Connette, Varner Highlight Scrimmage

DURHAM, N.C. – Quarterback Brandon Connette threw for one touchdown and rushed for a second while wideout Donovan Varner caught seven passes for 111 yards and a score to highlight Duke's 80-play football scrimmage on Saturday morning at Wallace Wade Stadium.

"The impressions were flashes – a lot of flashes, which is good," said head coach David Cutcliffe. "It's not a negative thing. And what I mean by flashes was I saw a lot of young players make some exceptional plays. People just kept showing up. It went back and forth a little bit between the offense and the defense. I think that's good. I was pleased with the contact. I thought it was very physical."

After misfiring on his first five throws, Connette hit on 10-of-11 passes for 163 yards with a two-yard scoring strike to Varner. The rookie signal caller from Corona, Calif., also rushed nine times for 48 yards with a five-yard touchdown run. Fellow quarterback Sean Schroeder was nine-of-23 through the air for 114 yards with one interception.

"You couldn't but notice Brandon Connette's play and his running," Cutcliffe noted. "He's one of those young players I'm talking about flashes, and in this scrimmage did a much better job of taking care of the ball. We'll look at this tape. We've got one week left. I'm really, really anxious to see how we respond to the critiquing of the tape. I said that this team would be defined by what we accomplished in spring ball. I think next week is a real important week for this football team."

Varner's performance included three catches of 25 or more yards while receivers Conner Vernon (52 yards) and Tyree Watkins (43 yards) had three receptions apiece. Desmond Scott paced the ground attack with 10 carries for 55 yards while Jay Hollingsworth had 12 attempts for 37 yards. Josh Snead contributed a six-yard touchdown run.

On defense, safety Anthony Young-Wiseman was responsible for two turnovers with one interception and one fumble recovery. Linebackers Austin Gamble and Kevin Rojas logged two tackles for loss each while cornerback Chris Rwabukamba recovered a fumble.

The Blue Devils will practice on Monday and Wednesday next week before hosting the annual Spring Game on Saturday, March 27 at 1 p.m. in Wallace Wade Stadium.

"Next week we are going to do some situations that we haven't done to kind of complete the spring, and that's huge," said Cutcliffe. "That's one of our goals. But what I really want to see is I want to it to come down to some scrimmaging on Wednesday, and obviously a spring game on Saturday. I want people to come out and watch us because I'm going to let them play football. Very similar to what we've been doing – probably our best units against our best units. And I'm anxious to see if we're as crisp and quick and as fast as I think we've become. I want to see us play that fast."

The Blue Devils open the 2010 season at home against Elon on September 4. Season tickets may be purchased online at GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office toll free at 1-877-375-3853. The Duke Athletic Ticket Office is located in Cameron Indoor Stadium and open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The Devils Den Top Stories