Duke keeps rolling in unbeaten start
DURHAM – Duke got off to another hot start and win – both categories are 3-for-3 under coach Mike Elko – with a 49-20 defeat of North Carolina A&T on Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium.
The Blue Devils (3-0) reached a 21-0 lead about halfway through the first quarter and cruised to a mostly drama-free victory against an FCS foe.
Quarterback Riley Leonard stayed hot, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for two more. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 155 yards – all in the first half –and his 56-yard touchdown run in the opening minutes of the second half put Duke on the fast track of making some mass substitutions.
Jaylen Coleman added a 12-yard touchdown run, capping a quick-strike, four-play drive that made the lead 42-6 with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
It didn’t take long for Duke to turn this into the rout you’d expect.
Jaylen Stinson ran the game’s opening kickoff back to N.C. A&T’s 33-yard line. After a delay of game penalty, Leonard threw a dime over the top to Nicky Dalmolin for a 38-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
The Blue Devils added two more touchdowns in the first quarter – a third-and-goal touchdown pass from Leonard to Jordan Moore, who has a touchdown catch in each of Duke’s first three games, and then a 35-yard fumble return by DeWayne Carter.
Aeneas Peebles had a blindside hit on Jalen Fowler to pop the ball loose, and his fellow defensive tackle Carter scooped it and scored.
Duke’s fourth touchdown of the first half came on a 2-yard keeper by Leonard.
The lone mistake of the first half – at least for Duke’s offense – was an interception thrown by Leonard that didn’t appear to be his fault. A miscommunication, seemingly with Sahmir Hagans, resulted in Aggies linebacker Avarion Cole being the only player in the area.
N.C. A&T notched two field goals in the second quarter – one early and one late.
After Duke subbed in backups in the fourth quarter, N.C. A&T added a couple of touchdowns. In between those scores was Duke’s Eric Weatherly jetting in for a 14-yard touchdown run.