NFL scouts got a show from Duke’s redshirt junior quarterback Daniel Jones on Thursday. Jones threw for 423 yards and five touchdowns as Duke handled Temple in Independence Bowl. NFL scouts were not the only ones that got a taste of what Jones can do. College football fans, like me, also got to see the Blue Devil’s talents on display. During the 2018 college football season I, like many others, heard what Jones was capable of and saw his stats, but rarely got an opportunity to watch him play. That is one of the great things about bowl games, college football fans get to see teams and players that they normally would not get to watch. Yesterday, two players that stood out were Jones and his receiver TJ Rahming.
Duke Handled Temple in Independence Bowl
While Duke controlled the second half of the Independence Bowl to beat Temple 56-27, Temple had a very good first half. Temple went into the half with a 27-21 lead over the Blue Devils. The Owls were confident. The Temple defense held Jones relatively in check throughout the first half. The Owl offense was rolling against a Duke defense without key starters Joe Giles-Harris and Ben Humphreys. Then, Duke got on a roll in the second quarter and did not stop. Everything started to click for the Blue Devils and Duke handled Temple in Independence Bowl.
Duke offense vs. Temple defense
As stated above, Jones put on a show for NFL scouts and college football fans against Temple. The junior threw for 423 yards, five touchdowns, and two interceptions on Thursday. In addition to a rushing touchdown. Further, he completed 30 out of 41 pass attempts against a stingy Temple pass defense. Jones was not supposed to be able to use the passing game as well as he did against a Temple defense that tallied 15 interceptions before the Independence Bowl. How did Jones do it? Well, he is very good, but he also had help.
Rahming caught 12 of Daniel’s 30 passes against Temple. He had 240 receiving yards and two touchdowns before the game ended. Including an 85-yard touchdown where Rahming was not touched by the Temple defense. The rushing game was not there for the Blue Devils. Duke’s leading rusher was running back Deon Jackson with only 41 rushing yards and zero touchdowns. This is only the third time this season that the sophomore did not find the end zone. The others were the loss against Clemson and the win against Northwestern. Overall, in a game where the rushing attack was supposed to be huge, Jones figured out where Temple’s pass defense was weak and exploited that. He did something that was difficult for other opponents all season.
Temple offense vs. Duke defense
Duke was without top tacklers Giles-Harris and Humphreys for the 2018 Independence Bowl. Temple was able to use that to their advantage in the first half. The Owls entered the half with a 27-21 lead, but the Blue Devil defense made the right adjustments during the half and the Temple offense could not stay on the field.
Temple quarterback Anthony Russo was good to go for the Owls after dealing with a hand injury to end the season. He did not have a bad game, but could not keep up with Jones. Russo threw for 228 yards, but only had one touchdown and one interception. He also had a rushing touchdown. Both of Russo’s touchdowns came in the first half. Temple would not score again after the touchdown pass from Russo in the second quarter. In fact, the Duke defense held the Owls to just 27 yards of total offense in the third quarter. The Temple offense could not stay on the field and the Duke offense did not stay off. Without their leading tacklers and veteran linebackers, Duke’s defense held the Owls to 281 total yards of offense.
After Duke handled Temple in Independence Bowl, the next step for Jones is the NFL draft. The redshirt junior is a top quarterback prospect for the 2019 NFL draft.
Temple will start the 2019 season with a new head coach, again. Former Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will become the new head coach for the Owls in 2019.