DURHAM, N.C. -- Georgia Tech scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 38-14 win over Duke in the teams’ ACC football opener at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Yellow Jackets finished with 469 yards of total offense in the game.
Quarterback Brandon Connette, in his second career start, threw for 122 yards on 15-of-28 passing and ran for 15 yards. Running back Jela Duncan led the Blue Devils’ running game with 89 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown.
Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee threw for 125 yards and four touchdowns, while running back Robert Godhigh amassed 79 yards on four carries.
After holding Georgia Tech (2-0, 1-0 ACC) to a field goal on its opening possession, Duke (2-1, 0-1 ACC) came right back and marched 72 yards on nine plays to take a 7-3 lead on a one-yard plunge by Duncan into the end zone. The Blue Devils took to the ground seven times on the drive with Duncan and Juwan Thompson combining for 45 yards. Connette added 27 yards through the air, including a 20-yard strike to Braxton Deaver to send the Blue Devils into Yellow Jacket territory.
With a 10-yard rush that put Duke at 1st-and-goal, Thompson eclipsed the 1,000-yard career mark. He is just the 40th Blue Devil to reach the benchmark in Duke history.
Georgia Tech responded with a nine-play 79-yard drive of its own to regain the 10-3 advantage. A 44-yard run by Godhigh put the Yellow Jackets into the red zone for the first time on the afternoon and Lee completed the possession with a four-yard dash for six points.
Trailing 17-7 with Georgia Tech threatening to score, Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell pulled in a highlight-reel interception at the Blue Devil four-yard line to keep the Yellow Jackets off the scoreboard. The interception was the 10th of Cockrell’s career, pushing him to a tie for sixth in the Duke career records book.
The Yellow Jackets tacked on a touchdown in the final 42 seconds on a 10-yard pass from Lee to David Smelter for a 24-7 halftime lead.
Duke, after amassing 134 yards of offense in the opening quarter, was held to just 39 yards in the second period. Overall, the Blue Devils finished with 173 yards of offense in the first half, while Georgia Tech picked up 264 yards, 196 of which came on the ground.
The Blue Devils’ scoring drought ended in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter as Connette scampered seven yards for his 19th career rushing touchdown. Started by a 20-yard punt return to the Georgia Tech 27-yard line by Jamison Crowder, Duncan tacked on 20 yards on two carries to set up Connette for the score.
Similar to the second quarter, Georgia Tech added a late touchdown in the fourth to come away with a 38-14 win and remain unbeaten on the year.
Linebacker Kelby Brown highlighted the Blue Devils’ defense with a career-high 17 tackles, including seven solo stops. Safety Jeremy Cash also had a career day for Duke, making 14 tackles and recording his first forced fumble.
The Blue Devils return to action Saturday, Sept. 21 as Duke welcomes Pitt to Wallace Wade Stadium for a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.