Duke to face N.C. Central in sold out Bull City Gridiron Classic

DURHAM, N.C. – It will be a packed house when the Duke Blue Devils host cross-town opponent, the North Carolina Central Eagles, in the Bull City Gridiron Classic at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday.

The Blue Devils announced on Friday afternoon that all available seats, 33,941 in total, had been claimed for the two teams’ fourth game against each other in six years, with Duke hosting and winning all three previous contests – in 2009 (49-14), 2012 (54-17), and 2013 (45-0).

Supporters of both sides should expect a spirited and well-contested matchup as the Blue Devils are coming off a 37-7 season-opening road win at Tu­lane, while the Eagles posted a decisive 72-0 victory over St. Augustine’s.

The sold out attendance will better the previous high of 26,390 in 2009 as the Blue Devils will reach 30,000-plus spectators at a home game for the 19th time in 48 home games under head coach David Cutcliffe.

In the 47 home games prior to Cutcliffe’s arrival, Duke hosted just four crowds of 30,000-plus fans.

“We’re always excited about the Bull City Gridiron Classic because it showcases not only two incredible institutions but also the entire Durham community,” Cutcliffe said.

“And with the renovations to the stadium, the fans are in for a treat. I’m sure we’ll have a great atmosphere on Saturday night at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.”

Duke has outscored N.C. Central 148-31, winning by an average of 39 points per game, and having won the most recent matchup two years ago by a 45-point margin.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

Who to watch


Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk passed for 289 yards while wide receiver Johnell Barnes finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 109 yards against the Green Wave.

Defensive captain Jeremy Cash, along with linebackers Zavier Carmichael and Dwayne Norman, led a defense that allowed only 25 yards rushing, the lowest total allowed by the Blue Devils while Cutcliffe has led the program.

Defensive tackle Carlos Wray recorded three stops and a sack as the Blue Devils yielded just 271 total yards to Tulane.

N.C. Central

The 2014 co-champion Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champions, the Eagles’ 72 points scored in Week One are the most by an FCS team this season, and the first shutout by the Eagles since a 59-0 victory against Johnson C. Smith on Sept. 2, 2010.

Defensive back and return specialist Mike Jones broke the single-game school record with 145 punt return yards on five attempts.