Duke Football held their annual Spring Game on Saturday. The Blue Team defeated the White Team 24-14. The game offered a glimpse of the returning talent from the 2013 Coastal Division Champions, as well as several new faces that may be able to make an impact in the coming season.
Most teams have yet to even begin spring practice, but David Cutcliffe opted for an earlier start for two main reasons. The first being to continue the momentum from the previous season. The second is to give the players a chance to focus on their academics for the rest of the semester.
Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone split time at quarterback for the Blue Team. Connette complete 11-16 passes for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. Boone complete 10-13 passes for 33 yards. Thomas Sirk was in exclusively at quarterback for the White Team. He finished 12-28 for 83 yards. Sirk was clearly bothered by the Blue Team defense, which played tight defense in the secondary and got consistent pressure on the young QB. Sirk showed good maturity and was able to make plenty of plays with his legs when there was nothing open down the field, rushing for 2 touchdowns.
Coveted recruit, and early enrollee, Johnathan Lloyd made his Blue Devil debut at quarterback. He did not attempt a pass, but made one highlight worthy 19 yard run on third down. Lloyd will most likely redshirt this season. It also remains unknown whether he will ever see any time at quarterback or if he will convert to another position to make the most of his talents.
The 2014 running game may be the focal point of the offense for the Blue Devils. Josh Snead had 44 yards on 6 carries, including a 17 yard run. Shaquille Powell tallied 75 yards on 8 carries, including the game sealing 36 yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. For the White Team, redshirt freshman Joseph Ajeigbe had 60 yards on 10 carries and 4 catches for 34 yards against the first team defense. Ajeigbe showed good power, having only one rush that didn’t gain yardage. Ajeigbe figures to be an important piece in the running game that will have to make up for the temporary loss of Jela Duncan, who has to sit out next season for academic reasons.
Max McCaffrey had 4 catches for 68 yards and 1 touchdown, while Ryan Smith had 5 catches for 26 yards, including the game’s first touchdown.
With the exception of a few plays, the defense proved to have the most notable performances. The Blue Team sat almost half of the expected starters and still managed to get constant pressure against the White team and limited all gains through the air. The White Team also showed the depth of this Duke team’s defense. Showing wide range and good instincts as they limited the Blue Team offense at times.
Corbin McCarthey and Evrett Edwards each had 8 tackles, Edwards had 1 sack as well. Reserve linebacker Nick Hill also had 8 tackles. Dezmond Johnson and Jordan Dewalt-Ondijo each had 2 sacks for the Blue Team. Kyler Brown had 1 sack and 6 tackles in his first game as a defensive end. The production of the defensive line will be very important for this Duke team as they look to replace Kenny Anunike, Justin Foxx, and Sydney Sarmiento. If the spring game was any indication, they appear up to the task.
The only apparent negative to come out of the game was the injury to Lucas Patrick. Patrick, who is projected as a starting offensive lineman, went down on the first possession of the game, with what looked like a serious leg injury. He did not return to the game and no immediate update was available.
Duke will open up the 2014 season on August 30 against Elon University.