Tag Archives: Thaddeus Lewis

Thaddeus Lewis Sets Career Passing Yards Record

thad lewis-block-300x200Thaddeus Lewis is now the all time leading passer in the history of Duke Football. He broke the record in his penultimate college game by throwing for 303 yards against the Miami Hurricanes to bring his career total to 9,678 yards. The record was previously held by Ben Bennett with 9,614 yards.

As a senior, Lewis has excelled by breaking multiple career passing records. In addition to becoming the all time leader at Duke in career passing yards, Lewis set records for touchdown passes thrown, career pass attempts, career pass completions, and career total offense. Lewis has thrown for 64 touchdowns during his career, attempted 1462 passes, completed 849 passes, and rolled up 9,599 yards of total offense eclipsing Spence Fisher’s previous mark of 9,110 yards.

The 303 yard performance against Miami was Lewis’ 10th career 300 yard game, which ties him with Anthony Dilweg for the school record.

After completing 40-50 passes for 459 yards and five touchdowns, against North Carolina State, Coach Cutcliffe stated, “I believe that was the finest game I’ve had a quarterback have in college.” That is high praise coming from a coach who previously coached Peyton and Eli Manning.

But Lewis wasn’t finished; he went out and completed 30-43 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns in leading Duke to a 17-13 victory over Maryland. Then he led Duke to their third consecutive ACC victory, 28-17 over Virginia, by completing 24-40 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown.

Lewis, and the entire offense, has benefited from playing in the same offensive system under the same coaching staff for a second consecutive season, for the first time in their careers. Lewis knows the offense, which allows him to be comfortable and confident on the field. Duke heads into the final game of the season with a 5-6 (3-4 ACC) record in a season that has kept fans in Durham excited about football into late November for the first time in many years.

Lewis' career at Duke started on September 2, 2006, when the true freshman was inserted during the first game of the season against Richmond and completed 15-24 passes for 148 yards in the 13-0 loss to the Spiders. Lewis started the next 11 games and threw for 2134 and 11 touchdowns on the season. However, he was sacked 38 times and threw 16 interceptions.

The Sporting News named Lewis honorable mention Freshman All America as his 2134 yards passing set a Duke record for passing yards by a freshman. Lewis threw four touchdown passes against North Carolina, which was the most thrown by a Duke freshman since Dave Brown threw four against Wake Forest in 1989.

As a freshman, Lewis had his two best games against in-state rivals Wake Forest and North Carolina. On September 9, 2006, Lewis completed 21-32 passes for 305 yards and a touchdown against Wake Forest. Against North Carolina, on November 25, 2006, Lewis completed 20-35 passes for 285 yards and four touchdowns. Unfortunately, Duke lost both games as part of a 0-11 season.

As a sophomore, Lewis would have to learn a new offensive system as Duke brought in Peter Vaas, from Notre Dame, to serve as passing game coordinator. Lewis responded by completing 199-360 passes for 2430 yards with 21 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. However, Lewis was sacked 44 times during his sophomore season.

Against Navy, on September 22, 2007, Lewis had the best game of his sophomore season throwing for 428 yards and four touchdowns to wide receiver Eron Riley. However, Duke lost the game 46-43 as the Midshipman scored the games final 14 points.

The arrival of Coach David Cutcliffe in Lewis’s junior season meant Lewis would have to learn another offensive system. His third system in three years as the starting quarterback at Duke, and Lewis quickly proved he was up to the challenge and proceeded to earn Second Team All ACC honors by completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 2171 yards and 15 touchdowns. Moreover, Duke won four games with Lewis decreasing his interceptions to six and only being sacked 16 times. Those numbers suggested real success for Duke Football was just around the corner.

As a junior, Lewis enjoyed his greatest success in a 41-31 defeat of Navy on September 13, 2008. Lewis completed 25-35 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns to wide receiver Eron Riley.

Duke hosts Wake Forest at Wallace Wade Stadium next Saturday November 28th in the final regular season contest of the 2009 campaign. Blue Devil Nation encourages all Duke Fans to come out, join in the festivities, and cheer on Lewis and the entire Blue Devil squad.

Miami ends Duke’s bowl hopes with a 34-16 win

Devils fall short in Miami and turn their attenton to Wake in an effort to finish the season at .500
Devils fall short in Miami and turn their attenton to Wake in an effort to finish the season at .500

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Thaddeus Lewis became Duke's all-time leading passer, but it wasn't enough as the Blue Devils fell to No. 20 Miami, 34-16, in front of 38,200 fans at Land Shark Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Duke falls to 5-6 overall and 3-4 in ACC play, while Miami improves to 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the conference.

Early in the fourth quarter, Lewis threw an eight-yard pass to Austin Kelly to move past Ben Bennett on Duke's all-time passing yardage list.  Bennett threw for 9,614 career yards from 1980-83.  With one game remaining in his collegiate career, Lewis has 9,678 yards - a total that ranks third best in ACC history trailing only N.C. State's Philip Rivers (13,484) and Florida State's Chris Weinke (9,839).

Miami scored the game's final 24 points for the win on Saturday as Duke dropped to 8-1 under head coach David Cutcliffe when leading after three quarters.  Heading into the fourth period, the Blue Devils led by three points, 16-13, before the Hurricanes scored three touchdowns to account for the final margin.

The Blue Devils claimed a 3-0 lead just over nine minutes into the contest when Will Snyderwine booted a 30-yard field goal.  The five-play, 68-yard scoring drive was set up by Vincent Rey's second interception of the year and highlighted by a 64-yard pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Donovan Varner down the right sideline.  Miami countered with a 33-yard field goal from Matt Bosher to tie the game at the 1:25 mark of the opening period.

Desmond Scott's 47-yard kickoff return set up Snyderwine's second successful field goal of the day, a 49-yard effort that pushed Duke back ahead, 6-3, with 14:50 left in the second quarter.

Miami took its first lead of the afternoon at the 4:50 mark of the second period when Jacory Harris hooked up with Tervaris Johnson for a five-yard scoring pass.  The touchdown capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive that took 4:52 off the clock.  Duke responded immediately as Lewis engineered an eight-snap, 80-yard march and hit Varner for a 24-yard touchdown with 2:17 prior to intermission.

Duke took the kickoff to start the third quarter and moved 60 yards on 10 plays for a 26-yard field goal by Snyderwine.  The kick increased the lead to 16-10 at the 11:05 mark.  The Hurricanes cut the lead in half with a 12-play, 54-yard drive that resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Bosher.

Following a Duke punt, a two-yard touchdown run by Miami's Damien Berry completed a 15-play, 90-yard drive and provided the Hurricanes with a 20-16 advantage at the 13:41 mark of the fourth quarter.  Miami extended the lead to 27-16 with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Leonard Hankerson with 7:37 remaining in the game.  Darryl Sharpton rounded out the scoring with a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown with just over six minutes left.

Lewis finished with 303 passing yards on 20-of-37 throws.  The 300-yard day is his sixth of the year and the 10th of his career to move into a tie for first place on Duke's all-time chart, matching Anthony Dilweg's 10 300-yard efforts from 1985-88.

Varner paced the Duke receiving unit with eight catches for 165 yards.

For Miami, Harris was 25-of-43 through the air for 348 yards while Berry rushed for 76 yards on 16 attempts.  Hankerson had eight grabs for 143 yards.

The Blue Devils conclude the 2009 season next Saturday at home against Wake Forest.  Kickoff at Wallace Wade Stadium is set for 12 noon and the game will be televised live by Raycom Sports.

BDN Game Day Preview – Duke at Miami

dscott 33BDN previews Saturday’s matchup as Thad Lewis and the Blue Devils travel to Miami to face the #20 Hurricanes. The game will kickoff at noon ET on ESPNU.

Scouting the Blue Devils (5-5, 3-3 ACC)

Last time out

Duke was defeated by Georgia Tech at Wallace Wade Stadium, 49-10. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the Yellow Jackets dominated the remaining three-plus quarters, scoring 49 unanswered points.

Duke’s touchdown came on their first possession, as Thad Lewis found RB Re’quan Boyette for an 18 yard score. The Duke defense also came out fired up, forcing a three and out on Georgia Tech’s first possession, and a fumbled punt on Georgia Tech’s second possession, which handed the ball to the offense at the Georgia Tech 14 yard line. Will Snyderwine, returning after missing the previous game with an injury, connected on a 31-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils up 10-0.

From that point on, it was all Georgia Tech, as the Blue Devil defense continually gave up big plays, while the offense struggled to move the ball downfield. In fact, Duke’s leading receivers on the day were RB Re’quan Boyette and RB Desmond Scott, as the dynamic receiving corps of Conner Vernon, Donovan Varner, and Austin Kelly totaled just 7 catches and 75 yards combined. After a promising start, the Duke defense gave up a total of 519 yards to the Yellow Jackets, including 7 plays of greater than 20 yards.


The Duke offense is led by senior QB Thad Lewis, who ranks third in the ACC with 264 passing yards per game and 16 TDs. Lewis was recently named as one of five finalists for the Johnny Unitas Award, which is presented to the nation’s top senior quarterback. The four-year starter has been instrumental to the program’s resurgence, etching his name in the Duke and ACC record books as one of the most prolific passers in conference history. Lewis is now just 240 passing yards shy of the Duke career record of 9,614 yards, currently held by Ben Bennett. Duke’s receiving corps of freshman Conner Vernon, sophomore Donovan Varner, and junior Austin Kelly all rank in the top 10 in the ACC in receiving. The Blue Devils have struggled to run the ball all season long, ranking last in the FBS at just 63.9 yards per game.

Defensive Coordinator Mike MacIntyre was recently named National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, and with good reason. The Duke defense has steadily improved under MacIntyre’s leadership, despite an overall lack of size and depth. The Duke defense ranks 6th in the ACC in total defense, and has also forced 16 turnovers on the season. The defense has sealed several of Duke’s victories with key defensive stops and forced turnovers late in games.

Duke’s special teams unit continues to improve, converting 14/18 field goals and a perfect 28/28 extra points. The return game has also set up good field position for the offense in recent weeks, though lead returner Johnny Williams is expected to miss this week’s matchup with Miami.

Scouting the Hurricanes (7-3, 4-3 ACC)

Last time out

Miami fell to a resurgent North Carolina team in Chapel Hill last Saturday, 33-24. QB Jacory Harris threw for 319 yards and a career-high 4 interceptions in the loss. North Carolina’s Kendric Burney set a single-game ACC record with 180 interception return yards, including a 77-yard TD.

The Miami offense moved the ball effectively against the ACC’s top defense, totaling 435 yards and 3 touchdowns, including runs by RB Graig Cooper and Damien Berry. The defense also performed well, holding North Carolina’s rushing attack to 3.6 yards per carry and no touchdowns. The turnovers proved to be too much to overcome, however, resulting in 17 points for the Tar Heels.


While this is not the dominant Miami program of the past two decades, Randy Shannon has begun to bring in the coaches and athletes necessary to return the program to the nation’s elite. Facing one of the toughest schedules in the country, including their first four games against nationally-ranked opponents, the Hurricanes boast a 7-3 record, including wins against Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma.

The Hurricanes rank 4th in the ACC in total offense and 5th in the ACC in total defense. QB Jacory Harris received national attention for his early season success, but has cooled as the season progressed, having now thrown 16 interceptions on the year to go along with 19 touchdowns. His offensive line has also allowed 28 sacks, ranking ahead of only Maryland and Virginia in the conference. An elite receiver has yet to emerge for Harris, although Leonard Hankerson does rank 9th in the conference at 60.0 receiving yards per game. RB Graig Cooper ranks 4th in the ACC in all purpose yards with 128.0 yards per game.

The Miami defense, despite its ranking, has forced only 14 turnovers and 19 sacks, both of which rank in the bottom four of the conference. The Hurricanes are also the second most penalized team in the ACC, averaging almost 8 penalties and 60 penalty yards per game. The defense particularly struggled in a 28-27 victory over Wake Forest, in which senior QB Riley Skinner was able to throw for 408 yards against the Miami secondary.


The Blue Devils injury report has grown considerably over the past two weeks, as a result of the long season and two particularly physical contests against UNC and Georgia Tech. Last week, the Blue Devils lost 2nd string QB Sean Renfree for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear. The week before, starting OG Mitchell Lederman was lost for the year with a broken toe. In addition, Duke expects to be without standout DT Vince Oghobaase, WR and lead kick returner Johnny Williams, and senior RB Re’quan Boyette. Several other key players appear on this week’s injury report, including QB Thad Lewis, WR Austin Kelly, K Will Snyderwine, LB Abraham Kromah, and LB Vincent Rey, but all are expected to suit up on Saturday.

The injury report for the Hurricanes, on the other hand, brings some good news, as Miami expects to have two key players back on defense for the first time in the last three weeks. LB Sean Spence and S Ray Ray Armstrong both practiced this week and should be available to play on Saturday. QB Jacory Harris injured his thumb during last week’s loss to North Carolina, but practiced as usual on Wednesday and is expected to play on Saturday. The Hurricanes will be without explosive punt returner Thearon Collier, who sprained his ankle in practice earlier this week. Travis Benjamin will likely field the returns in his absence.

Closing Thoughts

A win for the Blue Devils will bring them one win away from bowl eligibility, a feat the program has not accomplished since 1994. A Blue Devil victory would snap the program’s 39-game losing streak against nationally-ranked opponents, along with a five-game losing streak to Miami. The Blue Devils last win against Miami came in 1976.

Last year at Wallace Wade Stadium, Duke held a 24-14 third quarter lead against Miami, before Jacory Harris took over, leading the Hurricanes to a 49-31 victory. In the second half, Duke’s lack of depth and Miami’s superior talent took center stage. Duke has taken the first steps in closing the talent gap, bringing in players like WR Conner Vernon and RB Desmond Scott in the freshman class; however, Miami is a more experienced team this year and will be playing in front of their home crowd.

After two straight losses, it’s a must-win game for Duke, and a great opportunity for the program to upset one of the nation’s top programs. Duke’s Thad Lewis, Conner Vernon, and Donovan Varner all hail from the Miami area, and the trio would like nothing better than to celebrate their homecoming with a victory. At this stage in the program’s development, however, Duke might need help from Miami to win in Land Shark Stadium Saturday. The Hurricanes simply have the superior athletes and an established culture of winning. However, Miami has been prone to penalties and turnovers this season, which could provide the Blue Devils with opportunities to stay in the game and pull off the improbable upset.

BDN previews the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets vs the Duke Blue Devils football game

duke-maryl;and 041Don't miss Duke Football (5-4 overall, 3-2 in the ACC) as they take on #7 ranked Georgia Tech (9-1 overall, 6-1 in the ACC) this Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium. BDN previews this battle for first place in the ACC Coastal Division, which will be televised on ESPN2 at noon ET. Tickets are still available through the Duke Ticket Office at 877-375-DUKE (3853) or www.goduke.com.

Scouting the Blue Devils

Last time out

Duke was defeated by North Carolina in Chapel Hill last Saturday, 19-6. Thad Lewis completed just 16/33 passes for only 113 yards with 1 interception. Austin Kelly led the Duke receiving corps with 4 catches for 22 yards. Duke’s 6 points came on two first half field goals by Nick Maggio, filling in for Will Snyderwine, who was injured in pre-game warm-ups. The Duke offense was dominated by a physical Carolina defense throughout the game, converting just 2/13 on third down.

The Duke defense put up a valiant effort in the loss, holding North Carolina to just 9 points through the first 3 ½ quarters. In fact, a fourth quarter interception by senior CB Leon Wright gave Duke the ball in North Carolina territory with an opportunity to take a fourth quarter lead. However, the Duke offense turned the ball back over to the Tar Heels, who rode the strong legs of Ryan Houston the length of the field to take a 16-6 lead with under 7 minutes to play. Houston finished the day with 164 yards on 37 carries.


The Duke offense is led by senior QB Thad Lewis, who ranks second in the ACC with 269.8 passing yards per game and 15 TDs. Duke’s receiving corps of freshman Conner Vernon, sophomore Donovan Varner, and junior Austin Kelly all rank in the top 10 in the ACC in receiving, along with the big play potential of sophomore Johnny Williams. The Blue Devils have struggled to run the ball, ranking last in the conference.

The Duke defense ranks 4th in overall yards, allowing just 323 total yards and 23.6 points per game with a +3 turnover margin. Duke has struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, registering just 15 sacks on the season. Special teams has been much improved during Coach Ron Middleton’s tenure, including 13/16 in field goals and a perfect 27/27 extra points.

Scouting the Yellow Jackets

Last time out

Georgia Tech held off Wake Forest in overtime at home last Saturday, 30-27. The Yellow Jackets trailed 17-10 at halftime, but rallied in the second half to take a 24-17 fourth quarter lead. The Demon Deacons, led by senior QB Riley Skinner, tied the game with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Devon Brown with just under 5 minutes remaining in regulation. In overtime, the Demon Deacons scored first with a 34-yard field goal. On the ensuing Georgia Tech drive, Coach Paul Johnson elected to go for it on 4th and 1 at the 5 yard line, and was successful with a 2 yard run by QB Josh Nesbitt. Nesbitt ran into the end zone on the next play, giving Georgia Tech the 30-27 victory.

The Georgia Tech triple-option attack ran for 412 yards in the OT victory, led by Jonathan Dwyer’s 189 yards on 23 carries. The Yellow Jacket defense stymied the Demon Deacon rushing game, holding them to just 28 yards on 25 carries. The Demon Deacons were successful moving the ball through the air, completing 26/40 passes for 263 yards.


In just his second year as head coach, Paul Johnson has turned the Yellow Jackets into one of the ACC’s top teams, led by RB Jonathan Dwyer, QB Josh Nesbitt, and WR Demaryius Thomas. Georgia Tech is 9-1 on the year, with key wins coming at home against Clemson, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jacket’s lone loss was a 33-17 defeat at Miami on a Thursday night in September.

Georgia Tech boasts the ACC’s leading offense, averaging 34.7 points per game and 314.9 rushing yards. Despite the emphasis on running the ball in the triple-option offense, WR Demaryius Thomas leads the ACC in receiving yards per game at 86.1. When the Yellow Jackets do look to throw the ball, Thomas is a dangerous weapon. On the defensive side of the ball, the Yellow Jackets rank 5th in rush defense, allowing 126.4 yards per game, but rank 10th in pass defense, allowing 226.7 yards per game and 19 touchdowns through the air.


Coming off a crushing defeat to a physical North Carolina team, the Blue Devils may be as physically and emotionally bruised as they have been all season. The Duke defense will be limited if both DT Vince Oghobaase and leading tackler LB Vincent Rey are unable to play. On offense, QB Thad Lewis, WR Conner Vernon, and WR Donovan Varner are all injured but expected to play. K Will Snyderwine remains questionable with a leg injury suffered last week during pre-game warm-ups in Chapel Hill. With key players nursing injuries on both sides of the ball, Duke’s lack of depth may be exposed on Saturday.

On the other hand, Georgia Tech is relatively healthy, with none of their key playmakers listed on the injury report.

Closing Thoughts

First place in the ACC Coastal Division is on the line this Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium. A win for the Yellow Jackets will clinch a berth in the ACC Championship game December 5 in Tampa, FL. A win for the Blue Devils will bring them one win away from bowl eligibility, a feat the program has not accomplished since 1994.

The Blue Devil defense ranks 7th in the ACC, yielding 139 yards per game. In an early season contest against a similar option-style offense at Army, Duke prevailed with a 35-19 win, giving up 266 yards on the ground (4.6 yards per carry). Duke is a more confident team now than against Army, having won 5 games overall, including 3 conference games. The Duke passing offense will need to get off to a fast start against a suspect Georgia Tech secondary. Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan leads the ACC in sacks with 11.5; if he is able to pressure Thad Lewis, it will be a short day for the Blue Devil offense. The Yellow Jackets will attempt to control the game with their option-style offense; the Blue Devils will need to counter this with well-executed offensive drives and key defensive stands on 3rd downs.

Georgia Tech will be a formidable opponent for Duke on Saturday; Duke fans will need to fill Wallace Wade Stadium to create a winning atmosphere for the football program. If Thad Lewis and his exciting receiving corps can get back on track, and if the defensive can make a few key stands, the Blue Devils are more than capable of pulling off the upset.

Duke defeats Virginia 28-17

DukeDuke utilized a clutch fourth quarter performance to defeat Virginia 28-17, on the road, in Charlottesville, to improve to 5-3 (3-1 ACC) on the season. The victory was the third straight conference victory for the Blue Devils. Duke scored the games final 16 points to comeback from a 17-12 deficit.

Duke dominated first quarter action by limiting the Cavaliers to 1 yard total offense. However, Virginia's defense bent but didn't break by limiting Duke to two field goals. Will Snyderwine kicked a third field goal five seconds into the second quarter to expand Duke's lead to 9-0.

Virginia managed a field goal in the second quarter and then took the second half kickoff and marched 66 yards in eight plays for a touchdown and a 10-9 lead. There were no additional points scored in the third quarter.

After three low scoring quarters, the two teams exploded for 26 points in the final stanza with Duke outscoring Virginia 19-7 for the victory. Thaddeus Lewis threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Conner Vernon and Charlie Hatcher returned a Jameel Sewell fumble seven yards for another score. The fumble was forced by defensive lineman Ayanga Okpokowuruk. Will Snyderwine added his fourth and fifth field goals of the game.

Thaddeus Lewis completed 24-40 passes for 343 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Lewis has now thrown for 9,050 yards in his career and has passed Spence Fisher to move into second place all time behind Ben Bennett.

Donovan Varner (113 yards) and Conner Vernon (103 yards) each had seven receptions to pace seven Duke receivers. Varner and Vernon both recorded over 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Leon Wright recorded his fourth interception of the season, while Vincent Rey led the team with 10 tackles. Jeremy Ringfield and Vince Oghobaase each recorded a sack.