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March 1, 2014

Connette leads Duke in spring game

Quarterback Brandon Connette completed 11 of 16 passes for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns, fueling the Blue team to a 24-14 victory over the White squad in Duke's annual Spring Game Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.

"We had some little things we need to clean up, but I thought overall we were pretty efficient," said the redshirt senior Connette, who connected with Ryan Smith and Max McCaffrey for scores of 10 and 37 yards. Smith led all receivers with 5 receptions, and McCaffrey had a game-high 68 receiving yards on 4 catches.

Connette split work with Anthony Boone under center for the Blue squad. Boone completed 10 of his 13 passes for 33 yards. Freshman Jonathan Lloyd, who joined the team in January, also saw some work at quarterback, manning the Blue offense for a drive in which he had a 19-yard scramble.

Redshirt sophomore Thomas Sirk led the White team, as the now healthy quarterback went 12-for-28 passing for 83 yards. Sirk also made an impact with his legs, carrying the ball 19 times for 30 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sirk punched in his second touchdown from 8 yards out with 7:50 left in the 4th quarter, narrowing the Blue lead to 3.

Down 17-14 to the Blue team, on 4th and 4 with just over 2 minutes to play, Sirk scrambled up the middle and came up just shy of the first down.A Shaquille Powell 36-yard touchdown run then sealed it for the Blue team, finalizing the score at 24-14. Powell finished the day with 75 yards on 8 carries and 3 receptions for 16 yards to go with the score. His counterpart in white also performed well, as redshirt freshman Joseph Ajeigbe collected 60 yards on 10 carries and 34 yards on 4 catches.

On the other side of the ball, safety Corbin McCarthy's 8 tackles and Dezmond Johnson's game-high 2 sacks anchored the Blue defense.Cornerback Evrett Edwards led the White defense with 8 tackles, including a sack, along with Nick Hill who also recorded 8 tackles.

"I think you saw what our spring practices have been:continued momentum, and I felt like that was a big part of our day," said head coach David Cutcliffe. Duke began practice and played its Spring Game nearly three weeks before any other team in the nation.

"Day one of spring never looked like day one."

With a long break ahead, Duke now looks forward to its 2014-2015 season opener against Elon University at Wallace Wade Stadium on August 30.



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