Brandon Connette completed 11-of-16 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns to lead Blue past White, 24-14, in Duke’s annual Spring Game held Saturday afternoon at sun-splashed Wallace Wade Stadium.DURHAM, N.C. – Quarterback
“Today you saw what spring practice has been – continued momentum,” said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. “There were a lot of positives on both sides of the ball, on both the Blue and White units.”
With the Blue squad nursing a 17-14 lead late in the fourth period and facing 4th-and-1, running back Shaquille Powell sealed the victory by scampering 36 yards for a touchdown. The play was reminiscent of Powell’s 33-yard scoring gallop on 4th-and-1 against Miami – a pivotal snap which gave the Blue Devils a 45-30 lead over the Hurricanes with 6:50 left in the fourth period. Duke would go on to win the game, 48-30.
Connette hooked up with Ryan Smith (10 yards) and Max McCaffrey (37 yards) for scoring tosses. Smith caught a game-high five passes for 26 yards while McCaffrey had four receptions for 68 yards. Powell finished with game-best 75 yards on eight rushing attempts.
“As an offense, we’ve grown a lot,” Connette said. “Today some young players showed spurts of being really good players.”
The White unit was led by quarterback Thomas Sirk, who hit on 12-of-28 throws for 83 yards while rushing 19 times for 30 yards and two touchdowns. His eight-yard touchdown run with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter pulled the White squad to within three points before Powell’s scoring run provided the final margin. Running back Joseph Ajeigbe, who rushed for a White-best 59 yards on 10 carries, was Sirk’s favorite target with four catches for 34 yards.
Defensively, the Blue team was led by safety Corbin McCarthy’s eight tackles while ends Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo and Dezmond Johnson registered two sacks apiece. Cornerback Evrett Edwards and linebacker Nick Hill had eight stops each for the White unit while defensive tackle Mike Ramsay logged four tackles, one sack and one caused fumble.
Also on Saturday, Cutcliffe announced the program’s award winners for spring practice: Most Improved Offense – Terrence Alls and Casey Blaser; Most Improved Defense – Chris Holmes and Kyler Brown; Blue Devil Heart Award – Rob Collins and Mackenzie Sovereign.
The Blue Devils will open the 2014 season at home against Elon on Saturday, August 30. Duke season tickets may be purchased online at GoDuke.com/tickets or by calling the Duke Athletic Ticket Office at 919-681-BLUE.