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Duke Players to Watch

Who are the Blue Devils to be watching this Saturday?

NCAA Football: North Carolina Central at Duke Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wake Forest heads to Durham this weekend to take on the Blue Devils in one of football’s oldest rivalries, and I’m here to tell you which players you should keep your eye on during the game. Let’s first start out by looking at how Tulane’s “Players to Watch” fared against the Deacs last week.

Dontrell Hilliard: 7 rushing attempts for 36 yards, 1 reception for 8 yards.

Tanzel Smart: 4 total tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack.

With that out of the way, let’s move on and look at the players to watch for the Blue Devils.

Offense: Daniel Jones, RS Fr. QB

Jones was thrust into the starting lineup for the Blue Devils when redshirt senior Thomas Sirk had to undergo season-ending surgery before the season began. In his first career game, Jones did not disappoint. He completed 10-15 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, and also ran the ball twice for 28 yards and a touchdown. His efforts helped Duke score an impressive 49 points in the first half. Having played only 1 game against an FCS opponent, it is difficult to determine how Jones will play in his first conference game. For the Deacs to come away with a win in this one, they will need to get pressure on Jones early in the game, which can rattle a young QB and lead to rushed, inaccurate throws later in the game.

Defense: Breon Borders, Sr. CB

Borders goes into Saturday’s game tied for 1st among active players in FBS for career interceptions with 11. He is one of the ACC’s best corners, finishing last season with 40 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 9 passes defended. All signs point to the Deacs having another year not being able to run the ball effectively. If that is the case this Saturday, Wake Forest will be forced to throw the ball down the field if they want to put up any points against the Blue Devils. That will give Borders plenty of opportunities to impact the game by breaking up passes or coming away with turnovers. Borders is likely a guy that the Deacs will want to avoid throwing towards if they want to move the ball down the field through the air.