After preaching redemption in an attempt to rebound from last season’s 4-8 record, Duke took out some of its anger on its crosstown rival in its season opener, setting a scoring record for head coach David Cutcliffe while also reaching a mark it had not touched in nearly 70 years.

Behind an offense that amassed 524 yards, the Blue Devils walloped N.C. Central 60-7 Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium, reaching the 60-point mark for the first time since 1949. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones went 19-for-25 for 213 yards and two touchdowns in addition to a rushing score, and redshirt freshman running back Brittain Brown registered 120 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries in his first collegiate game.

“You’re not going into any game trying to score 60 points,” Cutcliffe said. “When your young players execute as well as they did, that’s how it can happen.”

Duke wasted no time getting on the board. After forcing a three-and-out on N.C. Central’s first offensive possession, the Blue Devils moved the ball down the field in a hurry with a seven-play, 51-yard touchdown drive. The next play, senior cornerback Bryon Fields Jr. picked off a pass from Eagles’ starting quarterback Micah Zanders and scampered in untouched for another touchdown.

“It was great to get a big play for the team early, kind of help build up some momentum,” Fields said.

Duke did not let up from there.

The Blue Devils dominated on the ground on both sides of the ball, with four different players registering touchdowns. Outside of Eagles’ redshirt freshman tailback Isaiah Totten’s 81-yard rushing touchdown, Duke limited N.C. Central to -17 yards on the ground while totaling 243 rushing yards and boasting a 5.2-yard average per carry.

After a tumultuous 2016 season in the kicking game—kicker A.J. Reed converted just 3-of-10 field goals—the Blue Devils elected to go for it four times on fourth down, often extending drives already deep into Eagles’ territory. As a result, Duke scored on its first seven offensive possessions, putting the game out of reach by the beginning of the second quarter.

Jones and backup quarterback Quentin Harris spread the ball around to 13 different receivers, as Cutcliffe continues to try to sort out the pecking order on the outside with a lot of depth behind No. 1 wideout T.J. Rahming. Although Rahming only grabbed two passes for 20 yards, he had a punt-return touchdown nullified by a holding penalty and just missed a long touchdown grab by inches. 

“There’s an excitement and an energy about us. We’ve got all the pieces and all the talent,” Jones said. “There’s definitely improvements to be made and progress to be made, but overall, I think we’re in a good spot and we got what we need.”

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Aaron Young distanced himself from the pack of taller wideouts with his performance, as he led Cutcliffe’s squad with five receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown, which came on a 54-yard bomb from Jones. A miscommunication in the Eagles’ secondary left Young wide open streaking down the field, and Jones found him as the 6-foot-2 Blue Devil glided into the end zone untouched.

Defensively, Duke notched nine tackles for loss, led by sophomore starting defensive end Tre Hornbuckle with 3.5. On the other end of the line, true freshman Victor Dimukeje racked up 1.5 sacks—the half sack was in combination with fellow classmate Drew Jordan. Standout linebacker Joe Giles-Harris was all over the field as well, leading the Blue Devils with eight tackles.

Duke will have to improve on its third-down offense, though, as it converted only 6-of-14 opportunities despite playing an overwhelmed FCS foe, especially with Northwestern and Baylor visiting Durham the next two weekends. 

But so far, the Blue Devils have been true to their word in coming out with more fire this season, showcasing their offensive potential in their season opener.

“I think this team has that ability [to be explosive]," Cutcliffe said. "But we’ll see. It’s going to get tougher before we know it."