Miami shuts down Duke in 31-6 win

Blue Devils score fewest points in eight years in home loss

Sep 29, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Braxton Berrios (8) pulls in a pass in front of Duke Blue Devils safety Jeremy McDuffie (9) for a touchdown in the first half at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

DURHAM — A surprisingly punchless Duke offense struggled against visiting Miami on Friday night, as the Blue Devils suffered their first loss of the year, 31-6, at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Duke scored in single digits for the first time in 24 games, since a 9-7 win over Boston College on Oct. 3, 2015. The Blue Devils scored their fewest points since a 19-6 loss at North Carolina on Nov. 11, 2009, 92 games ago. It’s the fewest points Duke has scored at home since Virginia shut the Blue Devils out on Sept. 30, 2006.

“It’s like a punch in the gut,” center Austin Davis said of the offense’s poor showing.

The Blue Devils actually moved the ball pretty well, producing a deceptive stat line for the game. Duke gained 349 yards and ran 88 plays in the game. The Blue Devils had 24 first downs, five more than Miami, and they won the time of possession battle by more than seven minutes.

Duke was unable to connect on big plays, however, forcing the Blue Devils to attempt long drives. Duke averaged just 4.0 yards per pass attempt, less than half of Miami’s 10.4 average. Depending on strings of short-yardage plays meant the drives were easily derailed by small mistakes. Duke’s seven penalties for 82 yards short-circuited several possessions, and the Blue Devils’ 5-of-19 conversion rate on third downs also torpedoed the offense.

Quarterback Daniel Jones had a rough night. He was sacked five times as Miami’s pass rush made it tough for him to look downfield. Eleven of his 21 completions were for five or fewer yards, and he completed just one of his final 10 passes in the game. Jones finished the night 21-of-41 passing for 166 yards, an interception and a fumble.

Duke’s defense struggled in the first quarter, as Miami quarterback Malik Rosier connected on all eight of his passes for 155 yards. Rosier opened the scoring with a 29-yard touchdown strike to  Braxton Berrios of Raleigh’s Leesville High. Rosier also rushed for a one-yard touchdown to give Miami a 14-0 lead.

After allowing Miami the fast start, the Duke defensive line was able to make adjustments, shutting down the Miami run and pressuring Rosier. Miami managed just 31 yards in the second quarter as Duke sacked Rosier three times. Duke also shut Miami down in the third quarter, but the offense couldn’t do anything to cut into the Hurricanes’ lead.

In the fourth quarter, the Blue Devils allowed a pair of explosive plays—a 49-yard pass from Rosier to Ahmmon Richards and a 40-yard rush by Travis Homer. Both plays reached the end zone, putting the game out of reach.

Duke fell to 4-1, 1-1 in the ACC. Miami improved to 3-0, winning its ACC opener.