For the first time since 1976, the Duke football team beat number 23 Miami on Saturday afternoon at Wallace Wade Stadium 48-30 on Senior Day. It was the Blue Devils second win against a ranked opponent this season. The win also gave the Duke students a chance to storm the field for the first time in a LONG time.
The Blue Devils are now 8-2, 4-2 in the ACC. They also lead the Coastal Division and control their own destiny for a shot in the ACC Championship to face Florida State (8-0) or Clemson (7-1). The Hurricanes have now lost three in a row and should drop out of the top 25.
Will Duke see their name in the top 25 now?
Down 17-7, I walked away from the game because I really did not want to watch a bad game. The Duke defense was giving up long rushes and I kept thinking “this is not the time for the defense to fall apart.”
Then the Duke offense went to work in the second quarter. Brandon Connette threw a 22 yard touchdown to Shaquille Powell to cut the deficit to 17-14. After a Miami field goal, Connette ran in his second TD of the day to give Duke the 21-20 lead with 2:01 to go before halftime.
In the third quarter, the two teams exchanged touchdowns, as Duke clung to a 28-27 lead. But with 5:04 to go in the third quarter, Miami took the 30-27 lead on another field goal. Ross Martin would hit from 48 yards to give Duke the 31-30 lead that they would not relinquish. Martin would add another field goal with 1:04 to go in the game.
Duke was 2-for-2 on fourth downs, none bigger than fourth-and-one on the Miami 33 yard line. Powell ran the ball for the 33 yard touchdown to give Duke the 45-30 lead and put the game away with 6:50 to go.
Connette had five touchdowns in the game and rushed for 37 yards. He was also 5-for-9 for 81 yards. Fellow quarterback Anthony Boone was 11-for-14 for 104 yards.
Josh Snead led all rushers with 138 yards on just nine carries. Jela Duncan had 11 carries for 96 yards. As a team, the Blue Devils rushed for 358 yards, well above Miami’s 186 yards.
Duke will now need to win their final two games of the regular season on the road against rivals Wake Forest (next Saturday) and North Carolina on November 30th.