Jamison Crowder gives Elon's Adrian McClendon the stiff arm.
WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke will open its football season with a rare opportunity tonight.
Coming off the ACC's Coastal Division championship and a 10-4 season that was the best in school history, the Blue Devils will look for back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 1988 and 1989.
Tonight's game with Elon, which went 2-9 last season, is Employee Appreciation Day. It's also a 25th anniversary celebration for the 1989 team, with coach Steve Spurrier - who now runs the show at South Carolina - in the house.
The Blue Devils get on the board first with 8:55 left in the first on a four-yard pass from Anthony Boone to Isaac Blakeney. Ross Martin's kick completes the 11-play, 61-yard march.
Elon makes it 7-3 with 3:06 left in the period when John Gallagher's field goal completes a 13-play, 61-yard drive.
Duke makes it 14-3 with 14:39 left in the half, as Boone finds Jamison Crowder behind the defense down the right sideline for a 46-yard connection. Martin's boot punctuates the one-play drive.
It goes to 21-3 when Shaq Powell goes in from two yards out to complete a 12-play, 80-yard march. Martin's try takes the lead to 18 at 8:08.
Gallagher adds a 35-yard field goal with 4:24 left in the half to make it 21-6, completing an 11-play 51-yard drive.
But the Blue Devils stretch it to 28-6 following a 19-yard Boone to Blakeney pass with 1:01 left in the half. Martin's kick completes the nine-play, 79-yard journey.
Boone hits Crowder for a second TD pass, this a 13-yarder to complete a 12-play, 75-yard excursion with 11:32 left in the third and Martin adding the try.
Martin adds a 49-yard field goal with 4:33 left in the third to make it 38-6.
Backup QB Thomas Sirk chips in a 15-yard TD run with 13:21 left and Martin's try makes it 45-6.
The Phoenix gets a touchdown with 10:23 left as B.J. Bennett bulls in from two yards out and Gallagher adds the boot.
But Sirk scores again from a yard out with 7:16 left, with Martin's kick completing the scoring.
Duke gains 567 yards total offense, 275 of it on the ground. Boone completes 22 of 33 passes for 247 yards and the four TDs. Crowder has seven catches for 93 yards. Shaun Wilson rushes for 71 yards on six carries, Josh Snead 74 on 12.
Mike Quinn completes 19 of 38 for 190 yards for Elon, while Bennett carries 13 times for 87 yards.
They said it …
Duke coach David Cutcliffe: "I think we learned s lot about a lot of football players tonight. We played a lot of people. More importantly than that it was obvious that we had some playmakers we hadn't had, a little different level. ... Anthony was exceptional almost all night. I had a lot of time with him on the sideline, which was great."
Elon coach Rick Skrosky: "There are a lot of good things we'll be able to take from this game, but we're in a result-oriented deal. Don't mistake that. I'm the first one to tell you we don't talk about winning coming into a game, but we have to understand that the execution level needs to get amped up very high to make sure the result doesn't end like it did tonight."
Blakeney: "Jamison (Crowder) is like my brother, so I want to help him out any way I can. I feel like the more plays I can make, it'll make it easier for him. I'll just keep making plays, so (defenders) will have to pick and choose."
Sirk: "Growing up it was my dream to play in a college football game, and I've accomplished that tonight. Now I think some of the jitters that I have went away. I'm satisfied as a whole with our performance on offense, but I'll never say I'm satisfied with my performance because there are things I can get better at each week."
What does it all mean?
click to enlarge
Duke's Josh Snead runs for daylight.
That Duke is still rolling.
Stars of the game
Play of the game
Boone's first TD pass to Crowder.
Duke: Won 1.
Elon: Lost 7.
Duke leads 7-0-1.
Duke at Troy, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Elon vs. North Carolina A&T, Sept. 13, 6 p.m.