Extra point: Jordan Waters, fumble recoveries propel Duke football to road victory

Graduate running back Jordan Waters scored twice and has now reached the endzone seven times on the season.
Graduate running back Jordan Waters scored twice and has now reached the endzone seven times on the season.

Duke football moved to 4-0 with a blowout 41-7 victory against UConn. With three key takeaways, stats and a look ahead, the Blue Zone breaks down all of the action: 

Three key takeaways

1. Crippling defense: 

Within the last two weeks, the offenses of Lafayette and Northwestern were able to point out flaws in the Blue Devils’ defense. Duke came into Saturday’s game knowing it needed to sharpen its defensive weaponry to dominate the field — and that it did. Duke’s defense commanded attention right out of the gate in this battle against UConn. Within the first half, the Blue Devils held the Huskies to a mere 32 yards. Senior defensive tackle Aeneas Peebles showed off his prowess with four tackles, two-and-a-half tackles for loss and one-and-a-half sacks. 

2. Out on the road:

The Blue Devils had a successful first road test of the season as they started their season undeniably strong in victories against Clemson, Lafayette and Northwestern. Some said that their triumphs were aided by home-field advantage. Holding off the Huskies from scoring until the last seconds of the fourth quarter, Duke proved to be just as dominant on the road as it was at its home base.

3. Here come the waterworks:

Graduate running back Jordan Waters showed no mercy towards the Huskies. UConn’s defense struggled to tie down Waters, as he had a remarkable start-to-finish performance. Waters directed seven carries for 18 yards and had two rushing touchdowns for the Blue Devils. The Fairmont, N.C., native’s strategic offensive attacks highlight the components of a well-rounded offense. His hunger and success in the red zone only fueled the fast-paced fire burning on Rentschler Field. Waters’ now holds a team-leading seven rushing touchdowns as the season begins to pick up.  

Three stats

1. 248 yards for Leonard

Amidst Duke’s calculated plays, it chose to fire at the Huskies via the passing game. Although UConn struggled to gain yardage throughout the whole game, junior quarterback Riley Leonard faced no such challenges as he finished with at 68% completion rate — a commendable 23-of-34 passing for 248 yards. This marks a season high for the junior quarterback. These skillful efforts are made even more impressive when pitting the numbers against the Huskies' minimal 114 passing yards.   

2. Two fumble recoveries

Although Duke was quick to take the lead in Saturday’s matchup, the Blue Devils remained scrappy. Duke solidified the game with two fumble recoveries at times when UConn drives seemed otherwise hopeful. Linebacker Nick Morris Jr. kickstarted the trend with his first-career fumble recovery and defensive tackle DeWayne Carter was quick to follow by scoring off of a 26-yard fumble return. Head coach Mike Elko’s crew did not hesitate to take advantage of UConn’s sloppy mistakes. 

3. 13 points per game for UConn: 

Coming off a 24-17 loss against Florida International, Husky head coach Jim Mora and his lineup looked to increase their scoring average against the Blue Devils. Instead, UConn’s offense sputtered to a low as its per-game scoring average dropped significantly after only putting up seven points on the board. Incomplete passes and short-lived rushing attempts kept the Huskies out of scoring range for most of the game.  

Looking ahead:

Next weekend No. 17 Duke will welcome a strong team as No. 11 Notre Dame pays a visit to Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Devils will strive for a 5-0 start to their electric season for the first time since 1994. Coming off of their first loss against the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Fighting Irish are surely hoping to assert their dominance on the football field and give Duke a run for its money. While undefeated, the Blue Devils can’t become too cocky and must refine their skills if they want to come out on top. 


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