Duke football overcomes slow start to earn first win of season

Duke football quarterback Gunnar Holmberg (William Howard-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke football quarterback Gunnar Holmberg (William Howard-USA TODAY Sports) /

A slow start was no problem for the Duke football team against North Carolina A&T. 

After dropping the season opener to the Charlotte 49ers, the Duke football players certainly did not give off the impression that they were motivated against the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Friday night.

The Blue Devils (1-1) lost ten yards on three plays on their opening drive and then saw North Carolina A&T (0-2) march 86 yards on 20 plays while eating up 12 minutes on the game clock to take an early 7-0 lead at Wallace Wade Stadium.

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However, Duke would respond with a touchdown drive of its own to tie the game up before going into its bag of tricks for a surprise onside kick, recovering, and marching downfield to take a 14-7 lead.

After a couple punts, the Aggies would mount together another long drive, 14 plays for 59 yards, to tie the game with 1:08 left in the first half, but a quick, yet methodical drive would give Duke a seven-point lead going into halftime.

The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on three straight drives after halftime, followed by a field goal on their fourth drive after the intermission, winning 45-17.

Duke football finds different way to secure first victory of season

After establishing the running game in the season opener against Charlotte, Duke was not as prolific on the ground against North Carolina A&T, but the Blue Devils were efficient with their opportunities.

As a team, Duke rushed 38 times for just 150 yards but five touchdowns.

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Running back Mataeo Durant took the ball 15 times for only 41 yards but added three touchdowns to his stat line while Gunnar Holmberg picked up 30 yards and two touchdowns on five carries.

Holmberg was also 20-for-27 through the air for 270 yards while not throwing a touchdown or interception.

Duke will host Northwestern (1-1) on Saturday afternoon in Durham with kickoff scheduled for 4:00pm on the ACC Network.

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