The Commodores then put together a five-play, 97-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Nickson to Earl Bennett. Bryant Hahnfeldt's point after conversion with 3:12 left in the opening period made the score 14-0.
Nickson extended the lead to 21-0 on Vanderbilt's third possession, finding the end zone from five yards out on the ground to cap a six-play, 59-yard drive. Following a turnover, Nickson's 41-yard touchdown strike to George Smith pushed the Commodores ahead by a 28-0 count at the 6:22 mark of the second quarter.
The Blue Devils got on the scoreboard with 1:25 left in the opening period when Boyle capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Duke converted a key third down and eight from its own 38 yard line when Thaddeus Lewis tossed a 22-yard completion to Jomar Wright. On the final play of the half, Duke's Casey Camero blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt for a 28-7 score at intermission.
Vanderbilt used a three-yard touchdown run by Cassen Jackson-Garrison with 5:17 remaining in the third quarter to increase the margin to 35-7. The touchdown run finished off an eight-play, 67-yard drive. After Hahnfeldt's 44-yard field goal pushed the lead to 38-7, Boyle scored from 13 yards out for his second touchdown of the day. Duke's three-play, 62-yard scoring drive was highlighted by Ronnie Drummer's 48-yard run from scrimmage.
Duke's Vincent Rey recovered a fumble on Vanderbilt's next possession, and Boyle's third scoring run coupled with Re'quan Boyette's two-point conversion pulled the Blue Devils within 38-22 at the 7:21 mark of the fourth period.
After Alex Williams recovered an onside kick to give Duke possession, Boyle darted 32 yards for his fourth touchdown of the game. Boyette was stopped short on the two-point conversion attempt to make the score 38-28 with seven minutes left. Boyle's four-touchdown effort matches the school single-game record held by five others. Robert Baldwin was the last Blue Devil to accomplish the feat with four scores against Maryland in 1994.
Vanderbilt countered with a touchdown as Nickson scored on a one-yard run at the 4:07 mark and teammate D.J. Moore added an interception with under two minutes remaining to help seal the victory.
Duke closes out its four-game homestand next Saturday against Navy. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.