Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 Belk Bowl

BOWL GAME
vs.

Preview/Recap: The Duke Blue Devils were good enough to win a bowl game against a very good Cincinnati team in the 2012 Belk Bowl.  Despite being led by the talented passing connection of Sean Renfree and Connor Vernon, this Blue Devil team showed the fruits of the hard work of a the ACC coach of the year and his staff.  They are a young team, full of talented skill position players on offense.  That's the good.

The bad is that it takes more than a good recruiting class to build a solid defense and it takes time to teach young talented kids how to win against good competition.  Their young running backs had 2 fumbles inside the 5, one just before the goal line when a score would have made it 23-7.  The second was inside 2 minutes with the score tied when a few snaps and a field goal would have likely finished the game with the Blue Devils winninng their first bowl game in years.

Instead, the physical Bearcat team stole a victory despite playing with half a coaching staff behind a gutsy performance from their dynamic quarterback Brendon Kay who hit star Tight End Travis Kelce for the go-ahead score from 83 yards away.

Players of note:
Duke:
QB Sean Renfree: Renfree is a very accurate, drop-back, passer who David Cutcliffe has used to kickstart the Blue Devil program.  Having watched several of his games, I have very serious concerns about his arm strength.  He throws with great touch and his reads are above average, but he has trouble fitting the ball into tight windows.

WR Connor Vernon: Vernon is the best receiver in the history of the ACC, statistically.  He has decent size at 6'1" and 200 lbs, and is expected to run a sub 4.4 40.  If he can do that, he will be an early pick in the coming draft.  He performed well against the Bearcats despite being the obvious #1 option for the Blue Devils.  He caught 10 balls for over 100 yards and a TD. 

WR Jamison Crowder: This is one of the guys to keep an eye on in the ACC.  He is a smaller receiver, but I lost count of the guys he made miss on his half dozen catches.  He is cat-quick and is only a sophomore.

K Ross Martin: I hate to note a kicker as a player of note, but Martin is as good as anyone in the country, and he is only a sophomore.  He has a big, accurate leg and has a very good chance to play at the next level. 

RB Josh Snead: Snead's night ended badly as he fumbled the ball, and the game, away at the 5 yard line of the Bearcats, but prior to that he was a force in this game.  This was eaily his best game of the season as it was his only 100 yard rushing game of the year, but I expect to see more of this out of him going forward.  He is nimble and decisive while catching the ball well out of the backfield.

Cincinatti:

QB Brendon Kay: Kay didn't get the starting spot until halfway through the season, but he is a big physical quarterback who throws a great deep ball and can be very dynamic, and effective, in the running game.  In 5 games, he threw for 1298 yards with  10 TD's against only 2 INT's.  He is going to be an interesting case for for the scouts to evaluate coming out of his senior year with so few starts, but I would not be suprised to see someone take a chance on him.

TE Travis Kelce: The younger brother in a family with and NFL pedigree is just as talented as his older brother.  He is an excellent blocker who the Bearcats move all over the field to create both blocking and receiving mismatches.  He opeed holes for George Winn all game long and then finished it off by running away from the Duke secondary for the long touchdown.  He may be the best Tight End in the country.

RB George Winn: Winn is a one-cut downhill runner who has good acceleration who delivers the blow to defenders.  He is well suited to a zone scheme and will be a mid-round grade for teams who run that kind of blocking scheme.  He did not show the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, but a team like the Texans may see good depth in a player like Winn.

Interesting Notes: Duke was driving with the ball and the score tied late.  They had first a goal with 2:10 left but fumbled trying to push the ball into the end zone. 

2012 Bowl Season Scoreboard.


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