Midseason report: Duke

Following last year’s bowl-bound season, expectations were even higher for Duke heading into the fall, and a 2-0 start looking promising. The Blue Devils were hit hard early, though, when quarterback Anthony Boone broke his collarbone in a win at Memphis in the second game of the season. Boone, in his first season as a full-time starter, had been playing well, completing 75 percent of his passes through the season's first six quarters and rushing for a pair of touchdowns. Despite the confidence in backup quarterback Brandon Connette, Duke is a different team with Boone in the lineup. The Blue Devils lost back-to-back Coastal Division games to Georgia Tech and Pitt, putting them behind early in the ACC race.

Boone, seemingly ahead of schedule, returned the starting lineup last week and led the Blue Devils to a win over Navy -- sweeping their nonconference opponents this fall. In his first game back since the injury, Boone set career highs for pass completions, attempts and yards (31-of-38, 295 yards). Equally as impressive was the performance by the defense, which made a statement that Duke can play a complete game. The improvement on Duke’s defense has been noticeable this year, especially last week against the Midshipmen. Duke is now just two wins shy of becoming bowl eligible for the second straight season under coach David Cutcliffe.

Offensive MVP: Jamison Crowder -- He’s second in the ACC with 7.8 receptions per game, and third in the league with 103 receiving yards per game. He also leads the ACC in punt return average at 17.5 yards. He’s second in the ACC with 159 all-purpose yards per game.

Defensive MVP: Jeremy Cash -- He’s second in the ACC with 9.7 tackles per game and 58 total. He’s also got four passes defended this year.