DURHAM – Being more physical than Temple, a team picked to finish last in the AAC, was one thing.
Being more physical than Northwestern, a Big Ten team known for its physicality, was another.
Duke, and particularly its offensive line, answered the challenge in front of it last week and are in the early stages of founding what coach Mike Elko wants his program’s identity to be.
“We went into the game with a chip on our shoulder,” running back Jordan Waters said earlier this week. “Coach Elko put a chip on our shoulder that we weren’t physical enough. And that we were going to the Big Ten, playing a physical team.
“So we had a chip on our shoulder and as you (saw), the O-line moved them boys easily.”
There’s no specific number that illustrates physicality better than rushing yardage, both for and against.
That final tally last weekend was 221 rushing yards by Duke; 76 rushing yards against Duke.
It’s a toss-up as to which number factored heavier into Duke’s road win. Despite the lopsided yardage, Duke only had one more rushing attempt than the Wildcats – the Blue Devils having turned their offense one-dimensional.
And yet, it was Waters’ 42-yard run up the middle for Duke’s second touchdown that really seemed to establish the tone of the day. Right tackle John Gelotte pulled and crushed a linebacker in the hole, and Waters bounced off a couple of tackle attempts and rumbled into the end zone.
“I saw John come through and just throw somebody,” Waters said. “I saw (offensive lineman Jacob) Monk do his job and like I said, all I did was hit my holes and after that, it was gone.”
Waters is a fourth-year running back who made his first start at Northwestern. The 6-foot, 214-pounder served as Mataeo Durant’s backup last season and now splits duties in the Blue Devils’ backfield with Jaylen Coleman and Jaquez Moore.
Waters said he was nervous in his first start – until seeing how fired up the offensive line was.
“My heart was…
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Author : Devils Illustrated
Publish date : 2022-09-16 16:28:44
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