Devils Demolished In Season Opener

The first play of the 2007 season was a penalty called on the Blue Devils for a false start. Talk about foreshadowing. After taking a 14-8 lead into halftime, Duke was humiliated over the final two quarters before the merciful final whistle came in a 45-14 season opening loss to Connecticut.

For at least the first part of the game, however, it seemed as though head coach Ted Roof and his team were ready to break the nation's longest losing streak. Within 90 seconds the Blue Devils had driven more than 80 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. Thaddeus Lewis completed five of his first six passes, including a 53 yard strike to Eron Riley before the Devils marched into the end zone on the strength of a six yard pass to Brandon King.

Connecticut would respond with eight straight points courtesy of two field goals and a safety, but the Blue Devils would reclaim the lead on a 94 yard kick off return by Jabari Marshall to take a 14-11 lead into intermission. Though UConn had clearly out-played Duke in the first half (out-gaining Duke 227-115), the Blue Devil defense held tough and allowed just three field goals, preserving the lead. It was enough for some quiet optimism to begin circulating around Wallace Wade.

And then the second half started.

After forcing a third down, the Blue Devils surrendered a 57 yard scoring strike to D.J. Hernandez from Tyler Lorenzen to fall behind by four. Unfortunately for those in attendance at Wallace Wade there wasn't enough moxy on the Duke sideline to recover as the Huskies continued to march up and down the field on offense, while forcing three and out after three and out for the anemic Duke offense.

After putting together the eight play 85 yard opening drive, the offensive unit managed just 83 total yards on the next 50 snaps, including just 15 total rushing yards over the final 58 minutes of play.

Lewis, who completed four of five on that opening drive would finish the game going 9-of-22 with three interceptions - including a 35 yard return for a score by Darius Butler with just over two minutes remaining and only those fans with no pressing engagements left in the stands.

Much as they did last year after being shutout by Richmond, Ted Roof's Blue Devils will have to bounce back quickly as they face a four game road trip that will include stops at Virginia, Northwestern, Navy, and Miami. In none of those four games will oddsmakers favor Duke to win, and likely they'll be double figure underdogs in at least three of the four as they hope to break the NCAA's longest active losing streak, which now sits at 21 straight defeats.

Defensively, Duke was led by sophomore LB Vincent Rey, who registered a career-high 17 tackles, including 1.5 sacks for 17 yards in losses.

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