Duke Beats NC A&T to Stay Undefeated 3 - 0
Duke got the job done Saturday night beating NC A&T by a score of 49 - 20 to remain undefeated at 3 - 0 in Mike Elko's first season as head coach. Duke started off strong building a 14 - 0 lead after receiving touchdowns from Nicky Dalmolin and Jordan Moore. Next the Duke defense put points on the scoreboard when Aeneas Peebles sacked A&T's quarterback for the fumble in which DeWayne Carter picked up and rushed for 35 yards to give another touchdown and bring the score up to 21-0. By halftime the score was 28-6. Duke put their foot back on the gas to start the second half scoring on their first two drives to move the score up to 42-6. Duke finished the game beating NC A&T 49-20 to remain undefeated at 3-0.
Here are some notables from Duke Sports Information below..
Saturday's game marked the third consecutive in which Duke scored a touchdown on its opening drive. The Blue Devils are now 13-1 since 2017 when that happens.
Duke has outscored its opponent 45-0 in opening quarter.
The Blue Devils' seven touchdowns were the most since 2021 when they scored seven against Kansas.
Leonard started the game 11-of-11 passing for 155 yards with two touchdowns.
Leonard registered his first career multi-score game after leading Duke's rushing attack with 66 yards on five carries with two touchdowns.
Moore has scored a receiving touchdown in each of Duke's opening three games.
Peebles tallied his first sack of the year and now has three in his Blue Devil tenure.
Carter earned his first career fumble recovery and ran it back 35 yards for his first career score.
Carter's touchdown marked Duke's first defensive score of the year and first since 2018 against Baylor.
Rookie Vincent Anthony Jr. recorded his first career fumble recovery during the third quarter.
Redshirt senior Jaylen Coleman found the end zone for the third-straight game.
Sophomore Sahmir Hagans led the wide receivers with 48 yards on two receptions.
Freshman Eric Weatherly tallied his first score in his first collegiate game.
Redshirt freshman Nick Morris Jr. led the Blue Devils in tackles with seven.
Sophomore Brandon Johnson added six tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.
Mike Elko, Brandon Johnson, and Riley Leonard talked with the media after the game. Here are some post game quotes per Duke Sports Information.
“Proud of our guys. I thought we came out and handled this the right way. We talked to them all week about playing to our standard and our level, and that is how we wanted to start and play the game. I thought we got a little too comfortable in the second quarter ... we really challenged them at halftime to come out of the locker room and finish this thing the right way. I thought we did that. I thought we started the third quarter really well. We established the run game in the second half much better than we did in the first half, and we were able to put it away in the third quarter, and then that gave us the opportunity to really get a lot of guys into the game at the end. [I’m] really excited that we could give some guys some opportunities. It was really cool to see Henry Belin get out there and play a little bit, Eric Weatherly to get his first college touchdown ... really cool. We got West Williams and Kenzy Paul some reps on defense. It was just good to get some guys out there that haven’t gotten those opportunities, and I’m so proud of the way we handled it. It was obviously a game that was going to be
about us, our standard and how we played and we were able to do that. Now it is on to the next.”
On preparations to come out with a fast start
“I don’t know if it is mentality the thing we focus the most on. We talk about controlling ourselves and how we come out of the locker room and not come out of the locker room trying to figure out what the game level is going to be like. We just to come out of the locker room playing at a standard that meetsus. We talk about it all week ... it’s something that is really important to us and obviously for the last three games we have been able to come out and start that way.”
On Riley Leonard’s growth the last three games
“I thought he handled the game well tonight. I think he managed it well. He made some throws early. We knew we were going to have to make some throws to loosen the box, so him being 10-for-11 at halftime was good. I continue to tell you guys he can make plays with his feet and he continues to do that. He converted a third down early for us which was big and obviously the big touchdown and his run in the third quarter was very important for us. I just think he continues to get more comfortable. Every time he goes out there and plays the game, he gets more and more comfortable and obviously we are going to need that moving forward.”
On the direction of the Duke football program
“Hopefully in a good direction. We don't want to overstate it. You know, we are very humble in this building. We know we have a lot of work to do to get this thing ultimately where we want it to go. We certainly appreciate the buzz that is out there about what we are doing. But, we know we are a work in progress and we’re a group that has got to continue to work and continue to grind everyday to get better. So, happy with the way we are coming out mentality wise. I think you see it all around the country, it’s really hard to get 18-20 year olds to be consistent. It is a hard thing and credit to our guys as they continue to come out and they work really hard all week in practice ... they prepare the right way. I think our walk throughs in the hotel going into the game are really good and we have been able to come out and start really fast. That is obviously something that we want to continue to do, and something that
we are really proud of to this point."
On what’s working for the offense
“I really think it’s our preparation and our coaching staff. Coming into every week, we know exactly what the defense is going to give us. From the first play of the game, we had a perfect play drawn up and it’s our job to go out there and execute it, but it’s pretty easy when you practice it multiple times every week.”
On his rushing ability
“Being a dual threat quarterback is something I pride myself on. A lot of people don’t know that I can get outside the pocket but being able to have some confidence in myself in that aspect. I think moving forward, I can definitely utilize that a little more, and tonight I definitely showcased that and I’m just looking forward to doing that for the rest of the season.”
On what fast starts do for the defense
“[It] definitely helps the defense when the offense gets off to a good start. I’d say we feed off of it every single time they start hot. The defense
starts hot as well.”
On what they learned from the Northwestern game
“Being a strong team that can finish in the fourth quarter. At halftime we said we had to come out, finish and be strong in the fourth and we came
out strong after the half.”
Duke now heads to Lawerence, Kansas for a game Saturday September 24th against Kanas in what will be a battle between two undefeated teams. Currently Vegas and online sports books have the spread in Kansas favor anywhere from -8.5 to -7.5, to -9. I will be curious to see if and how this line moves throughout the week. The Blue Bloods battle will shift to football this week as both Duke and Kansas hope to remain undefeated and get the win to move to 4-0 and get even closer to the 6 wins mark and bowl eligibility.