DURHAM, N.C. – Senior running back Shaun Wilson turned in two touchdown runs of 50 or more yards as the Blue Devils earned a 34-20 Homecoming victory over Baylor Saturday at Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke heads into ACC play at 3-0, having defeated 21 of its last 27 non-conference opponents.
Wilson totaled 176 yards on the ground and another 32 in the air to spearhead the Blue Devils’ offensive attack, while the defensive unit held the Bears to 1-for-12 on third downs and recorded three interceptions on the day.
Leading 24-20 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Duke received a timely pick-six from junior linebacker Ben Humphreys, who tallied his second career interception on the scoring play. The defense forced a three-and-out on Baylor’s next possession and followed that with a Drew Jordan fumble recovery on another failed third down conversion by the Bears. Austin Parker booted a final 26-yard field goal to seal the game.
The visitors put points on the board early, capitalizing on a Duke fumble with a 44-yard touchdown pass from Zach Smith to Denzel Mims for a 7-0 advantage. The Blue Devils responded with a quick scoring drive, capped by a 50-yard Wilson dash to the end zone. The rush was Wilson’s fifth of 50 or more yards for his career, establishing a program record.
The game remained tied until redshirt freshman running back Brittain Brown took off on a 34-yard touchdown run that put Duke in front 39 seconds into the second quarter. Despite a Joe Giles-Harris interception later in the frame, the 14-7 score would hold through the end of the half.
Duke’s defense opened the third quarter by forcing a turnover on downs, which set up Wilson’s second touchdown run of the game. The senior running back needed just 10 seconds to complete the drive, taking the ball 65 yards down the field. However, the Bears pulled back within a touchdown less than a minute later, when Smith found Chris Platt for 73 yards. That trimmed the Blue Devils’ lead to 21-14 with 11:30 to play in the quarter.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Daniel Jones helped engineer an 11-play, 59-yard drive that resulted in a Parker 45-yard field goal before Baylor countered with Smith’s third touchdown pass of the day. The Bears missed the extra point, making the score 24-20 entering the final quarter.
Junior safety Jeremy McDuffie joined Giles-Harris and Humphreys in registering interceptions, with Giles-Harris also carding a team-high 12 tackles in the win.
Jones went 20-for-35 for the contest with 193 yards, while the offense as a whole finished with 439 yards.
Up next, the Blue Devils face North Carolina in their ACC opener Saturday, Sept. 23 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The 3:30 p.m. contest will be broadcast on ESPNU.