACC and 35th nationally in scoring defense, limiting their opponents to just 21.5 points per game. After allowing a touchdown in the opening quarter during its last outing, Duke held Virginia Tech scoreless for the final three frames, marking its best defensive outing since shutting out Temple, 30-0, in its opener. It also was Duke's best defensive performance in ACC play since holding Boston College to seven points in a 9-7 home victory on October 3, 2015. Over the last 20 years, Duke has only held an ACC opponent to seven-or-fewer points on three occasions (vs. Virginia Tech, 2022; vs. Boston College, 2015; vs. Virginia, 2008). FOURTH DOWN DEFENSE The Blue Devil fourth down defense has limited opponents to just 9-of-20 conversions for a .450 percentage. That mark ranks fifth in the league, which is up from their .692 percent mark in 2021 (9-of-13). Most recently, the Duke defense kept the Virginia Tech offense out of the red zone, 0-of-2 on fourth down conversions and 4-of-12 on third down. NET PUNTING After 10 games in 2022, the Blue Devils are third in the ACC in net punting with a 40.42 mark.