As Syracuse prepares for a late-season matchup with Duke on Saturday, we tell you what to expect from the Blue Devils. This week, The Fizz caught up with Stephen Wiseman, the Duke beat writer for the Raleigh News and Observer.
Fizz: Duke has averaged less than two scores per game over its current three-game losing streak. What has gone wrong?
SW: It’s been the offense, mainly. It’s been the inability of Quentin Harris to get some drives going… they’ve got a decent offensive line this year and some pretty good receivers that can make some plays. Harris had a really good start to the year, especially when they went to Virginia Tech and won 45-10, which was really a surprise. The first six games this year they surpassed 30 points five times… the biggest problem has been (Harris’) inability to run the offense well and make the right plays.
Fizz: What’s the vibe right now as Syracuse comes to town? Do folks think it will be an easy win or are they worries since the Orange are coming off a bye week?
SW: At the start of the year, this looked like a sure loss for Duke. Syracuse hasn’t turned out to be that kind of team. The vibe here is that Duke needs wins in two of their last three games to get back to a bowl and make it seven out of eight years… This is one they have to have, considering the way Syracuse has played… There’s respect for Syracuse given what they have done in the past few years.
Fizz: What are the keys to the game and who has advantages where?
SW: Duke should be able to run the ball. That’s one thing they’re going to have to do… they don’t throw the ball down the field very much… Duke’s defense has been pretty good this year. So, if they can shut down Syracuse’s running game they should be able to take control on that side of the ball.