Duke’s magical season comes to an end on New Years Eve against Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies. Texas A&M had dreams of a national championship before the season started while Duke was just trying to build off of last year’s success. Both teams excel on the offensive side of the ball and struggle defensively. The key to the game will be which defense can make a stop in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line.
After winning the Heisman last year, Johnny Manziel, known around the country as “Johnny Football”, had high expectations coming into the season. People wondered if he was just a one year wonder or if he could produce at a high level year after year. If Johnny had any skeptics after last season, they have more than likely disappeared. He was better in every category and the only thing that prevented him from winning his 2nd straight Heisman was the outstanding play of Jameis Winston. Although Johnny Football is the best player in college football, he is not the only reason the offense excels. Mike Evans, Manziel’s favorite target, is an absolute animal and a mismatch for every single corner in the nation. Not only is he big and strong, but he has deceptive speed that surprises cornerbacks and leaves him open most of the time. The Aggies achilles heel is their defense, which ranks 110 out of 120 teams in the FBS. The defense prevented A&M from playing for a national championship and it will be key for them to make at least a few stops tonight if they want to beat Duke.
Duke has had a season even Blue Devils fans can admit surprised them. After two early ugly losses to Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, Duke went on a run that will be remembered for a long time. A program that just a few years ago didn’t even win a game played for an ACC Championship against the #1 team in the country. The Blue Devils are led by quarterback Anthony Boone who has played exceptionally well all season after suffering a broken collarbone early in the year. I have criticized Duke’s defense most of the season, but outside of the Florida State game, they have played pretty well and their timely plays have kept Duke in some games they could have lost. The defense is led by linebacker David Helton who has an ACC leading 122 tackles on the season. The good thing for Duke fans is most of the team will be back next season and should compete for another ACC Coastal crown. Although Duke’s defense has played well of late, they haven’t seen an offense like the Aggies’ and stopping them will be next to impossible. The key will be whether or not Duke can force a late turnover on Manziel that seals a close game for them.
This game is one of the hardest I have had to predict all season. My head tells me to go with the powerhouse SEC team that will more than likely overpower Duke, but my heart tells me Duke has one more special game in them that will shock the world. In what is likely Johnny Football’s last collegiate game it is tough to imagine him losing to an inferior ACC team. With all that being said, I always go with my heart over my head. I like the Blue Devils to win this game 42-38. LET’S GO DUKE!!!