Durham, NC – In a battle of two Bull City teams, only one proved to be kings of the city as Duke cruised past North Carolina Central University 60-7 on Saturday.
Shaun Wilson started off the scoring in the Bull City Gridiron Classic for the Blue Devils with a one yard run to make the score 7-0 early.
On the ensuing NCCU possession, Sophomore Micah Zanders’ pass was intercepted by Bryon Fields and returned for a 28 yard touchdown. The pick-six was the third interception returned for a touchdown by Fields, which ties the school record.
Zanders, the Jacksonville Florida native, went 10-17 for 91 yards and an interception in his debut for the Eagles.
Things would get no better for the Eagle as Duke running back Brittain Brown made a couple of Eagle defenders miss before taking it 39 yards for the third touchdown of the game to give Duke the 21-0 lead heading to the second quarter after the Parker extra point
Shortly in to the second quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones would keep the ball on the option and walks in from 4 yards in to make it 28-0, Duke.
When it rains, it pours, and that was proven when the snap from Steven Perry to Micah Zanders flew past Zanders. Zanders could not do anything but kick the ball out of the end zone before anyone could get it, resulting in a safety and two point for the Blue and White team.
Austin Parker tagged on a 32 yard field goal to raise the score to a whopping 33-0 lead with 11:25 remaining in the half.
Daniel Jones found receiver Aaron Young wide open behind the NCCU secondary for a 54 yard touchdown to give the Eagle a 40 point deficit.
The bright spot of the day for the Maroon and Gray was Isaiah Totten making a few defenders miss and ran 81 yards for the first score of the game for NC Central, as they would trail 40-7.
That momentum would not last long, as Quentin Harris powered the ball three yards for another touchdown Duke touchdown to make the score 47-7 heading in to halftime.
Johnathan Lloyd took the quick screen pass out of halftime and took it 24 yards for a Duke touchdown 53-7, after the missed PAT by Austin Parker.
Duke’s first punt came with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter. But that unit would not see much action after that.
For NCCU, freshman Chauncey Caldwell took over at QB with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter. Zanders would come back in the fourth quarter to end the game.
Quentin Harris finds tight end Noah Gray on a 10 yard strike for the first career touchdown of Gray’s career to bump the Blue Devils to a 60-7 lead that would end up being the final.
Positives for both teams:
North Carolina Central University – Isaiah Totten had a huge game running the ball and returning kicks for NCCU. Coach Mack mentioned that he thought Totten did “a really good job” in tonight’s game. The Duke coaching staff were very complimentary of Totten after the game. If he can stay healthy and be consistent, him and Ramon Simpson could be a strong two-headed monster in the Eagle running game.
Duke – Brittain Brown had a strong showing tonight, amassing 120 yard rushing and a touchdown. The world knew about Shaun Wilson and his explosive talents, but with several younger guys under Wilson, it was refreshing for Duke fans to see this young man step up tonight.
Duke will return home to Wallace Wade Stadium to host Northwestern next weekend. Northwestern is usually a tough opponent for the Blue Devils. Coach Cutcliffe mentioned that “…it starts tomorrow” when discussing preparation for Northwestern. “We’ve got to get better Sunday” Cutcliffe mentioned before discussing dissecting tonight’s game tape and preparing for next weeks opponent. Look for Duke to be in a shootout next week.
As far as the NC Central Eagles go, they will come back to the drawing board before their home opener next weekend against a familiar Shaw University team at 6 pm.
(Photos Courtesy of Donald Watkins Jr)