DURHAM, N.C.—Duke quarterback Daniel Jones went 18-of-26 for 177 yards and accounted for three touchdowns, while senior Shaun Wilson amassed 152 all-purpose yards and also was responsible for three touchdowns to lead the Blue Devils to a 43-20 victory over Georgia Tech on Senior Day at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium.
Brittain Brown paced Duke, which improves to 5-6 and stops a six-game losing streak, with 116 yards on the ground and one touchdown. The 116 yards were five shy of passing his career-high of 120 established against N.C. Central in the season opener. It was his second career 100-yard rushing game overall.
Defensively, Duke was solid overall and exceptional in the second half. The Blue Devils held the Yellow Jackets to just five yards of offense in the third period and 83 in the final two periods overall. Joe Giles-Harris led the defensive effort with 14 tackles, while Marquis Waters had nine stops.
Duke compiled 500 yards of offense, including 319 on the ground, and outgained the Yellow Jackets 288-83 in the final two quarters.
The first half was a seesaw affair with the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets trading points and heading into halftime all square at 20-20. Georgia Tech scored three touchdowns, which included a missed extra point, while Duke notched two touchdowns and two field goals to reach 20 points.
The Yellow Jackets dominated time of possession 19:03 to Duke’s 10:57, but it was key defensive plays for the Blue Devils that turned the tide in the second quarter and helped the squad rally for the 20-20 score after two quarters.
The Yellow Jackets scored touchdowns on their opening two drives, going 75 yards in 12 plays and 73 yards in six plays, respectively, for a 14-3 lead early in the second quarter.
The Blue Devils, meanwhile, settled for a field goal on their opening drive after making their way to the Georgia Tech 1-yard line. Wilson highlighted the drive with a 39-yard rush and added another yard to come up just short of the end zone before Georgia Tech forced a Jones fumble to make it 3rd-and-goal from the 12-yard line.
Duke found the end zone on its second drive, responding to the Georgia Tech score, with a six-play 73-yard touchdown drive capped by an 11-yard pass from Jones to Wilson for six. Brown was outstanding on the ground on the drive, rushing for 57 yards to put the Blue Devils in scoring position.
The Blue Devils turned defense into offense for their final two scores as Victor Dimukeje intercepted a TaQuon Marshall pass to set up a Duke field goal, cutting the deficit to 14-6 midway through the second period. The interception was the first of the rookie’s career as he finished with two solo tackles and a quarterback hurry.
Redshirt senior Mike Ramsay made the big special teams play late in the third quarter, blocking Georgia Tech’s extra point attempt. Dimukeje picked the ball out of the air and ran to Duke’s 28-yard line to set up the ensuing 72-yard scoring drive. Jones accounted for 64 of the 72 yards, while Brown capped the drive with a 2-yard dash into the end zone to tie the game.
The Blue Devils grabbed their first lead of the game on the opening possession of the third quarter. The nine-play drive featured a good balance of rushing from Wilson and throwing from Jones. Wilson ran for
23 yards and caught the 16-yard strike from Jones for the score. Jones went 4-of-5 for 46 yards through the air and added six more yards with his legs to help the Blue Devils go in front.
Duke, after driving to the Georgia Tech 4-yard line, got knocked back on consecutive drives, but was still able to extend its lead to 30-20 on a 25-yard kick from Parker. Brown accounted for 42 of the yards on the 64-yard drive.
The Blue Devil defense stood tall and the offense continued to roll in the fourth quarter. Duke added seven more points to its lead early in the fourth when Wilson found Daniel Helm in the end zone on a jump pass from the 4-yard line, pushing Duke’s lead to 36-20.
Jones, the beneficiary of Duke’s defense forcing a turnover on downs, tacked on a touchdown in the fourth quarter to seal the victory with a 32-yard rush up the middle into the end zone for a 43-20 lead.
Duke closes the regular season at Wake Forest next Saturday, Nov. 25. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m., in Winston-Salem, N.C.