Tonight, in a stacked card on a Friday night for College Football, the Duke Blue Devils travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to face the Charlotte 49ers in an In-State battle. This is not a game that you write home to mom about. Afterall, this is football, not basketball and the Blue Devils are coming off of a 2-9 2020 campaign. Charlotte was hammered with Covid issues last year resulting in 6 games being cancelled. They ended up 2-4 in a shortened Covid season.
Last year, Duke got one of their 2 wins in a decisive 53-19 victory against Charlotte. Charlotte returns 10 starters, with the most important being redshirt senior QB Chris Reynolds. Reynolds has started for the 49ers the past 3 years and has had some solid stats. Charlotte has a talented receiving corps. Charlotte’s backfield is very unproven after losing their top 2 rushers from last year. They will look for Shadrick Byrd, Iowa transfer who has not taken a snap in college football yet, to make an impact on the ground. Charlotte will want to sling the ball around with Richards and try to get the ball their receivers in space. Charlotte’s defense was putrid last year allowing 32.5 points per game. The defense got ran over game in and game out allowing 214 yards on the ground per game. They lost a couple of key contributors from last year’s teams to the transfer portal and draft (who cares they sucked), but also went into the transfer portal and got some big transfers formally from high profile programs. Duke, on the other hand will trot out redshirt junior Gunnar Holmberg who was sidelined last year with a knee injury. His front 5 in front him does not wield much experience. The Blue Devils return experience at WR and RB. Duke had one obvious stat last year on the offensive stat year that they needed to clean up: Turnovers. They gave the ball away a whopping 39 time in 11 games. Yes, folks, your math is right that is 3.5 turnovers a game. I honestly don’t know how that’s even possible but explains the 2-9 record. Former QB Chase Brice, who transferred, was responsible for over half of the turnovers. On the defensive end, Duke lost their 2 stud pass rushers to the NFL. Their defensive front will be young and raw, but have experience at Linebacker.
The line at 6.5 is what draws me to this game. 75% of the public is hitting Duke, but the line has dropped a half point from 7 to 6.5. Remember, Duke won against this same team by 24 points last year. In state game, where there should be some hype as Charlotte looks to avenge last year’s rout. I like taking home dogs in week 1 as fans return. Both defenses were not good last year, but in the end, I think the experience at QB for Charlotte allows them to hang around in this game and maybe even steal one outright in front of the home crowd.
The Play: Charlotte +6.5