ATLANTA — Duke coach David Cutcliffe points to the Blue Devils' two consecutive wins over Georgia Tech as evidence the program is on the rise.
A third in a row in the series today would be particularly reassuring to Duke fans, since the Blue Devils have lost their first three Atlantic Coast Conference games this season and are last in the Coastal Division, just ahead of the Yellow Jackets.
Duke (3-4, 0-3) should enter the game with good background in the triple-option plays in Georgia Tech's spread-option offense. The Blue Devils beat Army, which runs a similar scheme, on Oct. 8.
"A lot of it is guys buying into that scheme, and playing assignment football, playing disciplined football," said Duke cornerback Bryon Fields.
Cutcliffe said playing Army was only an introduction to Georgia Tech's version of the spread option.
"Army, in all due respect, is not even close to what Georgia Tech is from a weapons standpoint offensively," Cutcliffe said.
"I think our players do realize that. ... It's really hard to simulate the speed that Georgia Tech has on offense."
Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-3) has lost three consecutive ACC games but ended its losing streak by beating Georgia Southern 35-24 on Oct. 15.
Coach Paul Johnson said losses to Duke the past two years are not a sign his option offense is becoming easier to defend by well-rehearsed conference opponents.
"I think last year they just beat us," Johnson said. "The year before we turned the ball over a bunch down here."
In 2014, Georgia Tech outgained Duke 483-373 but was hurt by three second-half turnovers in a 31-25 loss. Last season, Duke held the Yellow Jackets to 173 yards rushing in a 34-20 win.