Duke 54, NC Central 17
Sean Renfree passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns to help
Duke beat North Carolina Central 54-17 on Saturday night.
The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on offense, defense and
special teams for the first time since 2004. They improved to 2-1
for the first time since 2008, coach David Cutcliffe’s first
Lee Butler notched Duke’s first punt return for a touchdown
since 2001 as the Blue Devils bounced back from a 50-13 loss at No.
21 Stanford last week.
Josh Snead rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass,
becoming the first Duke player since 1999 to accomplish that feat
in the same game.
Ross Cockrell intercepted two passes for the Blue Devils,
returning the second for a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth
Jordan Reid passed for 218 yards and ran for a touchdown for
N.C. Central (1-2).
The Eagles, in their second year of full Football Championship
Subdivision membership, dropped to 0-3 all-time against teams from
the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Duke led 27-10 at halftime despite getting outgained 200-198 in
total yardage and going 0 of 6 converting on third down.
Butler led the charge, returning three punts in the first
quarter for a total of 106 yards. He set up Duke’s first score, a
25-yard field goal by Ross Martin, with a 19-yard punt return.
When the Eagles punted on their next possession, Butler fielded
the ball and ran left to elude a pair of defenders, circled back to
his right – retreating 15 yards to change sides of the field.
Butler then turned the corner, broke a tackle next to the sideline
and sprinted the final 40 yards untouched for a 65-yard touchdown
to give Duke a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Renfree added touchdown passes to Snead, Jamison Crowder and
Issac Blakeney to help Duke pull away from its in-city foe. The
schools, which squared off in football for just the second time,
are separated by about five miles.
The Blue Devils received a lift before the game when wide
receiver Blair Holliday returned to campus. Holliday participated
in the pregame coin toss and led the team on the Devil Walk, a
tradition in which Duke’s players walk past cheering fans to enter
Holliday was injured in a watercraft accident July 4, suffering
a traumatic brain injury that left him in critical condition.