DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Daniel Jones threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in his first college start, and Duke routed North Carolina Central 49-6 on Saturday night.
Jela Duncan set the tone with a 50-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage, added a 3-yard TD run and matched a career high with 115 yards.
The Blue Devils (1-0) once again had an easy time against their lower-level crosstown opponent, building a three-touchdown lead before the Eagles (0-1) ran a play inside Duke territory and leading 49-0 at halftime after scoring TDs on seven of their 10 first-half possessions.
“It was a lot of fun out there tonight, and I think everyone enjoyed it,” Jones said.
A year after rolling up 655 total yards against Central, Duke gained 535 yards, gave up just 112 and improved to 5-0 in the series.
Jones certainly didn’t look like he’d never played in college before. The redshirt freshman finished 10 of 15 for 189 yards with touchdown passes of 55 yards to Johnathan Lloyd and 20 yards to Erich Schneider, and added a 17-yard scoring run.
Brandon McLaren kicked field goals of 48 and 34 yards for Central.
“The first half was not what we wanted it to be, by any stretch of the imagination,” Central coach Jerry Mack said.
N.C. Central: Since making the jump from Division II to the Championship Subdivision roughly a decade ago, the Eagles have now played seven FBS opponents and lost them all by an average of 44 points with three shutouts. Those results sure haven’t hurt them once they start playing schools at their level: They’ve won shares of the past two Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles, and figure to contend for another.
Duke: All eyes were on Jones in his starting debut two weeks after returning starter Thomas Sirk was lost for the season when he re-injured the Achilles tendon he tore in February. The QB nicknamed “The Future” said earlier in the week that he thought he could both run and pass effectively.
He spent the first half proving it.
Jones took his first carry 21 yards on a read option, and his touchdown run came one play after his prettiest pass of the night – a 35-yard throw that he dropped over receiver T.J. Rahming’s right shoulder near the sideline. Rahming played a big role in Jones’ first TD pass, throwing the key downfield block that sprung Lloyd’s catch-and-run.
N.C. Central: The Eagles get another crack at an FBS school next week when they visit Western Michigan – which knocked off Northwestern in Week 1.
Duke: The Blue Devils dive into Atlantic Coast Conference play with a visit from Wake Forest. Duke has won four straight in the series with its instate league rival.