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Duke eyes ACC Championship Game after win over Miami

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Duke sits alone in first place of the ACC Coastal after defeating Miami 48-30. (USATSI)
Duke sits alone in first place of the ACC Coastal after defeating Miami 48-30. (USATSI)

While Florida State was handing over another 59-3 drubbing of an ACC Atlantic Division opponent, Duke took over first place in the Coastal Division standings and now controls its own destiny on the path to a program-first ACC Championship Game appearance.

The Blue Devils racked up 358 rushing yards on a depleted Miami defense on the way to a 48-30 win, likely knocking the Hurricanes out of ACC title contention. It was a back-and-forth game for much of the first three quarters, with Duke and Miami capitalizing on explosion plays to trade scores. In the fourth quarter, those big plays disappeared for the Hurricanes and Duke was able to force two punts and two turnovers on downs while eating up clock with its own ground attack.

ACC Coastal Race
Team (ACC Rec.)Remaining ACC Games
Duke (4-2)at Wake (Nov. 23); at UNC (Nov. 30)
Ga. Tech (5-3)--
Va. Tech (4-3)at Virginia (Nov. 30)
Miami (3-3)Virginia (Nov. 23); at Pitt (Nov. 29)

Miami's three-game slide is largely a result of injuries to several key players -- you can add Stacy Coley (concussion) and Artie Burns (ankle) to the list of notable injuries that already includes star running back Duke Johnson and wide receiver Phillip Dorsett -- but the Hurricanes inability to overcome those setbacks has left us here: with Duke as the most likely opponent for Florida State.

Miami could have seized a great opportunity at Duke today, thanks to Maryland's victory over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The Hokies became the frontrunner in the division after Georgia Tech's loss at Clemson, but a third conference loss leaves 5-3 as the best possible finish for Frank Beamer's squad.

With head-to-head victories against both Miami and Virginia Tech, Duke's only potential threat in the pursuit of an ACC Championship Game appearance is a two-team tie with Georgia Tech at 5-3. According to the ACC office, the championship game tiebreaker for scenarios involving three-or-more teams is first decided by head-to-head winning percentage among the tied teams. Of course, Duke coach David Cutcliffe would rather defeat Wake Forest and North Carolina to finish 10-2 and not have to rely on tiebreakers to punch a ticket to Charlotte.

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