Duke vs Baylor : Duke Blue Devils at Baylor Bears . NCAAF: Saturday September 15, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Duke has won their first two games of the season and they did not play cream puffs beating Army in their opener and Northwestern in their last game.
NCAA College Football
Duke vs Baylor
Date : Saturday, 15 September
A pair of undefeated Power 5 conference opponents are set to square off in Waco as the Duke Blue Devils travel to meet the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Duke, knocking on the door of the AP Top 25 after an impressive 21-7 win at Northwestern in Week 2, finds itself an underdog in large part because of significant injuries suffered through the first two games of the season.
But Baylor, which has already surpassed its 2017 win total, looks like an improved team compared to the squad that lost 34-20 to the Blue Devils last season. Duke looks to open 3-0 for the second straight year as it tries to complete a sweep of its home-and-home series at Baylor on Saturday.
Duke lost two of its best players during last week’s win. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a fractured collarbone against the Wildcats, and cornerback Mark Gilbert was lost for the season because of a hip injury.
Jones, a junior entering his third season as the starter for head coach David Cutcliffe, completed 74.4 percent of his passes for 389 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions across the first two games of the season. He has already undergone surgery to repair the fracture and is out indefinitely. Gilbert, a potential All-ACC cornerback, recorded just four tackles this year but posted 35 stops and six interceptions in 2017.
Aaron Young, who caught four passes for 114 yards and one touchdown against Army but missed the Northwestern game with a hamstring injury, is questionable to return to the field against Baylor. Safety Jeremy McDuffie also sat out the win over the Wildcats (and played just 13 snaps against Army), and he is also questionable.
Baylor also has some injury concerns. Starting safety Verkedric Vaughns is questionable to play with a lower body injury, and senior reserve offensive lineman Josh Malin is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Matt Rhule’s Bears still have a long way to go to get back into contention in the Big 12, but the team has taken a big step forward — especially on offense. Baylor has been impressively balanced through two weeks as the team has produced two 300-yard passing performances, along with two different 100-yard rushers and two different 100-yard receivers.
Running backs John Lovett and JaMycal Hasty both surpassed 100 rushing yards in the victory over Abilene Christian. The Bears racked up 295 yards on the ground in Week 1, and quarterbacks Charlie Brewer and Jalan McClendon combined for 311 rushing yards in the win. Last week, Baylor relied more heavily on the passing game as Brewer threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. Receivers Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims, one of the most talented receiving duos in the conference, both caught eight passes for more than 130 yards and a TD.