DURHAM, N.C. – The schedule did Duke no favors to start the 2019 season, but things loosen up a bit Saturday when the Blue Devils host North Carolina A&T in nonleague action. Duke managed only 204 total yards in a Week 1 loss to national power Alabama and obviously hopes to improve against this weekend's FCS opponent.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra. LINE: No line
Duke actually held Alabama scoreless for a quarter last Saturday before yielding 35 points over the middle two frames en route to a 42-3 thumping. Coach David Cutcliffe kept it all in perspective, noting that a loss of that caliber will hopefully toughen up his squad. "Games like this, you go one of two ways," Cutcliffe said. "They set you back or you get better from them. I know in my heart of hearts that our team will get better from this." North Carolina A&T opened the season last week with a three-point win over Elon, prevailing at the buzzer for its sixth straight win, dating to last year.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA A&T (1-0)
The Aggies have not allowed more than 23 points in any of their last 22 games, dating back almost two full years. They held Elon scoreless in the fourth quarter last week to give Noel Ruiz enough opportunities to make a 52-yard field goal at the horn after missing two earlier kicks in the fourth quarter. Kylil Carter (two touchdown passes) and Elijah Bell (nine catches, including a touchdown) were among the offensive stars for North Carolina A&T in Week 1.
ABOUT DUKE (0-1)
The Blue Devils threw the ball 22 times for a total of 97 yards with Quentin Harris getting picked off twice by the Alabama defense. Noah Gray led the team with five catches for 45 yards, while Brittain Brown and Deon Jackson combined for 71 yards on 14 carries. Dylan Singleton paced the defense with 12 tackles, while Koby Quansah wasn't far behind with 11.
1. Trevon McSwain led the way with 1.5 sacks for Duke in Week 1.
2. On third and fourth downs in the opener, Duke was a combined 3-of-14.
3. Three of Duke's last four games, dating to last season, have been blowout losses (35-6, 59-7, 42-3).
PREDICTION: Duke 55, North Carolina A&T 13