Thursday, September 28, 2023

Duke's College Gameday Clash Leads Saturday Schedule

The gridiron at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium is set to ignite as the No. 17 Duke Blue Devils gear up to host the No. 11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a high-stakes showdown under the Saturday night lights. Kickoff for this epic battle is slated for 7:30 p.m., and fans across the nation can catch all the action live on ABC.

This year's eagerly anticipated contest marks the eighth gridiron meeting between Duke and Notre Dame, with the Fighting Irish holding a 5-2 series lead. Duke's first triumph over the Fighting Irish dates back to December 2, 1961, when they secured a resounding 37-13 victory on their home turf. As for recent history, Notre Dame enters the fray on the heels of two consecutive victories, including a convincing 27-13 win during their last encounter on September 12, 2020.

Duke's recent triumph over Connecticut added to the excitement, marking their fourth consecutive in-season win—a feat not seen since 1970. The Blue Devils also made history by kickstarting the season with four consecutive 20-plus point victories. In the wake of their impressive performances, Duke has risen to No. 17 in the Associated Press poll and No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches' polls. This ranking signifies the team's highest national standing since October 25, 1994, when they held the No. 16 spot.

When it comes to winning the turnover battle, Duke has demonstrated prowess under the guidance of head coach Mike Elko. In their last game against Connecticut, they outperformed their opponents 2-0 in turnovers, including a memorable fumble recovery and scoop-and-score by defensive tackle DeWayne Carter during the third quarter. Coach Elko's tenure has seen Duke emerge victorious in the turnover battle in 12 out of 17 games, amassing an impressive 115 points off those turnovers, featuring 15 touchdowns, three field goals, and one two-point conversion.

Coach Mike Elko's tenure has been nothing short of extraordinary, boasting a remarkable 13-4 record, translating to an impressive .765 winning percentage, through his first 17 games at the helm of the Blue Devils. Notably, this milestone is the best 17-game start for a head coach in Duke's storied history. Furthermore, Coach Elko's record at this juncture surpasses that of all current ACC coaches when they began their respective tenures at their current institutions.

Campbell Set to Take on No. 15 NC Central

The Campbell Camels (2-2, 1-2 CAA) are gearing up for an exciting face-off against the 15th-ranked North Carolina Central Eagles (3-1, 0-0 MEAC) this Saturday, September 30. The game will kick off at 4:00 p.m. at the iconic O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

The Camels enter this matchup with one of the most potent offenses in the FCS. They are currently ranked 10th in scoring, averaging 37.2 points per game. Additionally, they rank 13th in total offense nationally, averaging 440.0 yards per game. Quarterback Hajj-Malik Williams has been exceptional, boasting the FCS's third-best completion percentage at 75.0%. He has completed 96-of-127 passes, averaging 282.5 passing yards per game, with six touchdowns and only one interception. Williams has also been a threat on the ground, contributing four rushing touchdowns.

The North Carolina Central University Eagles, ranked 15th, enter this matchup with a formidable defense. They have excelled in third-down conversion defense, ranking 18th in the nation in FCS, with a conversion rate of just 29.2%. NCCU also leads the MEAC in scoring defense, allowing an average of 32.3 points per game. The Eagles have several standout performers on the defensive side, including Jayden Flaker, who leads the team with 24 total tackles, 4.5 stops for loss, and 3.5 sacks. The defense has been adept at generating turnovers and creating opportunities for their team.

Elizabeth City State Hosts Johnson C. Smith on Homecoming

Johnson C, Smith, off to a fast 3-1 start, will travel to take on the Vikings of Elizabeth City State at Roebuck Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Vikings come into the game at 1-3 after a close loss to Shaw last Sunday. The Golden Bulls have been outscoring their opponents 29-13 through the first four weeks of the season. A balanced backfield, led by Tim Newman, Jr., Jacob Newman, and Shydem McCullough have averaged 187 rushing yards per game coming into this week’s game. Benari Black and Jack Smith lead a linebacker corps that have given opposing offenses fits so far. ECSU head coach Marcus Hilliard, himself a Vikings alumnus, will look to his sophomore signal caller to try and find a weakness in the JCSU defense. Dual-threat quarterback Chase Williams leads the Vikings in passing yards and rushing touchdowns. Demorian Smith and Teonne Porter lead an ECSU defense that is giving up less than twenty points per game so far this season.