Eagles hope to make up for 2012 loss to Devils
N.C. Central had touchdown opportunities a year ago against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium but failed to cash in and ended up losing 54-17.
The Eagles are counting on more production at the start of today’s rematch at Duke (4 p.m., ESPN3).
NCCU’s offense struggled to run the ball a year ago, and the Eagles had to turn a tight end into a starting right tackle for the final eight games.
While NCCU running backs Idreis Augustus and Andre Clarke have bounced back from injuries, sophomore Deyonta Wright (5-9, 175) has earned the start in the backfield against Duke.
Wright is eager to carry the ball, but he’s not afraid to block when quarterback Jordan Reid needs pass protection, NCCU coach Dwayne Foster said.
Augustus (5-7, 190), a redshirt sophomore who missed the 2012 season with a knee injury, is penciled in as Wright’s backup.
Clarke (5-10, 232) was averaging 5.1 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns before being sidelined with a knee injury near the end of the 2012 season.
But Reid is being counted on to make the proper reads and get guys lined up in the right spots.
Reid came off the bench and threw for 218 yards against the Blue Devils, and Duke coach David Cutcliffe hasn’t forgotten about it.
“When they made the quarterback change, you saw their offense change,” Cutcliffe said. “So (there’s) plenty of reason for concern.”
NCCU left tackle Charles Goodwin (6-6, 305) is the only senior offensive lineman, although youngsters such as freshman center Keiton Burgess (6-3, 310) are good, Foster said. Duke will counter with a seasoned defensive front.
”When you’re old, you tend to play good football — good, sound football,” Foster said about the Blue Devils.
NCCU must take care of the football, while finding ways to get the Blue Devils to cough it up or forcing them into three-and-out situations, Foster said.
Foster said NCCU’s defense needs to keep in check the athleticism and mobility of Duke quarterback Anthony Boone (6-0, 230), who was the backup a year ago for Sean Renfree, who is now with the Atlanta Falcons.
“We truly believe he’s going to run around a little bit more than Renfree did a year ago,” Foster said.