Duke beats Memphis 28-14

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Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

Blue Devils still undefeated

MEMPHIS, TENN. – The Duke Blue Devils football team is off to its best start in 15 years, and extended its record to a perfect 2-0 after beating the Memphis Tigers 28-14 in front of 44,237 at Liberty Bowl Stadium on Saturday.

Quarterbacks Anthony Boone (11-16, 99 yards, 1 INT) and Brandon Connette (14-21, 198 yards) once again combined their talents and abilities to guide the Blue Devils spread offense to take 82 snaps against a Tigers defense that allowed a total of 470 yards.

In the air, Jamison Crowder caught a career-high 11 passes for 140 yards, making his 100th career reception, and posting his sixth career 100-yard receiving game and first of the season.

Duke’s defense led by Kelby Brown (7 tackles), David Helton (7 tackles) Ross Cockrell (6 tackles, 1 PBU), and Dwayne Norman (6 tackles) held Memphis to just 237 yards for the game, including 89 yards on the ground.

While The Tigers averaged just 4.2 yards per play and converted just 2-of-13 third downs and 0-of-4 fourth downs, the Blue Devils managed to recover two fumbles, and posted one sack and six tackles for losses.

Boone put Duke ahead 7-0 during the first quarter of play, running the ball in from 23 yards out, tallying his eighth career touchdown and the longest rush for a score on his resume to date.

However, Boone was forced to leave the game with an upper body injury (collarbone) during the second quarter as the result of absorbing a hit on a play from scrimmage, and put Connette into the spotlight to guide Duke’s offense for the rest of the game.

Starting the third quarter tied 7-7 with the Tigers, the Blue Devils fumbled the ball and gave Memphis the chance to go ahead, but Duke’s defense forced the Tigers to go three-and-out.

To make up for it, Connette kept moving the chains down the field from the Duke 13-yard line until he handed the ball off to running back Juwan Thompson who ran it in from eight yards out to score his first touchdown of the season.

Leading 14-7 to start the fourth quarter, Memphis managed to put together a three-yard, 70-yard drive and tied the game again at 14-14.

However, Connette eventually directed back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth quarter, throwing touchdown passes of 22 yards to Issac Blakeney and 11 yards to Brandon Braxton that put the Blue Devils ahead for good and earned them their second consecutive win of the season.