Duke overcomes turnovers, beats Syracuse 38-24
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Duke trainer David Cutcliffe did what he expected after that elusive first win - he danced with his team in a locker room with joy.
Chase Brice threw two touchdowns, Mataeo Durant rushed for 163 yards and two more points, and Deon Jackson rushed for a career high of 169 yards as Duke held 38-24 against Syracuse on Saturday.
Duke (1-4, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) won despite three lost fiddles and an interception, but Syracuse (1-3, 1-3) only converted the mistakes into seven points. The Blue Devils started the game with 15 sales, the most in the nation, while Syracuse finished second with 10 sales nationwide.
"I think we've all been waiting for this moment," said Cucliffe afterwards. “I cannot tell you the joy in my heart. There was a lot of emotion in this locker room. It is a difficult time. It's tough. It's a pandemic. Things are not going well, but no one has jumped ships. "
That day, all the mistakes didn't matter to the Blue Devils, who used the Jackson and Durant backfield tandem to wreak considerable havoc while the Syracuse offense stuttered against Duke's imposing frontline. Syracuse made it only 28 yards to rush to Dukes 363.
Duke's 645 yards of total insult is a high under Cutcliffe.
Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito never found a rhythm that repeatedly failed on long throws and couldn't take advantage of any of the sales. He finished the 13-of-26 pass for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He was injured when he was released for the fifth time early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Rex Culpepper.
"The difference today, thank goodness, is that we won the fourth quarter and second half for the first time," said Cutcliffe. We won third place (12 of 17) and physically dominated the scrimmage line. "
Duke came in with two touchdowns from behind late in the second quarter, taking a 24-14 lead at halftime. Durant's 15-yard run and Brice's 52-yard pass to Jarrett Garner by a minute drained the Orange of some energy after a big defensive game in the first minute of the quarter.
Brice lost the ball when it was hit from behind by Cam Jonas and Orange linebacker Geoff Cantin-Arku. He picked it up and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown and a 14-10 Orange lead.
Brice, who finished 22 of 38 for 270 yards, a yard away from his career high, left the game for a streak and then returned to lead the Blue Devils to victory.
"I thought I had a lot of emotions, nerves," said Brice. "When I had to go back in, I settled down again."
Syracuse finished 27-21 in the third game when DeVito hit Luke Benson on the left for a 53-yard score, but the expected momentum never materialized.
"We just have to pick them up (the younger players) and make sure they know you can learn from everything," said Benson. "You have to learn from this loss and move on to the next week."
Charlie Ham added his third field goal, a 21-yarder, late in the third for a 30-21 lead and Andre Szmyt responded with a 48-yarder for the Orange with just over 10 minutes in the fourth. Durant sealed it with a 3-yard run too late.
Duke took the opening start and quickly marched into the field. He scored one goal in seven games, which was limited by Brice's neat 26-yard throw against Jalon Calhoun after an intersection. Jackson tore down a 20-yard run at the start of the drive to set the tone for the game of the Blue Devils, who repeatedly made big wins on the spot in the first half.
"We feel like we can run on any team we play against," said Jackson, who ran a 50-yard run. "We all came in with a determined attitude that we would be physical and that it would be their throats." . ”
Syracuse hit back in two games when DeVito scored Taj Harris on the right for a 79-yard touchdown.
Last year Syracuse rushed to a 49-6 win at Duke for 286 yards. That day, the floor game belonged to Duke, who limited Syracuse to 1.2 yards per carry and only 11 first downs.
"It's a great feeling. We were close," said Brice, whose one brilliant moment before Saturday led Clemson to a comeback win over Orange two years ago after Trevor Lawrence was injured. "I thought we got last Clicked week and this week we were done. "
Syracuse had a reunion a week after their first win of the season 37:20 against Georgia Tech in their first game at the renovated Carrier Dome.
Duke: The Blue Devils have finally shown that they can win in spite of mistakes, but the three fumbles they lost and an interception on Saturday show that this is still a problem. Jackson and Durant's backfield tandem creates problems for opponents.
Syracuse: The Orange finally found the missing link in the running game of the previous game with freshman Sean Tucker, who scored 112 yards and two goals against Georgia Tech two weeks ago but wasn't a factor against Duke. The orange offense needs a better balance. Not being able to take advantage of the sales condemned them.
Duke is in North Carolina next Saturday.
Syracuse continues its homestand of four games with a game against Liberty next Saturday.
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