top of page


Duke Crushes UConn, Sets Sights on Notre Dame

Duke's head coach, Mike Elko, hailed this performance as the best display by the Blue Devils' defense during his tenure, describing it as a "suffocation" of UConn.

Duke University's football team, the Blue Devils, showcased their prowess in a commanding 41-7 victory over UConn in a non-conference matchup at Pratt & Whitney Stadium. The win not only extended Duke's undefeated streak to 4-0 but also marked their best start to a season since 2018. The triumph has set the stage for an exciting clash between ranked teams as Duke prepares to take on No. 9 Notre Dame at Wallace Wade Stadium. In anticipation of this epic showdown, ESPN is bringing its iconic College GameDay show to Durham for the very first time. Duke's defense was the star of the show, stifling UConn's offense and keeping them off the scoreboard until the waning moments of the game.

Stifling Defense: The cornerstone of Duke's victory was undoubtedly its dominant defense. The Huskies struggled to muster any offensive momentum against Duke, failing to reach 100 total yards until the fourth quarter. During the first half, UConn could only manage a meager 1.1 yards per play, while Duke raced to a commanding 27-0 lead. UConn ultimately finished the game with just 203 total yards, averaging a mere 3.1 yards per play. Their only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter against Duke's reserves.

Duke's head coach, Mike Elko, hailed this performance as the best display by the Blue Devils' defense during his tenure, describing it as a "suffocation" of UConn. The key to this defensive dominance was the ability of Duke's defensive line to penetrate and disrupt UConn's offense, particularly forcing the young quarterback into uncomfortable third-and-long situations. UConn managed to convert just 4 of 14 third downs into first downs, a testament to Duke's newfound defensive prowess.

For the season, Duke has allowed a mere five touchdowns in four games, with three of those games seeing the opposition scoring seven points or less. Impressively, no opponent has scored a point against Duke's first-team defense in the second half, including their season-opening win over Clemson.

Leonard Shows Passing Prowess: While Duke's rushing game has been formidable, they recognize the need for a potent passing game, especially against stronger opponents like Notre Dame. Quarterback Riley Leonard took this challenge seriously, even when Duke had already established a substantial lead. Leonard completed 23 of 34 passes (68%) for 248 yards against UConn, achieving single-game highs in completions, attempts, and yards for the season. Of Duke's 20 first downs in the game, 15 were obtained through the air.

Duke's coaching staff recognized the importance of the passing game in their strategy, acknowledging that it would be a key element in their success. Jordan Moore, a junior wide receiver, was Leonard's favorite target, with 14 passes thrown his way, resulting in eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jalon Calhoun also made a significant contribution with six receptions for 76 yards. In total, six different Duke players caught passes from Leonard, showcasing their offensive versatility.

Mild Offensive Line Concerns: Despite Duke's impressive offensive display, some concerns emerged regarding the performance of their offensive line. While Duke's ability to run the ball effectively has been a strength this season, they must ensure their offensive line can maintain a high level of play, especially as they face ranked opponents. In the game against UConn, Duke's offensive linemen committed three holding penalties and two false starts.

Jacob Monk, Duke's most experienced lineman, was responsible for two holding penalties, while Maurice McIntyre, another experienced player, was also flagged for holding. The false start infractions were attributed to right tackle Jake Hornibrook and another graduate transfer tackle, Jake Long. Notably, Duke played without key reserve interior lineman Justin Pickett, who has been dealing with various injuries since the offseason. His absence led to Scott Elliott, a graduate transfer from Harvard, assuming the starting center role with Monk moving to right guard.

These concerns serve as a reminder that Duke must continue to improve their offensive line performance as they face tougher competition in the upcoming games.

In conclusion, Duke's dominant performance against UConn not only showcased their defensive prowess but also highlighted their commitment to developing a potent passing game. With a highly anticipated matchup against Notre Dame on the horizon, the Blue Devils are poised to make a statement on the national stage. As they continue their journey through the season, addressing minor concerns in their offensive line will be crucial to their success against formidable opponents. Duke football fans have much to look forward to as the team aims for a memorable season.

Undrafted Team


September 24, 2023 at 4:00:00 PM

  • Facebook
  • X
  • Instagram

Empowering the next generation

of sports storytellers

© 2023 by First in Flight Creative

bottom of page