After a flat first half performance that left them clinging to a 17-14 lead, the Duke Blue Devils came out of the locker room and dominated the Memphis Tigers en route to a 38-14 win, which pushed Duke’s season record to 3-1. The Blue Devil defense held its winless opponent without a point in the second half, and Duke easily outgained the Tigers, racking up a 500-152 advantage in total yards.
Sean Renfree threw four touchdown passes in the contest and finished with 314 yards through the air on 26 of 37 passing. Two of those touchdowns went to Duke’s All-ACC wideout Conner Vernon, who also had a team-high 120 yards receiving. Renfree’s other touchdown passes went to do-it-all Brandon Connette and converted running back Desmond Scott. Connette’s grab was his first TD reception as a Blue Devil.
Another bright spot on the evening for Duke was true freshman running back Jela Duncan, who led the rushing attack with 88 yards on 9 carries. He broke off a 52 yard scamper at a time when Duke needed momentum after suffering four brutal turnovers.
It wasn’t a pretty first half, but the Blue Devils reached deep and took care of business in the second half on Homecoming, and seemed to get through the contest with minimal injuries — which is key considering how the Blue Devils have already been battling the injury bug this season. Duke likely played it close to the vest on Saturday night, as the game was never seriously in doubt. The Devils likely did not want to show too much as they head into the ACC opener at Wake Forest next week. The Blue Devils are in close to a must-win situation against the Deacons should they want to keep their bowl hopes alive.
Stay tuned to Blue Devil Nation for post-game comments from Coach Cutcliffe and the players.