For the second straight year, the Duke Blue Devils knocked off a ranked Georgia Tech squad, beating the Yellow Jackets, 34-20, in Durham, this past Saturday.
Duke, which led 19-3 after the first quarter, saw Georgia Tech pull within 26-20 midway through the fourth quarter but hung on for the victory.
“It was a huge win for our program,” Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It was a milestone for us. We were looking to go back-to-back years versus Georgia Tech – a very challenging team to play any week. Moving forward, every opponent is going to get tougher and tougher each week, especially all being conference games for the most part. It was a huge confidence builder for our team that we can build off of and continue to improve.”
Sirk was 17-of-25 for 114 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while running back Shaquille Powell ran for 88 yards and three scores. Duke, which improved to 3-1 with the win, must now be considered a legitimate threat to win the Coastal division.
Not bad for a basketball school – or better yet, a basketball school with a pretty darn good football team.
“I think that people have to give us respect and respect us for the hard work that Coach (David) Cutcliffe has put in here over the last eight years and what this program continues to build,” Sirk said. “We’ve appeared in an ACC Championship and three bowl games in a row, which we failed to win. But we’re going to continue to try to grow and win a championship here and continue to build and ultimately win a bowl game.”
To put Cutcliffe’s success in perspective, Duke went 2-32 from 2000-02 and 2-33 from 2005-07. Cutcliffe, who arrived in 2009, has steadily built the program from nothing into something. The Blue Devils are 22-9 since 2013.
Sirk, a redshirt junior, said Cutcliffe believes that building a program is about more than what happens on the field; rather, it’s a mindset that permeates every aspect of life.
“I think it’s very important for our program, the way we do things around here,” Sirk said. “He continues to stress that we have to have great habits off the field and continue to learn each day. I think that you see that with players. You see that with players that are willing to not only go out there and practice, but you see guys putting time in in the film room, having great film study habits, and continuing to try to grow as players as well as keeping up with school. That’s a difficult part about it here – keeping up with sports and school – but I think that we manage that well and we have great people throughout this program that help us stay on top of things.”
Duke hosts Boston College (3-1) this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.