Duke vs. the ESPN 150: Part 1 (1 through 50)


In celebration of College Football’s 150 season, ESPN released its list of the top 150 players in history.

No Duke Blue Devils made the list, but Duke has crossed paths with 23 of the top players.

Here’s a look at how Duke did against the 150 best, starting with spots 1 through 50 on the list:

11. Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)

Duke faced Roger the Dodger twice, in his Heisman season of 1963 and the following season. Staubach passed for 122 yards and rushed for 72 and a score in the first meeting, won by No. 2 Navy, 38-25. The next year, he passed for 217 and ran for 91 and a score, setting a school total offense record.

13. Doc Blanchard (RB, Army, 1944-46)

Duke faced him during his Heisman season of 1945, as well as the years before and after. Mr. Inside rushed for 64 yards and a score in each of the first two games, and 114 yards in the third. He added a total of 74 receiving yards, caught a touchdown and returned kicks for 547 yards as Army won all three: 27-7, 48-13 and 19-0.

17. Tony Dorsett (RB, Pitt, 1973-76)

The Blue Devils faced Dorsett in 1975, the year before he won the Heisman, as well as his Heisman-winning season. Pitt took both games, as Dorsett ran for 84 and 129 yards, scoring in the second game.

18. Glenn Davis (RB, Army, 1943-46)

Duke faced Mr. Outside (to No. 13 Blanchard’s Mr. Inside) in the same three losses to Army. Davis gained a total of 202 yards with two touchdowns in the games. He also had two receiving touchdowns, passed for 95 yards, had 85 punt return yards and had an interception on defense.

19. Reggie White (DE, Tennessee, 1980-83)

For the first time on the list, Duke posts a win over a top 150 player. While White was a top defensive player in college, it was the Blue Devil defense that stepped up with a key stop to preserve a 25-24 win over White’s Vols in the 1982 opener.

22. Billy Cannon (RB, LSU, 1957-59)

A year before he won the 1959 Heisman, Cannon led No. 1 LSU to a 50-18 win in Baton Rouge, rushing for 53 yards and a score while adding 72 receiving yards and a 63-yard touchdown.

35. Randy White (DT, Maryland, 1972-74)

Duke went 1-2 against White. In the 1974 game, the Duke Chronicle wrote, “White was truly impressive showing great speed and quickness … He showed his speed on two occasions in the open field, once hauling Spears down as Duke’s quarterback tried to turn the right end, and nailing freshman Mike Barney in the right flat as Barney tried to go upfield. Barney survived his encounter with White.”

42. Lawrence Taylor (LB, North Carolina, 1977-80)

The Tar Heels beat Duke all four years Taylor was there (although he didn’t play in the 1978 game). His final game was his biggest, when LT had a tackle in the end zone for a safety and added a third down sack late in the game.

44. Jack Tatum (DB, Ohio State, 1968-70)

Duke faced The Assassin in his final season, losing to the Buckeyes in Columbus, 34-10.

47. Howard "Hopalong" Cassady (RB, Ohio State, 1952-55)
No. 11 Duke knocked off Cassidy’s No. 14 Buckeyes in Columbus, 20-14 in 1955. Cassidy, on his way to the Heisman, had 40 yards rushing, 14 passing and returned a punt 38 yards for a touchdown.