Duke earns 1st shutout since ’89, routs NCCU 45-0
Brandon Connette threw for two touchdowns and ran for another,
and Duke earned its first shutout in 24 years with a season-opening
45-0 rout of North Carolina Central on Saturday.
Jamison Crowder returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown,
starting QB Anthony Boone had a 1-yard touchdown run and Jela
Duncan added a 3-yard scoring run.
Connette – his backup and short-yardage specialist – ran 1 yard
for a touchdown, threw an early 3-yard TD pass to Braxton Deaver
and added a late 19-yard scoring pass to Isaac Blakeney.
Duke led 28-0 before N.C. Central crossed midfield, scoring
touchdowns four straight times it touched the ball while cruising
to its most lopsided victory under sixth-year coach David
The Blue Devils outgained the Eagles 488-184 in their first
shutout since Steve Spurrier’s final Duke team blanked rival North
Carolina 41-0 in 1989.
The Blue Devils, who won the previous two matchups with N.C.
Central by a combined 103-31, snapped a five-game losing streak
that dated to last season and included their Belk Bowl loss to
Boone finished 16 of 20 for 176 yards and added 24 yards rushing
in his debut as the Blue Devils’ full-time starter and the public
unveiling of a Duke offense that has incorporated some zone-read
elements to take advantage of Boone’s mobility.
Jordan Reid was 11 of 22 for 87 yards for the Eagles, who didn’t
advance deeper than the Duke 24.
They were playing nine days after the school fired coach Henry
Frazier III following his second arrest in 16 months, and made
Dwayne Foster his interim replacement.
They fell to 0-4 against Bowl Subdivision opponents – three of
those losses have come to the Blue Devils – and have yet to finish
within five touchdowns of one.
The only things that kept Duke from scoring on every drive of
the first half were a missed 38-yard field goal by Ross Martin on
the opening possession and the kneel-down Boone took with 11
Connette gave Duke a 7-0 lead when he stepped in for Boone
inside the 10-yard line and hit Deaver with 5:09 left in the
Then, after forcing a punt, the Blue Devils went up two scores
on Crowder’s long punt return. He fielded Matthew Cornelius’s punt
at the 24, made one quick move and took off between the hash marks
before making a late angle toward the right sideline, giving Duke a
punt return for a TD against N.C. Central for the second straight
Consecutive 11-play touchdown drives followed that, with
Connette powering in from 1 yard out a series and Boone adding his
short scoring run to put Duke up by four touchdowns and effectively
end it at the break.
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