Duke started the 2013 football season off with an assertive bang, hammering North Carolina Central 45-0. Brandon Connette led the scoring with two touchdown passes and another rushing as Duke heavily used the zone read attack today, preferring to work out the kinks rather than hold anything a lot back.
Duke used the shotgun running scheme to amass 488 total yards with 257 of them coming on the ground. Jela Duncan ran the ball 11 times for 76 yards, Josh Snead had 8 carries for 53 yards, Shaquille Powell featured much more heavily today than he did last year and had 9 carries for 47 yards.
Connette ran much of the early redzone plays as he logged a 1 yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. Later on in the game, Duke began using more handoffs near the goal line leading to Jela Duncan’s short touchdown in the third quarter.
The game had an inauspicious start as Duke drove down the field with ease only to stall out and have Duke’s Groza watch list kicker miss a 38 yarder. However, no one can deny Jamison Crowder the endzone as the All-ACC receiver returned Central’s three and out punt 76 yards for a touchdown near the end of the first quarter.
1) Jamison Crowder – Crowder picked up right where he left off last season and was easily the go-to threat for Duke on crucial third downs. The punt return was a surprise but his pass catching production was just the sure thing to settle some early nerves for Duke. He finished with 6 catches for 62 yards while adding in 113 punt return yards on 5 returns.
2) Brandon Connette – Connette stole the show early on as he was efficient in the endzone finding Braxton Deaver all alone for a three yard touchdown pass to open the game and later found tight end turned wide receiver Isaac Blakeney for a 19 yard TD toss. Connette completed the Tebow Trifecta with an interception in the third quarter, immediately after Dezmond Johnson recovered a Central fumble for Duke. (Tebow Trifecta is a TD pass, rushing TD, and an interception in the same game.)
3) Kelby Brown – The oldest Bash Brother was all over the field and was inches from picking off a pass over the middle in the third. With Brown stuffing the running lanes, Duke was able to stifle the Central option attack and lead Duke to their first shutout since 1989.