11 October 2011
Saturday the Duke Blue Devils (3-2, 1-0 AC) will be coming into the game versus the Florida State Seminoles (2-3, 0-2 ACC) on high as winners of three consecutive games for just the second time under head coach David Cutcliffe. Winning breeds winning and there will be no short of confidence on the side of the Blue Devils. The Seminoles, on the other hand, are coming in as losers of three straight games and need a boost to their own self-confidence. Can they find it versus Duke?
During the three game winning streak the Blue Devils defeated Tulane (48-27), Boston College (20-19), and FIU (31-27) – with a potent passing attack, solid defense, and stellar quarterback protection. Duke only allowed one sack during the three-game streak which has been pivotal in their 350-yard-per-game output. Defensively Duke held their opponents to just 3.5 yards per rush during the streak.
There are several Duke players that the Florida State fans will want to keep an eye on.
The Duke players to watch begin at quarterback, and this is one that could cause the Seminole defense fits.
Sean Renfree was named to the preseason Davey O’Brien Award watch list for a reason, he is a talented quarterback that rarely makes mistakes. Among the Davey O’Brien list, Renfree was also named to the 3rd Team All-ACC team by Athlon Sports, 4th Team All-ACC by Phil Steele, Lindy’s Sports named Renfree as the strongest arm in the ACC, and Renfree was also named to the CFPA Watch List for quarterbacks.
Renfree, who is in his second season, ranks seventh on Duke’s career pass completions list and is tied for eighth in touchdown passes. Renfree also currently holds the school record for highest career completion percentage at .644 and is second for highest career passing efficiency at 127.14. Coming off of his 335 yard performance versus FIU, Renfree now ranks seventh all-time on Duke passing yards list behind Dave Brown, Leo Hart, Steve slayden, Spence Fischer, Ben Bennett, and Thaddeus Lewis.
This season, Renfree and his 132 completions is good for 8th in the NCAA while his completion percentage of 71% is good for 10th just behind Stanford’s Andrew Luck.
Sean Renfree on the season:
vs Richmond: 23-33 201 yards
vs Stanford: 19-27 179 yards
vs Boston College: 41-53 368 yards
vs Tulane: 21-30 278 yards
vs FIU: 28-43 335 yards
Sean Renfree’s success has two solid targets at his disposal in Donovan Varner, and Conner Vernon.
Varner was named to the preseason Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list as well as 3rd team All-ACC by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele.
Vernon was named, as well, to the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list as well as named as a 1st team All-ACC by Sporting News, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s Sports, and Phil Steele.
Varner and Vernon both come into the game versus Florida State with over 150 receptions each in their respective careers, and both are on pace to end their careers 1 and 2 on Duke’s All-Time list. Varner ranks 15th among active NCAA players with 175 catches, and Vernon is right on his heels at 17th on the active list with 162 catches. The number both of these receivers have in their sights is 189 career receptions set by Clarkston Hines.
As a duo, Varner and Vernon are within reach of the Atlantic Coast Conference record of 364 career receptions set by Clemson’s Aaron Kelly and Tyler Grisham. To date, the duo have 316 combined receptions.
In season, Vernon leads the ACC in receptions per game while Varner is sixth. Vernon ranks fifth in receiving yards and third in receiving yards per game. Nationally, Vernon is tied for 24th in the country in receiving yards and tied for 22nd in receptions per game.
Varner and Vernon on the season:
vs Richmond: Vernon- 8-78 Varner- 4-60
vs Stanford: Vernon- 6-98 Varner- 2-26
vs Boston College: Vernon- 6-116 Varner- 12-78
vs Tulane: Vernon- 6-96 Varner- 4-72
vs FIU: Vernon- 8-117 Varner- 7-111
Duke who has protected quarterback Sean Renfree very well this season, has maintained the same starting five offensive lineman through each game. Kyle Hill (LT), John Coleman (LG), Harding (C) Laken Tomlinson (RG) and Perry Simmons (RT).
Duke now runs a 4-2-5 defensive scheme and have had more success versus the run thus far in the season. Junior DE, Kenny Anunike came up huge in the Boston College game with two sacks and three tackles for loss. Anunike, on the year, has 4 sacks and 13 tackles – 5 of them for a loss.
Florida State will be going up against a very veteran Blue Devils secondary this Saturday. Among the group there are five seniors – including Lee Butler, Josh Trezvant, Jeffrey Faris, Johnny Williams, and Matt Daniels. The secondary has held opposing quarterbacks to a 55.5 completion percentage which is good for fourth lowest in the ACC. The Duke depth chart has 11 players in their third season or better at both cornerback spots and all three safety positions. The leader of the Duke secondary, Matt Daniels, ranks second in the nation in pass breakups at 9. Six of the nine pass breakups did come against Richmond which broke a Duke single-game record. Daniels has also caused six fumbles in his career at Duke – good for 3rd on the all-time list.
Other players to watch along the Duke defense are: senior defensive lineman Charlie Hatcher and Sophomore defensive back Ross Cockrell.
Duke kicker Will Snyderwine is one of the better kickers FSU will see this season and could play a large part this Saturday if Duke can hang in with the Seminoles. Snyderwine was named to the Lou Groza Award preseason Watch List, as well as Sporting News preseason 2nd team All-American. Snyderwine was named to the preseason All-ACC list by Sporting News, Athlon Sports, Lindy’s Sports, and was 2nd team by Phil Steele. Snyderwine has battled injury this season and thus has given up his kickoff duties which now is handled by Junior Paul Asack. Snyderwine has never missed a PAT in his Duke career (68-of-68) and ranks 8th on the all-time Duke list for career PAT’s made. Snyderwine has a range that tops out around the 50-yard mark. Snyderwine has successfully kicked two-of-five field goals of 50 yards or more(Long of 52). Snyderwine ranks 2nd on Duke’s all-time list with 40 made field goals, and is 15 shy of the record set by Sims Lenhardt.
Our full preview will be up later in the week, as usual, but these are some of the players you may want to stay acquainted with as the Seminoles try to break into the win column in the ACC.
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