Prior to each Duke football game, The Chronicle’s Ben Feder, Derek Saul, Michael Model, Mitchell Gladstone and Winston Lindqwister make their predictions for the contest and we’ll track their records throughout the season. Here are their takes on the Blue Devils’ matchup with Georgia Tech Saturday:
Ben Feder: Duke 30-27
I’m going to go with Duke in this one despite my concern about its ability to stop the run without junior linebacker Koby Quansah, who generally starts against triple-option attacks. I think that the Blue Devils will make up for it just enough on the back of Daniel Jones, who seems primed for a field day with an extra week to prepare against a defense that has already surrendered more than 30 points three times this season.
Derek Saul: Duke 27-20
I expect a low-scoring contest this week, with a strong Duke defensive unit leading the team to victory. The Blue Devils held Army, Duke’s only other triple-option opponent this season, to its lowest offensive output in the season opener, and I anticipate another dominant performance from the Blue Devils’ defensive line and linebacker corps this week.
Michael Model: Georgia Tech 35-28
The Blue Devils have needed offense to beat Georgia Tech in the past, not earning a victory against the Yellow Jackets without scoring more than 30 points since 1994. What scares me with this matchup is a young Duke secondary against an explosive option offense. Georgia Tech has scored 129 points in its last two games and even though the Blue Devils were able to contain Army in Week 1, TaQuon Marshall and the Yellow Jackets ground power will be too much for Duke’s inexperienced, injury-battered defensive unit to handle.
Mitchell Gladstone: Duke 34-24
So you’re telling me I can’t pick Duke every week? I guess all good things must come to an end, including my perfect streak to start the season. But I’m confident that the Blue Devils are the better team in this one and I think the open date will give a major boost to an offense that has shown plenty of firepower when healthy. The Yellow Jackets will get their points, but the bend-don’t-break Duke defense hangs on in the fourth quarter for an ACC win.
Winston Lindqwister: Duke 42-35
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not incredibly confident about this pick. Although on paper the Blue Devils are the more complete team, Duke’s last performance against Virginia Tech has me worried. The Blue Devils’ success is contingent on their offensive line and secondary showing up. If Duke’s line can give Jones time to make big passing plays and the Blue Devils’ secondary can lock down on Georgia Tech’s explosive triple option, there’s no reason why Duke won’t come out on top.
Ben Feder: 2-3
Derek Saul: 4-1
Michael Model: 4-1
Mitchell Gladstone: 4-1
Winston Lindqwister: 3-2