Check back later tonight for a full recap of Duke’s season opening 46-26 win against Florida International.
4th quarter: FIU broke its 32-minute scoreless streak with under three minutes left in the game, punching it in for a score on fourth down from the 1-yard line. Kyler Brown intercepted the two-point conversion attempt, though, and ran it back 100-yards for a touchdown to give Duke a 46-20 lead with 1:29 remaining. The Golden Panthers managed to recover their onside kick and score another touchdown with less than 30 seconds remaining, but the Blue Devils held on for the 46-26 win.
3rd quarter: After a Conner Vernon 28-yard touchdown catch gave Duke a 44-14 lead on Duke’s opening drive, neither team was able to put any points on the board. Vernon has nine catches for 177 yards with the fourth quarter still to come.
Kedrick Rhodes continued carrying the offensive load for FIU, breaking the 200 total-yard barrier, though it was not enough to break the Golden Panthers’ scoring drought. Wayne Times has been FIU’s biggest downfield threat, racking up 101 receiving yards on eight catches.
2nd quarter: The Blue Devils came out in the second 15 minutes on fire, scoring two touchdowns in under three minutes, and never let up. On the first play of the quarter, Connette hit tight end David Reeves in the end zone for an 8-yard score. After a fruitless FIU possession, Renfree hit Vernon for the third time, finding him for a 49-yard gain across the middle. Josh Snead was in the end zone just two plays later, scoring on a 19-yard run.
After the two teams traded stalled possessions, Rhodes broke off another big run, gaining 34 yards to put the Golden Panthers across midfield. He carried the ball three more times before Darian Mallary scored on a 10-yard run up the middle, pulling FIU within six.
Duke responded quickly, though, as Renfree found Jamison Crowder over the middle for a 60-yard touchdown to give the Blue Devils a 27-13 lead. Duke ended up with the ball again just seconds later after August Campbell recovered a Golden Panther fumble on the FIU 25. Ross Martin’s 34-yard field goal put the Blue Devils ahead by 16.
The Golden Panthers had a chance to cut their deficit to 13 with a 30-yard field goal as the half came to a close, but Austin Gamble blocked the attempt and Ross Cockrell returned the loose ball 75 yards for a score to give Duke a 37-14 lead.
1st quarter: It took just two plays and 43 seconds for Florida International to find the end zone Saturday night. After a screen pass netted nothing on the first play from scrimmage, Jake Medlock found Kedrick Rhodes on a short route over the middle, and Rhodes managed to outrun the rest of the defense down the field for a 67-yard score. Rhodes torched Duke throughout the first quarter, racking up 99 of FIU’s 133 total yards.
Duke took advantage of a muffed punt and a key FIU penalty to march down the field and score on its opening drive. The Blue Devils often featured Brandon Connette in the backfield with Sean Renfree, showing the former backup quarterback will still see a lot of playing time despite not having a set position.
FIU nearly countered with another score before the quarter ended behind a set of runs by Rhodes, but the Blue Devils came up with a major stop on fourth down at their own 5-yard line to keep the score knotted at seven.
The Blue Devils will start the second quarter on the FIU 6-yard line after a 46-yard catch down the left sideline by Conner Vernon, who is now one of just six ACC receivers to reach the 200-catch milestone.