Although Duke’s 42-24 loss to Georgia Tech eliminated them from the ACC Coastal Division race, storylines were aplenty in the Blue Devils’ contest against the Yellow Jackets.
Duke wide receiver Conner Vernon became the ACC’s all-time leader in receiving yards with a 5-yard reception in the fourth quarter, eclipsing the mark of 3,517 yards set by Florida State’s Peter Warrick. Vernon also broke the ACC’s all-time record for most consecutive games with at least one reception, recording a catch in his 46th-consecutive game with a grab on the game’s first drive.
“My name as well as Duke’s name is at the top of the record books, and that’s great for the program and great for the University,” Vernon said. “I couldn’t be happier to be here.”
Saturday also marked the end of redshirt senior Lee Butler’s college football career. Butler was injured following a 16-yard kickoff return in the second quarter and left the game with a knee injury. Although Butler’s injury did not appear serious at the time, head coach David Cutcliffe revealed in his postgame press conference that Butler would likely require surgery. An emotional Cutcliffe sounded off on the cornerback’s five-year career at Duke.
“When I went in after the ballgame to talk with our squad the first thing I talked about was Lee Butler,” Cutcliffe said. “He has just been a warrior for us for five years. He’s an extraordinary young man.”
After Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley was fired Sunday afternoon, Cutcliffe quickly put rumors of accepting another coaching job this offseason to rest in his weekly postgame teleconference, when the head coach announced he intends to return for a sixth season at Duke. Cutcliffe was expected to be heavily courted by Knoxville, where he spent 16 years as an assistant from 1982-1998, but the leading candidate for ACC Coach of the Year was adamant that Duke is where he plans to stay.
“I can tell you right now that I’m going to be coaching at Duke next year,” Cutcliffe said. “I’m very happy here. This is where I’m going to be. I can put that to rest because that is a fact.”