Posted: 1:18 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013
Football shutouts don’t come often.
Last season one side prevented the other from scoring a point in six ACC games. Florida State and North Carolina did it twice each to rivals. Bowling Green laid an egg against Virginia Tech.
Wake Forest suffered two shutouts. The Demon Deacons were the only conference squad to go scoreless in a game. They were blanked at both FSU and Notre Dame.
The first weekend of 2013 ACC football action saw two teams pitch shutouts, already a third of last year’s conference total.
Georgia Tech topped Elon 70-0 at Atlanta, bringing to mind John Heisman’s legendary 220-0 demolition of Cumberland at The Flats in 1916. Elon’s Phoenix — a nickname that arose from the ashes of the “Fighting Christians” — lost last year at Chapel Hill, 62-0.
Those two performances against ACC foes marked Elon, a rising N.C. university, as a new regional favorite as an opening-game sacrifice. Last year the Phoenix did win three times in 11 tries: against West Virginia State, Western Carolina, and N.C. Central.
The other ACC shutout delivered on this season’s inaugural weekend came from an unexpected direction – Duke.
For only the seventh time in the last half-century, and the first since 1989, the Blue Devils kept an opponent entirely off the scoreboard, winning 45-0. Every other ACC team had recorded a shutout since 2005, including Pitt and Syracuse when competing in the Big East.
That Duke’s victim was N.C. Central, struggling to establish a competitive football program against a more robustly-funded level of competition, was both relevant and beside the point.
The modern Devils have played other overmatched opponents from time to time – they beat NCCU 49-14 as recently as 2009. But holding an opponent scoreless is a rarity, an achievement to be savored.
By the way, the last time Duke’s defense imposed two shutouts in a season was 1962 under Bill Murray, a Hall of Famer.
|DATE WITH A NONE|
Football Shutouts By Duke
|2013||NC Central||45-0||Home||David Cutcliffe|
|1989||No. Carolina||41-0||Away||Steve Spurrier|
|1978||Wake Forest||3-0||Home||Mike McGee|
|1974||Georgia Tech||9-0||Home||Mike McGee|