current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

current subscribers Register me
not a subscriber? See my options

already a subscriber? Register me
Subscribe now See my options
College Football
Preview
Duke at Pittsburgh
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 1, 2014
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Duke looks to stay on course for a second straight appearance in the ACC Championship game when it visits struggling Pittsburgh on Saturday. The 24th-ranked Blue Devils make their first trip to Pittsburgh since 1975 after beating the Panthers 58-55 at home last season in the schools’ first ACC meeting. Pittsburgh has lost four of its last five games, but standout sophomore running back James Conner will test a Duke defense which is allowing 15.1 points per game – fifth in the nation.

Conner has accumulated 1,878 yards rushing, including 120 in a 56-28 loss to Georgia Tech last week, and 22 touchdowns in 20 career contests. The Blue Devils have not been strong against the run, although they lead the ACC in turnover margin with a plus-8, and the Panthers have coughed up the ball 17 times – 11 on fumbles. Anthony Boone is 16-1 as a starter at quarterback for Duke, which is averaging fewer than 21 points in conference play.

TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: Pittsburgh –4.

ABOUT DUKE (6-1, 2-1 ACC): Boone, who did not play against Pittsburgh last year due to injury, has thrown for nine touchdowns while completing 57.9 percent of his passes. Jamison Crowder (40 catches, 471 yards) gives Boone a prime target while freshman Shaun Wilson (485 yards) leads a rushing attack that averages 5.8 yards per carry. The Blue Devils are giving up almost 400 yards a contest but have found ways to limit scoring with a defense led by linebacker David Helton (69 tackles) and safety Jeremy Cash (63 tackles, two interceptions).

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (4-4, 2-2): Conner is fifth in the nation with 14 rushing touchdowns and seventh in rushing yards with 1,079 despite being kept under 100 in three of the last four contests. Chad Voytik has had a solid first season at quarterback, completing 60.6 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, and fellow sophomore Tyler Boyd (45 catches, 651 yards, five TDs) is his top target. The Panthers are 17th in the nation in total defense (321.9 yards), but they gave up 612 - 465 rushing - against Georgia Tech.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Boone will tie Jerry Barger (17 from 1951-54) for the school record in career victories as a starting quarterback with his next triumph.

2. Conner reached 1,000 yards rushing in eight games this season – tied for the second-fastest to the mark in team history behind Tony Dorsett (seven in 1976).

3. Crowder needs three receptions to pass Sammy Watkins (240) for second on the ACC’s all-time list and has at least two catches in 35 straight games.

PREDICTION: Duke 37, Pittsburgh 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Duke 6-1 W2 33.6 15.1 4-0 2-1 5-1 1-0 2-1
Pittsburgh 4-4 L1 29.0 23.2 2-3 2-1 2-4 0-0 2-2
Last Meeting
Duke Pittsburgh
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/21/13 PITT 58 DUKE 55 532 213 319 598 174 424
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Duke B. Connette 65.6 323 4 4
Pittsburgh T. Savage 69.7 424 6 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Duke B. Connette 15 101 6.7 2
Pittsburgh J. Conner 26 173 6.7 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Duke J. Crowder 7 141 20.1 1
Pittsburgh D. Street 6 166 27.7 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Duke B. Connette 2
Pittsburgh T. Boyd 3
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Duke A. Boone 57.7 1362 9 3
Pittsburgh C. Voytik 60.6 1234 9 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Duke S. Wilson 47 485 10.3 4
Pittsburgh J. Conner 182 1079 5.9 14
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Duke J. Crowder 40 471 11.8 2
Pittsburgh T. Boyd 45 651 14.5 5
Touchdowns Player TD
Duke T. Sirk 5
Pittsburgh J. Conner 14
Quickchart Matchup
Duke Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
419.7 yards
321 yards
5.8 yards/rush
4.2 yards/rush
5.4 yards/attempt
6.4 yards/attempt
Pittsburgh Off vs  Duke Def
411.1 yards
398 yards
5.3 yards/rush
4.6 yards/rush
7.1 yards/attempt
5.9 yards/attempt