DURHAM, N.C. - Freshman quarterback Thomas Sirk completed 11-of-13 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns while sophomore running back Eric Adams rushed 31 times for 107 yards to lead the White team to a 38-24 victory over the Blue team in Duke's annual Spring Game presented by PNC on Saturday afternoon at a sun-splashed Wallace Wade Stadium.
Offensive MVP honors went to Blue team quarterback Brandon Connette, who completed four-of-seven passes for 83 yards and one touchdown while rushing six times for 54 yards and another score. White squad cornerback Ross Cockrell received Defensive MVP accolades after totaling four tackles, one caused fumble, two pass break-ups and one quarterback pressure.
Sirk split time engineering the White offense with fellow quarterback Sean Schroeder, who hit on nine-of-15 throws including a three-yard touchdown pass to wideout Nick Hill. Schroeder added 27 yards rushing on seven carries while Sirk rushed three times for 21 yards. Adams, who was named the recipient of the Duke Torch Award, was the workhorse of the afternoon with his 31 rushing attempts, and added three receptions for 32 yards.
The White squad got on the board at the 5:14 mark in the first quarter as Schroeder tossed the three-yard strike to Hill, capping a 17-play scoring drive. Less than a minute later, the White team added to its lead as safety Jordon Byas intercepted a Sean Renfree pass and returned it 32 yards for an early 14-0 advantage.
The second quarter of action saw the White team continue its offensive burst. Sirk found Hill for a 15-yard touchdown reception. After a forced punt by the Blue squad, Jacques Bristow intercepted a Sirk pass and returned it 24 yards to set up a 30-yard touchdown run by Connette, cutting the lead to 21-7 with 7:45 remaining in the half. Kicking for the Blue squad, Will Monday booted a 25-yard field goal to round out the half with the While team leading, 21-10, at the break.
On the second drive of the third quarter, Blue running back Josh Snead broke free for an 85-yard dash, but was stripped of the ball by Cockrell at the goal line for a touchback. The White squad's offense capitalized on the opportunity, marching 80 yards for a 28-yard touchdown pass from Sirk to wide receiver Brandon Watkins to extend its lead to 28-10 with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
The Blue team responded with quarterback Anthony Boone leading the offensive unit on a scoring drive that included a 36-yard completion from Connette to wideout Jamison Crowder on a double pass. Boone added a 33-yard completion to wide receiver Tyree Watkins and Snead punched in a one-yard touchdown to narrow the deficit to 28-17. White team kicker Jack Willoughby connected on a 32-yard field goal to end the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Snead registered his second touchdown of the day on a 27-yard pass from Connette. The White squad made a late march into the red zone but was stopped when safety Jeremy Cash blocked a 26-yard field goal attempt by Willoughby. Blue's final chance was thwarted when linebacker Kyler Brown sealed the 38-24 victory with a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown.
For the Blue team, Renfree finished 10-of-23 through the air for 104 yards while Connette was four-of-seven for 83 yards and one touchdown. Snead finished with 90 yards on four carries while Tyree Watkins caught a team-high five passes for 78 yards. The White squad's receiving unit was paced by Brandon Watkins (7-75) and Hill (6-49).
Blue team linebacker Britton Grier was credited with a game-high 13 tackles including two for loss.
Cutcliffe also announced the program's award winners for spring practice award winners with Connette (co-Most Improved Offensive Player), Blair Holliday (co-Most Improved Offensive Player), Jamal Bruce (co-Most Improved Defensive Player), Anthony Young-Wiseman (co-Most Improved Defensive Player), Adams (Blue Devil Heart Award), Chris Hoover (Blue Devil Heart Award), and Jack Wise (Blue Devil Heart Award) claiming honors.
Duke opens the 2012 season at home on September 1 against FIU. Season tickets are available online at GoDuke.com or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 1-877-631-3853.
White 38, Blue
1st - 5:14 - White - Nick Hill 3 pass from Sean Schroeder (Jack Willoughby kick)
1st - 4:18 - White - Jordon Byas 32 interception return (Jack Willoughby kick)
2nd - 11:29 - White - Nick Hill 15 pass from Thomas Sirk (Jack Willoughby kick)
2nd - 7:45 - Blue - Brandon Connette 30 run (Will Monday kick)
2nd - 0:33 - Blue - Will Monday 25 FG
3rd - 6:17 - White - Brandon Watkins 28 pass from Thomas Sirk (Jack Willoughby kick)
3rd - 3:50 - Blue - Josh Snead 1 run (Will Monday kick)
3rd - 1:18 - White - Jack Willoughby 32 FG
4th - 6:45 - Blue - Josh Snead 27 pass from Brandon Connette (Will Monday kick)
4th - 0:05 - White - Kyler Brown 34 interception return (Jack Willoughby kick)
WHITE: Eric Adams 31-107, Sean Schroeder 7-27, Thomas Sirk 3-21, Nick Hill 1-3
BLUE: Josh Snead 4-90, Brandon Connette 6-54, Patrick Kurunwune 5-28, Juwan Thompson 5-27, Tyree Watkins 1-15, Anthony Boone 3-11
WHITE: Thomas Sirk 11-13-1-90, Sean Schroeder 9-15-0-85
BLUE: Sean Renfree 10-24-2-104, Brandon Connette 4-7-0-83, Anthony Boone 3-9-0-50
WHITE: Brandon Watkins 7-75, Nick Hill 6-49, Eric Adams 3-32, Thomas Sirk 3-15, Connor Peters 1-4
BLUE: Tyree Watkins 5-78, Jamison Crowder 3-53, David Reeves 3-49, Josh Snead 2-30, Juwan Thompson 2-18, Blair Holliday 1-11, Patrick Kurunwune 1-(-2)
WHITE: Spencer Rogers 5-184-36.8
BLUE: Will Monday 2-75-37.5
WHITE: Jack Willoughby 32 (good); 26 (blocked)
BLUE: Will Monday 25 (good)
WHITE: Brandon Braxton 5, Chris Tavarez 5, David Helton 4, Kyler Brown 4, Ross Cockrell 4, Jamal Wallace 3, Jordon Byas 3, Walt Canty 3, Tony Foster 3, Anthony Young-Wiseman 3, Taylor Sowell 2, C.J. France 2, Sydney Sarmiento 1, Dezmond Johnson 1, Jonathan Woodruff 1, Austin Gamble 1, Nick Sink 1, Lee Butler 1, Jamal Bruce 1
BLUE: Britton Grier 13, Chris Hoover 11, Tim Burton 10, Jeremy Cash 10, Sam Marshall 10, Garrett Rider 6, Mario Sanders 6, Lucas Fisher 5, Jacques Bristow 4, Jared Boyd 1, Robert Shofner 1, Will Boeckman 1,
WHITE: Jordon Byas 1, Kyler Brown 1, David Helton 1
BLUE: Britton Grier 2, Sam Marshall 1, Lucas Fisher 1, Mario Sanders 1
WHITE: Jamal Wallace 1
BLUE: Sam Marshall 1
WHITE: Ross Cockrell 2, Sydney Sarmiento 1, Jordon Byas 1
WHITE: Brandon Braxton 1, Jamal Wallace 1, Ross Cockrell 1, David Helton 1
BLUE: Lucas Fisher 1, Mario Sanders 1
WHITE: Ross Cockrell 1, Chris Tavarez 1
BLUE: Will Boeckman 1
WHITE: Chris Tavarez 1
WHITE: Jordon Byas 1, Kyler Brown 1
BLUE: Jacques Bristow 1
BLUE: Jeremy Cash 1