Devils Bounce Back With Big Win Over WCU

After struggling through the opening week, Blue Devil quarterback Adam Smith seemed to be down and out. He had been benched in favor of a red shirt freshman, and was thought to be in danger of sliding further down the depth chart. However against Western Carolina, Smith returned in grand fashion leading Duke to a 29-3 victory over the Catamounts.

Smith entered the game in relief of Mike Schneider who went down with an injury. Smith quickly shook off any rust or doubts about his ability by completing a 24-yard pass to receiver Khary Sharpe on a fourth and three from the WCU 30 yard line. Sharpe, who returned to the Duke (1-1) lineup after a one game suspension, ended the game with two catches for 39 yards.

Head coach Carl Franks, celebrating just his sixth win in five years at Duke, praised Smith for his performance both on and off the field over the past week.

"Mike [Schneider] got hurt and there was Adam's (Smith) chance again. He made the most of it," said Franks. "I'm proud of him, the way he handled the situation all week in practice, knowing he wasn't going to start. He was very professional."

Smith finished the game 13-of-20 for 120 yards. He passed for two threw for two touchdowns, both to senior wideout Reggie Love, and ran for another.

All-ACC tailback Chris Douglas continued his steady play, rushing for 106 yards on 22 carries while adding a touchdown for the Blue Devils who ran up a season high 396 yards of total offense.

With the offense hitting on all cylinders, the Duke defense was also on top of its game, holding the Division I-AA Catamounts (0-2) to just four yards rushing, while intercepting WCU quarterback Brian Gaither three times.

The Duke defense set up the first touchdown of the second half, when Matt Zielinski recovered a fumble at the Catamounts one yard line after Gaither was sacked.

Smith carried the ball into the end zone with a quarterback sneak on the next play.

Smith added a 4-yard touchdown pass to Love in the fourth quarter.

Gaither completed 18 of 33 passes for 181 yards for the Catamounts.

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