Blog: Duke eases past Elon in season opener, 52-13
Posted August 29
Updated August 30
DURHAM, N.C. — FINAL: Duke 52, Elon 13: Anthony Boone had four touchdown passes and Duke had no trouble with Elon in the season opener at Wallace Wade Stadium as they beat Elon 52-13. Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney caught two touchdowns apiece, finishing with 93 and 45 receiving yards, respectively
7:16 4th: Duke 52, Elon 13: Getting some clean-up time work in replace of Anthony Boone, Thomas Sirk gets his second rushing touchdown of the game, going in from 1-yard out.
The drive was extended after Sirk used his legs to convert a fourth-and-short from the six. Duke is 4-for-4 on fourth down tonight.
10:23 4th: Duke 45, Elon 13: Elon's B.J. Barnett found the endzone, capping off a 8-play, 75-yard drive. The score was set up by a 34-yard pass play from Mike Quinn to Kierre Brown that set the Phoenix up with a goal-to-go.
13:21 4th: Duke 45, Elon 6: Backup quarterback Thomas Sirk found the endzone from 15 yards out on the option keeper up the middle and got a little help from his teammates to get him over the goaline as this game is well in hand.
End 3rd: Duke 38, Elon 6: Duke has replaced Anthony Boone at quarterback with Thomas Sirk as the Blue Devils are in full control. Boone's final line: 22-for-33, 247 yards and 4 TDs.
4:33 3rd: Duke 38, Elon 6: Ross Martin, who is already 5-for-5 on PATs today, was perfect from 49 yards to extend the Duke lead to 38-6 late in the third quarter.
11:42 3rd: Duke 35, Elon 6: Anthony Boon picked up his fourth touchdown pass of the game on the opening drive of the second half as he connected with Jamison Crowder for the second time tonight.
Boone has hit just five different recivers, but has four TD passes -- 2 each to Crowder and Blakeney.
HALF: Duke 28, Elon 6: At half, Duke is out-gaining Elon 287-165 and quarterback Anthony Boone has three passing touchdowns as the Blue Devils lead 28-6.
Josh Snead and Shaq Powell have combined for 117 yards on 19 carries with Powell finding the endzone once.
1:01 2nd: Duke 28, Elon 6: The Boone-to-Blakeney connection struck for the second time today, this time from 19 yards, and the Blue Devils lead has again expanded.
Blakeney, who is now at 41 yards with two scores, made a spin move to break a tackle allowing him to find the endzone on the second score.
Duke is approaching 300 first half yards as they are at 287.
4:24 2nd: Duke 21, Elon 6: Elon was able to move the ball 51 yards in 11 plays, but again had to settle for a field goal as Duke continues to lead 21-6 late in the first half.
8:08 2nd: Duke 21, Elon 3: Shaq Powell found the endzone fron 2 yards out to punctuate a 12-play-80 yard scoring drive for Duke.
The Blue Devils now own a 208-90 advantage in offensive yards.
14:39 2nd: Duke 14, Elon 3: Duke needed just one play on their opening drive of the second quarter as Anthony Boone hit a wide-open Jamison Crowder for a 46-yard touchdown.
Boone now has 87 yards on 7-of-10 passing.
End of 1: Duke 7, Elon 3: Duke out-gained Elon 82-57 in the first quarter of the season and has a 7-3 lead to show for it.
3:06 1st: Duke 7, Elon 3: Responding to a Duke touchdown drive, Elon posted a 13-play, 61 yard drive of their own that resulted in a field goal to bring the tally to 7-3.
Elon field goal kicker John Gallagher was true from 36 yards on his attempt.
8:55 1st: Duke 7, Elon 0: After forcing a 3-and-out, Duke's offense went to work, producing an 11-play, 61-yard touchdown drive. Anthony Boone, who was 4-for-5 on the drive, found Issac Blakeney in the corner of the endzone from four yards out for the score.
Blakeney caught two passes for 22 yards on the drive.
15:00 1st: Duke vs. Elon: Duke won the toss and deferred. They will kick off to open the season.
PREGAME: Duke spent the past few years climbing to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Coastal Division.
Now the challenge is to stay there - and it begins Saturday night (6 p.m., ESPN3) when the Blue Devils open a pivotal follow-up season against Elon of the Championship Subdivision.
Duke rose from perennial doormat to two-time bowl team in 2012 and '13, reaching its first ACC title game last year.
The Blue Devils don't want to be seen as two-year wonders.
"Two years ago, they said, we went 6-6 - it's a fluke," running back Josh Snead said. "So last year, we go 10-4. Is that a fluke? It's something you have to prove every year."
Making quick work of the rebuilding Phoenix would be a good start.
Elon, which is coming off a 2-10 season, has both a new coach and a new conference. The Phoenix brought back Rich Skrosky, a first-time head coach who was an assistant here from 2006-10, to lead the program into the Colonial Athletic Association.
"We're definitely a work in progress," Skrosky said. "There's a reason that we're here, and we had a tough year last year ... and the personnel and the overall numbers (aren't) where we need (them) to be. ... I'm very confident that each and every day, we're headed in the right direction."
That may not be enough to keep the Phoenix competitive with a Duke team that is aiming for its unprecedented third straight bowl berth despite a rash of injuries and exits at key spots.
Among the players lost for the year are linebacker Kelby Brown and tight end Braxton Deaver, who both tore knee ligaments.
"Although it's emotional and you're hurt, you don't miss a beat," coach David Cutcliffe said. "It happens, and it can strike you anytime, anywhere. ... You already have those moves in place, and people ready to go play football."
Some things to know about Duke's opener:
- SIRK WORK: Thomas Sirk has the tough job of filling in for Brandon Connette, the record-setting short-yardage quarterback who transferred from Duke to Fresno State to be closer to his mother as she fights cancer. Connette left with a school-record 31 rushing touchdowns. Cutcliffe says the redshirt sophomore beat out redshirt freshman Parker Boehme to be Anthony Boone's backup, calls Sirk "maybe the fastest quarterback I've had at this point" and says both Sirk and Boehme may play.
- UNBEATEN BOONE: Boone - the only current ACC quarterback to have started a game for his current school before 2013 - has never lost a regular-season start. The only blemishes on his 10-2 record as a starter came in neutral-site postseason games - to Florida State in the ACC title game and to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
- NO STRANGERS: Duke and Elon are separated by a 40-mile stretch of Interstate 85 in North Carolina. The Blue Devils hold a 7-0-1 series lead with the last meeting coming in 2010, when a Duke team bound for a 3-9 finish claimed a 41-27 romp. Skrosky was the offensive coordinator for that Phoenix team and says "I thought we matched up, skill-wise" back then.
- START OF SOMETHING BIG? This game marks the start of what probably should be a 4-0 start for Duke. The Blue Devils travel to Troy next week and welcome Kansas and Tulane to Durham before they play their ACC opener at Miami on Sept. 27.
- FCS PLAYERS: Elon does have a few transfers from FCS schools on its roster. They include DB Chris Blair (Ball State), RB Karl Bostick (Akron) and DL Marquis Wright (Rutgers).
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