The Blue Devils opened the 2015 season on the road with a dominant performance against Tulane, winning 37-7 behind a brilliant performance from new starting quarterback Thomas Sirk.
A season ago Duke beat Tulane handily, but the scoreline covered up a game that was closer than it may appear at first glance. On Thursday night in New Orleans, the rematch produced a more one sided result all around.
New starting quarterback Thomas Sirk produced 357 yards from scrimmage and led Duke to 530 yards of total offense as the Blue Devils cruised to a 30 point victory over the Green Wave. Sirk passed for 289 yards, completing 27-of-40 passes, and ran the ball another 15 times for 68 yards.
After an early fumble by Johnell Barnes on the team’s first possession, the Blue Devils began methodically moving the ball up and down the field with each possession, eventually building a 23-0 lead into the fourth quarter before Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee found Devon Breaux over the top for a 76 yard touchdown to make it 23-7.
If the long scoring play was meant to ignight any sort of rally, it was quickly snuffed out on the ensuing kickoff as DeVon Edwards returned the kick 95-yards for a touchdown to restore the 23 point lead. Transfer Zach Boden would run the ball in with just over 90 seconds left to produce the final margin.
Other Duke scores were produced by Barnes, who rebounded from his early fumble to score on a 29 yard receiver screen, and starting running back Shaquille Powell who scored on a three yard pass from Sirk. Kicker Ross Martin converted all three of his field goal attempts (32, 25, and 46 yards) as well.
Defensively the Blue Devils produced one takeaway, a diving interception by new starting linebacker Zavier Carmichael in Duke territory, and limited Tulane to just 271 yards of total offense. That number included just 25 yards of rushing yardage by a Tulane team that returned 90 percent of its ground attack from a team that totaled 256 yards on 42 carries against the Blue Devils a season ago.