Saturday's Homecoming game was touted as a battle of defenses, and so far Duke has done its part to live up to those expectations.
The Blue Devils lead Boston College 9-0 at Wallace Wade Stadium after two quarters of play. The Eagles entered the game with the best pass defense in the country, but Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk completed 10-of-18 passes for 138 yards to help the Blue Devils move the ball effectively through the air on a couple of long drives.
Boston College and Duke traded quick three-and-outs on their first four possessions of the contest. After the Blue Devils’ second stalled drive, punter Will Monday was able to pin the Eagles on the 15-yard line, where the defense held Boston College to yet another three-and-out. Eagle quarterbacks have yet to complete a pass, as Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith are a combined 0-of-9.
The Duke offense finally found success on its third possession, as Sirk found true freshman T.J. Rahming through the air for a 26-yard gain. Sirk followed that up with a quick 18-yard pass to redshirt junior Jela Duncan to put the Blue Devils in the red zone, where Ross Martin hit a 36-yard field goal to put the Blue Devils up 3-0 late in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils enjoyed another pass-filled drive to open the second quarter. Sirk found wide receiver Anthony Nash for nine yards, followed by a 12-yard run from Duncan, then found Nash and junior Ryan Smith on back-to-back throws to gain another first down. After completions to Rahming and Max McCaffrey, the drive stalled again, and Martin returned to the field, this time converting a 38-yard field goal.
On the next possession, Boston College found some traction on the ground. Tyler Rouse brought the ball to Duke’s 33-yard line for 25 yards. Smith then appeared to give the Eagles the lead with a long touchdown pass to Thadd Smith, but it was ruled incomplete. The Eagles then attempted a field goal, but Bobby Swigert fumbled the snap, giving the Blue Devils the ball on their own 31 yard line.
Duke’s next drive featured a 29-yard connection from Sirk to Rahming, but once again, the Blue Devils got held up when approaching Boston College territory. Martin hit a 53-yard field goal—tying a career-long—for his third of the game to give Duke the 9-0 lead.
Here are some observations from the first half:
- Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk went 10-for-18 in the half for 138 total yards.
- Kicker Ross Martin has hit all 10 of his field goal attempts thus far into the season. With his 53-yarder in the second half, the Solon, Ohio, native now has the second-most 50-yard field goals in program history.
- The Blue Devils struggled on the ground, rushing for just 18 total yards.
- True-freshman T.J. Rahming caught five passes for 75 yards in the half, making up for the loss of Johnell Barnes, who was sidelined for the first half due to a targeting penalty from the last game.
- Boston College did not complete a single reception in the first half.
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