Duke vs. the ESPN 150: Part 2


Just before the CFP national championship game, ESPN released their rankings of the top 150 players in college football history. Duke got shut out on the list, but the Blue Devils are very familiar with several of the players on the list.

A total of 23 players on the list played against Duke. We looked at the Duke connections to the top 50 in a previous post. Here’s which of the 51 to 100 players in the top 150 that crossed paths with Duke.

55. Bruce Smith (DE, Virginia Tech, 1981-84)
The future NFL sack leader had four sacks against Duke as a junior and, the Chronicle reported, just missed getting several more. “We couldn’t block him, and we tried everything,” coach Steve Sloan said. “He is the best pass rusher I’ve ever seen.” The following year, he had seven tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss. Duke went 1-3 against the Hokies during Smith’s time there.

59. Alan Page (DE, Notre Dame, 1964-66)
The future NFL Hall of Famer and Minnesota Supreme Court justice helped Notre Dame’s defense shut out the Blue Devils in a lopsided 64-0 win in South Bend in 1966.

64. Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford, 2009-11)
The future top pick in the NFL Draft helped Stanford blow out the Blue Devils at Wallace Wade early in the 2011 season. Luck completed 20 of 29 for 290 yards and four touchdowns, including a 60-yarder.

78. Mike Ditka (TE, Pitt, 1958-60)
The future NFL Hall of Fame player and coach led a 12-0 Pitt win over the Blue Devils in 1959, catching a 56-yard pass from Ivan “the Terrible” Toncic for a touchdown.

79. John Hannah (G, Alabama, 1970-72)
The offensive guard helped clear the way in Alabama’s win over Duke in a night game in Birmingham to open the 1972 season. The Alabama wishbone ended up gaining 333 yards on the ground as the Tide won, 35-12.