Duke maintains road warrior mentality

The Blue Devils won all five regular season road games last season.

NCAA Football: Elon University at Duke

Quarterback Anthony Boone (7) led the Duke Blue Devils to victory over the Elon Phoenix at Wallace Wade Stadium. (Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports) 

(C+P) — Somewhere Willie Nelson is smiling because Duke football just can’t wait to get on the road again. Really, they can’t just ask them.

“I’ve always liked road games a lot better,” admitted sophomore defensive back Bryon Fields. “I think back to the Virginia Tech game last year, in their huge stadium and we only had our small section of fans. It brings you closer as a team.”

Duke had a knack for winning on the road in 2013, evident for by their 5-0 record away from Durham, and the team is excited for their first road game of 2014 versus Troy this weekend. It’s an attitude players have carried over from their head coach David Cutcliffe, but even he knows last year’s team was special in this regard.

Duke Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe watches his team from the sidelines against the Elon Phoenix at Wallace Wade Stadium. (Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe watches his team from the sidelines against the Elon Phoenix at Wallace Wade Stadium. (Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports)

“Last year was the best peer leadership I have ever been around,” explained Cutcliffe. “Playing on the road is different, it’s a different atmosphere – teammates are controlled by teammates on the road. We had great success with that last year.”

It was this success that propelled Duke into the national spotlight and helped them capture the ACC’s Coastal Division title. The question remains however, will this new tradition of road success carry over into 2014?

“I don’t know yet,” Cutcliffe let on. “I think our captains have done a tremendous job of being mature [in 2014]. Boone, Crowder, all those guys know how to get ready [on the road], that’s got to be the core.”

After one of the more dominant wins for an ACC team this past week with a 52-13 victory over Elon, the Blue Devils expect a much tougher matchup versus Troy this weekend.

“Troy is a well coached and well run football program,” Cutcliffe noted. “I know we are going into a circumstance in Troy, Alabama on Saturday night – It’s going to be some serious football. It will be a great test for our team.”

Troy certainly gave the Blue Devils about all they could handle and more in last year’s matchup in Durham. Duke eventually fought off the Trojans for a 38-31 victory but they gained much respect from the players.

“I saw how physical they were last year, they really got some good hits in,” said senior quarterback Anthony Boone, who watched the game from the sidelines with an injury. “They aren’t a team that is going to let you come into their home stadium and beat them up physically. I’m looking forward to seeing where we are on offense, it will be a good test.”

The Blue Devils offense seems primed after racking up an impressive 567 total yards versus Elon, but as noted they are expecting a much tougher and more athletic matchup this weekend against Troy on the road. Then again the road has been their friend of late and the team certainly is not planning on ending this new tradition any time soon.

“We treat it like a business trip,” said Boone of the team’s upcoming road trip. “We follow the game plan, we get the win, get back on the plane, and get back to Durham.”

 

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