DeVon Edwards: Duke's Mr. November comes through again
A school that rarely won against anyone in November reeled off four wins in the year’s penultimate month this season.
While No. 24 Duke has shown strength on offense, defense and special teams in doing so, one Blue Devil has stood out in his personal production.
Redshirt freshman safety DeVon Edwards returned his second kickoff for a touchdown in Duke’s last four games during Saturday’s 27-25 win at North Carolina.
Edwards also added an interception that ended UNC’s final possession, which had reached Duke territory with less than a minute to play.
“Mr. November,” Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell said. “He is Mr. November. A kickoff return for touchdown when we needed it. An interception to end the game. DeVon is a playmaker, great athlete, competitor. He’s everything you want in a football player.”
Back on Nov. 9 against N.C. State, Edwards returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and added two fourth-quarter interception returns for scores as Duke beat N.C. State 38-20.
Edwards credits his coaching staff, and Cockrell, for helping prepare him to deliver in these big moments.
“They’ve been telling me, OK, I see some talent in you,” Edwards said. “Now we have got to get you right. Don’t forget. Don’t lose sight of your technique. Don’t lose sight of where you’ve been before now. You have got to keep working.”
Edwards’ 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against UNC on Saturday came immediately after the Tar Heels had scored a touchdown and added a two-point conversion to lead 15-10. Edwards turned things around and made it 17-15 Duke at halftime.
“It was huge,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “The guys in the press box said it was about as pretty as you can block. I can’t wait to see that on tape. It was a huge momentum swing.”
It was just another in a series of big plays Duke has turned in during an eight-game winning streak that has it one win away from the ACC championship.
“It feels like its coming together at the right time,” Cockrell said.
EBRON: RECORD SETTER
North Carolina junior tight end Eric Ebron set a few more records in his final home game.
The Greensboro native — who announced Monday he would enter the 2014 NFL draft — set the ACC’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 895, topping the previous mark of 871 set by Maryland’s Vernon Davis in 2005.
“I idolize Vernon Davis, and to be able to have something above him is an honor,” Ebron said. “I really respect his game and the things he (did), so to have something he didn’t do is huge for me. That’s something special.”
Ebron also had a 79-yard pass from Marquise Williams that was the team’s longest-ever passing play at Kenan Stadium. The previous long of 78 yards had been accomplished by Ronald Curry and Kory Bailey in 2000 and Bryn Renner and Giovani Bernard in 2012.
Ebron finished with a game-high 121 yards on five catches. It was his second-most receiving yards — after a 199-yard receiving day at home against Miami — and both games resulted in losses.
“I always seem to do something spectacular on a losing fashion,” Ebron said. “It is what it is. I’m happy, but I’ll probably celebrate tomorrow. Right now we lost so I can’t celebrate the way I want to.”