This is the new era for Duke Football. In front of a capacity crowd in the new Wallace Wade Stadium the once dormant program brushed aside some early execution problems and rolled to a second straight easy victory to open the season.
New starting quarterback Thomas Sirk was once again Duke’s most effective weapon, and seemed to be in complete command against the overmatched Eagles of NC Central. Sirk completed 15-of-22 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns while adding another score and 86 yards rushing in just three quarters of action as Duke rolled to a 55-0 win.
Sirk was pulled as the teams began the fourth quarter of play with the Blue Devils leading 41-0 in a game that was as one sided as the series has been. Since 2009 Duke is 4-0 versus the Eagles and have enjoyed a 203-31 scoring advantage.
On Saturday night the Blue Devils racked up 655 yards of total offense, gaining an average of 7.7 yards per play and earning 29 first downs. Duke also maintained it’s early season success on third down, converting 10 of the 16 opportunities faced.
In addition to Sirk’s strong performance, the Blue Devils also got a lift from running back Shaun Wilson who ran 57 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and added another 102 yards receiving which included an 89 yard touchdown reception off a simple screen pass.
Sirk’s other two touchdown passes included a 24 yard strike down the left side to running back Shaquille Powell and a 43 yard pass to a wide-open Max McCaffrey.
Kicker Ross Martin converted both field goal attempts from 24 and 38 yards, while backups Parker Boehme and Zach Boden added fourth quarter touchdowns after the game was well in hand and the starters were safely on the sideline.
While the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defensive effort was just as good, limiting NC Central’s offense to just 186 yards on the night. A week ago the Eagles scored 72 points in the team’s opener.
Senior Jeremy Cash led the Blue Devils with six tackles including a sack, while true freshman Brandon Boyce added four stops as well.
Duke will return to non-conference action next week against Big10 foe, Northwestern. The Wildcats made noise in the week one with a victory over Stanford before pounding Eastern Illinois 41-0 on Saturday.