Turnovers Doom Duke Against Army

Four turnovers turned into 28 points for the Black Knights as Duke dropped a third straight game.

DURHAM, N.C. - Army scored 28 points off of four Duke turnovers to earn a 35-21 victory in non-conference football action this afternoon in front of 27,289 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Devils' Conner Vernon led all receivers with eight catches for 129 yards and one touchdown.

Duke compiled 220 yards of offense in the second half after putting up 85 yards in the first two quarters, but it was too little too late as the Black Knights capitalized on costly Blue Devil turnovers to build a 35-7 lead by the end of the third quarter en route to their third victory of the year.

Duke senior linebacker Abraham Kromah led the defense with a career-high 13 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. His previous best was nine tackles against Richmond last year and Wake Forest earlier this season. Duke redshirt freshman Sydney Sarmiento recorded a blocked field goal in the first quarter, marking the sixth blocked kick for the Blue Devils in the 28 games under head coach David Cutcliffe.

A pair of interceptions by Army within Duke's first three possessions led to a pair of touchdowns that put the Blue Devils in an early 14-0 hole. Both interceptions occurred on the first plays of the respective drives and were returned to within five yards of the end zone.

Duke's rushing attack came alive on its next possession as sophomore Desmond Scott and freshman Josh Snead combined for 49 yards to put the Blue Devils into a first-down and goal situation. With the ball on the 10-yard line, freshman quarterback Brandon Connette went on a 10-yard scamper into the end zone. Senior kicker Will Snyderwine knocked the extra point kick through to cut Army's lead to 14-7 with 1:33 left in the first quarter.

Army added another score on a 10-play, 57-yard drive in the second quarter to take a 21-7 lead into halftime. Army's Brian Cobbs led the attack with 18 yards rushing that was capped off by a four-yard rush into the end zone at the 5:27 mark.

The Black Knights forced two Duke fumbles in the third quarter, resulting in a pair of long touchdown passes by Steelman to stretch Army's lead to 35-7 with just over five minutes left in the third stanza.

Trailing by 28 points, Duke got the ball back with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter. Using a two quarterback attack, the tandem of Renfree and Connette led the Blue Devils to the Duke 42-yard line as the quarter came to an end.

The Blue Devils struck quickly to start the fourth quarter with Renfree connecting with Vernon on a 58-yard pass to make it 35-14. Vernon's catch put him over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and for the sixth of his career. He is tied for third all-time at Duke with six career 100-yard games. Renfree completed three passes for 74 yards, while Connette rushed for 16 yards on the drive, including converting a 3rd-and-1 play.

Duke added a third touchdown late in the fourth quarter with Renfree connecting with freshman receiver Brandon Braxton on a 21-yard pass. The touchdown was the first of Braxton's career, while the 21-yard reception was the longest of his career.

Duke resumes conference play next weekend, traveling to Maryland on Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m., on ESPN3.com.

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