ACC Preview: Duke at Vanderbilt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Vanderbilt and Duke meet today in Nashville in a game that has bowl ramifications.
And not the Quiz Bowl.
Two of college football’s feel-good stories of 2008, with strong academic reputations, play Saturday with a win making Vanderbilt (5-2) bowl eligible for the first time since 1982. Duke (3-3) has a tougher challenge, starting a string of four road trips over the next five games. A loss Saturday could wipe out postseason chances for a team that already has won more games this season since winning four in 2003.
Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who knows the press box here well from his days as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, credits coach Bobby Johnson with turning the Commodores around.
“Bobby is kind of ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ He’s taken that approach. … Every year I coached against Bobby Johnson … you just saw his teams get more confident, better, more speed on the field, (and) they’ve got the best corner in the Southeastern Conference, bar none,” Cutcliffe said of D.J. Moore.
Both teams come in having lost two straight. The Blue Devils lost their only road game 27-0 at Georgia Tech two weeks ago. Last week, they blew a 24-14 second-half lead to Miami en route to a 49-31 defeat.
Vandy’s losses came on the road. That dropped the Commodores out of the Top 25 for the first time in a month.
“The comfort level is what really makes the difference,” Johnson said. “We don’t have to get on an airplane and we can work out in our home stadium before the game.
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