Duke Football had many reasons to celebrate following the team’s sixth victory of the season, a seven point win over Boston College on Friday evening.
By virtue of the 38-31 victory over the Eagles, Duke has qualified for postseason play for the first time since the 2018 season.
That was the good news. The bad news, unfortunately, was released on Monday afternoon when head coach Mike Elko revealed that offensive lineman Jacob Monk has been lost for the regular season with a lower leg injury. Elko did leave open the possibility of his senior lineman returning for one final curtain call depending on when Duke plays its bowl game, however.
Monk’s injury is the third to players expected to play a role in Duke’s offensive line rotation this season, joining Maurice McIntyre and John Gelotte on the injured list. Prior to the season Coach Elko had stated the coaching staff was comfortable with eight players able to rotate in and along the offensive line. Now, heading into the final quarter of the regular season, the Blue Devils are down to just five if that rotation held.
The direct replacement for Monk could be redshirt freshman Justin Pickett who has played in eight games with players such as Addison Penn (3), Calib Perez (3), and Brian Foley (7) also available for additional snaps.
During his first few seasons at Duke Monk played guard and tackle before moving to center prior to the start of the 2022 season. Ahead of the first game of the year he told the media the offensive line was looking to establish itself as one of the team’s strengths.
“That’s our dream each and every time we step on the field, being able to establish the run game” he said. “Everyone wants to be going forward and not setting backwards. This is something that all offensive linemen love, and especially here at Duke.”
Nine games into the season and with a bowl game already secured, it’s fair to say Monk and the Blue Devils have accomplished that goal. Duke ranks second in the ACC in rushing, averaging 208.1 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. That commitment to the ground game has allowed the Blue Devils to rank third in the league in time of possession, owning the ball for just under 32 minutes per game. Overall Duke’s offense ranks fifth in the ACC, averaging 418.6 yards per game and third overall in scoring at 34.8 points per game.
A Blue Devil legacy (Monk’s dad Stanley played running back for Duke in the mid 1980s), Jacob was voted a captain this year by his teammates. He has started 38 career games during his time in Durham and is double majoring in African & African American studies and political science.
This weekend Duke will welcome Virginia Tech on Saturday, Nov. 12 for a noon kickoff on RSN at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.
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