Winning builds hunger for more -- much more -- among Blue Devils
It’s no longer good enough for Duke to merely make it to a bowl game.
The Blue Devils are in a more select zone these days, and their 38-20 win on Saturday over N.C. State certainly didn’t do anything to limit their options.
“We’re not finished,” Duke quarterback Anthony Boone said.
Last season, Duke won enough games to go to Charlotte and play in the Belk Bowl, finishing 7-6 after an excruciatingly close loss to the Bearcats that ended the year on a five-game losing streak.
“Last year, I just felt like once we got to six (wins), we just pretty much shut it down,” Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder said, referring to last year’s 6-2 start. “Last year, we feel like we didn’t finish.”
Crowder sounds like his leader, Duke coach David Cutcliffe.
“The main thing Coach Cut has been stressing is finish(ing),” Crowder said.
Duke’s win against N.C. State made it a season of seven victories and guaranteed the Blue Devils’ first winning season since 1994.
Of course, Duke’s sixth win of this season against then-No. 16-ranked Virginia Tech meant that the Blue Devils would play in a bowl for the second season in a row.
But Duke football isn’t about just arriving somewhere, anywhere. Not anymore.
Duke (7-2, 3-2 ACC) wants to return to Charlotte, but not for the Belk Bowl. The Blue Devils want to go there and play for the league title. Right now they’re in decent position, tied in the loss column with Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami in the Coastal Division after Virginia Tech’s 42-24 road upset at nationally ranked Miami Saturday night.
Duke hosts Miami on Saturday and has road games remaining at North Carolina and Wake Forest to close out the season.
“We still have a long way to go. We’re going for the ACC championship,” Duke’s DeVon Edwards said.
First things first, though, Crowder said.
“As of right now, the main goal is just looking forward to next week against Miami,” Crowder said.
A certain sweetness came with that seventh win, but there’s an accompanying pressure, too — as it should be, Cutcliffe said.
“This, I hope, creates hunger,” Cutcliffe said. “That’s what it should do.”