Duke

Duke starting linebacker Ben Humphreys hurt, won’t play against Georgia Tech

North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, middle, is sacked by Duke linebackers Joe Giles-Harris, left, and Ben Humphreys, bottom right, in 2016.
North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky, middle, is sacked by Duke linebackers Joe Giles-Harris, left, and Ben Humphreys, bottom right, in 2016. cliddy@newsobserver.com

The leg injury Ben Humphreys suffered on the last play of the Duke’s loss at Army last Saturday will cause him to miss his first game this season.

The 6-2, 225-pound junior starting linebacker will not play in Duke’s (4-6, 1-5 ACC) Saturday home game against Georgia Tech (5-4, 4-3), Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe said.

Humphreys was helped off the field at Army after the final play from scrimmage in the Black Knights’ 21-16 win.

“It’s unfortunate,” Cutcliffe said. “He got cut late, late in the game. He’s done a good job with his rehab. But a fairly significant injury so he’s out.”

Humphreys has started in all 10 of Duke’s games this season and is third on the Blue Devils’ roster in tackles with 64. He also has 8.5 tackles for losses with 2.5 sacks.

Cutcliffe is not yet ruling Humphreys out for Duke’s regular-season finale at Wake Forest on Nov. 25.

“When we get past this weekend, we’ll see,” Cutcliffe said. “We’ll just go day-to-day.”

Facing Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense, Duke will start freshman safety Marquis Waters in place of Humphreys. Waters has 11 tackles in 10 games as a reserve this season.

Duke will continue to start Joe Giles-Harris at linebacker along with Koby Quansah. Normally a reserve, Quansah started and recorded 13 tackles (six solo) against Army.

Duke could also turn to reserve linebackers Brandon Hill, Xander Gagnon and Zavier Carmichael to help replace Humphreys.

“We’re going to start with Marquis Waters,” Cutcliffe said. “We are fortunate we have some athletes back there who can run and they are versatile. Marquis is of course a safety replacing a linebacker. We have that option. We’ve got some people that can play there. Obviously they are not quite Ben Humphreys but they are excited about the challenge.”

Duke, on a six-game losing streak, needs wins in its final two games to be assured of bowl eligibility.

Steve Wiseman: 919-419-6671, @stevewisemanNC

Georgia Tech at Duke

When: 3:30 p.m.

Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham

TV: FSCR

  Comments