Duke football wins despite injured quarterback and limited passing game

Duke football quarterback Henry Belin IV (Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke football quarterback Henry Belin IV (Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke football team got back on the winning track following a bye week. 

Mike Elko has the winning formula for the Duke football team — even with a rookie quarterback.

Rumors swirled until kickoff between the No. 17 Blue Devils and North Carolina State surrounding the status of quarterback Riley Leonard, who suffered an ankle sprain on the final drive two weeks prior against Notre Dame and was labeled as “day-to-day” from the head coach.

However, Leonard was in street clothes and freshman Henry Belin IV made his first career start.

Luckily for the youngster, he did not have to do too much because of the stout Duke defense that did not allow a point after the opening drive from the Wolfpack.

ALSO READ: Duke 5-star freshman says landing Cooper Flagg ‘makes sense’

North Carolina State’s opening drive was set up off an interception from Belin on his second attempt of the night but the Wolfpack did not gain a yard despite making a 57-yard field goal.

The jitters were out and Belin settled in just two series later with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jalon Calhoun which put the Blue Devils (5-1, 2-0 ACC) in front and never looked back in its 24-3 victory.

The New York native only completed four passes on the night but two were for touchdowns in just 12 attempts.

Duke’s other passing touchdown was a product of a NC State interception as Belin found Jeremiah Hasley for an 8-yard score.

Duke football added to lead and didn’t look back

A 17-3 lead at halftime was quickly expanded as the first offensive play of the second half for the Blue Devils was an 83-yard rushing touchdown from Jordan Waters as he racked up 123 yards on the night.

As a team, Duke rushed the football 30 times for 194 yards and a score.

ALSO READ: Duke vital player returns to 5-on-5 scrimmage after brief injury

Poor weather struck the area in the second half as neither team was able to get anything going following the Duke touchdown in the final two quarters.

The victory kept the Blue Devils perfect in conference play this season, despite only playing two league games this far, but sets up a showdown in Tallahassee against No. 4 Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) on Saturday.

Next. Duke freshman nearly named co-captain. dark