NEW ORLEANS, LA. – The Duke Blue Devils posted a decisive 37-7 season-opening victory, surging past the Tulane Green Wave in front of 25,470 in attendance at Yulman Stadium on Thursday.
The game marked the first time since 1964 that the Blue Devils made an appearance in the Big Easy, and they made it a memorable one, amassing 530 yards of offense led by quarterback Thomas Sirk (27-40, 289 yards, 2 TDs) who made his first career start.
The long and short: The Blue Devils maintained possession of the ball for more than half the game (36 minutes) and took advantage of it throughout.
Sirk added 68 yards while rushing 15 times, and produced 357 total yards while avoiding being sacked or turning the ball over.
Duke led 13-0 while its defensive play helped to get the ball in the offense’s hands to complete a 93-snap performance that highlighted a 24-point finish in the second half.
Offensive Keys: Duke’s running game posted 206 yards led by Sirk and Shaun Wilson (15 rushes, 77 yards), while Johnell Barnes (11 catches, 109 yards) and Shaquille Powell (3 catches, 20 yards) made receptions for touchdowns, with Zach Boden (5 rushes, 22 yards) adding another on a one-yard run.
Placekicker Ross Martin converted all three field goal attempts he was afforded from 32, 25, and 46 yards respectively.
Martin’s contributions in the first half were valuable as Tulane’s defense recovered two fumbles, and made a fourth-down stop that required him to help Duke establish an early lead.
Defensive Keys: While Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee (24-42, 246 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) made completions and tried to produce points, the Duke defense sacked him four times, and limited the Green Wave to 25 net yards rushing.
Cornerback Breon Borders led with six tackles, a sack, and 1.5 tackles-for-loss, while captain and safety Jeremy Cash, and linebackers Dwayne Norman and Tinashe Bere all contributed five tackles apiece.
Safety Devon Edwards (3 tackles) and defensive tackles Carlos Wray (2 tackles) and Brandon Boyce (1 tackle) all recorded sacks and tackles-for-loss, while linebacker Zavier Carmichael claimed the lone interception on Lee.
What’s next: Duke now prepares for its home-opener against N.C. Central on Brooks Field at the new-look Wallace Wade Stadium with kickoff at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
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