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Duke grinds out 6 rushing TDs in big win over N.C. A&M

Sep 10, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina A&T Aggies running back Fredderick Graves (35) runs against the Duke Blue Devils during the first quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA; North Carolina A&T Aggies running back Fredderick Graves (35) runs against the Duke Blue Devils during the first quarter at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Mataeo Durant scored three of Duke’s six rushing touchdowns as the Blue Devils pulled away from visiting North Carolina A&T for a 45-17 victory Friday night in Durham, N.C.

Durant scored on first-half runs of 19, 1 and 2 yards. Quarterback Gunnar Holmberg, making his first start in a home game, added touchdown runs of 1 and 9 yards in the second half.

Kingsley Ifedi scored on runs of 1 and 5 yards in the first half for the Aggies (0-2).

Durant’s third touchdown of the first half came on a 2-yard run with three seconds left, with Duke having no timeouts remaining, to put the Blue Devils (1-1) in the lead.

They padded the 21-14 halftime advantage slightly more than three minutes into the second half on Holmberg’s 1-yard sneak, set up by a 29-yard punt return by Josh Blackwell.

Durant rambled for a school-record 255 yards in the season-opening loss a week earlier at Charlotte. So his 41-yard outing on 15 carries was rather tame Friday night. other than his scoring output.

Ifedi was the game’s top rusher with 83 yards on 15 carries.

The Aggies’ first possession of the game lasted more than 12 minutes, resulting in a 20-play march covering 86 yards and ending with Ifedi’s 1-yard touchdown sneak.

Duke answered on its next possession, with Durant scoring on a 19-yard run to cap a nine-play, 75-yard drive. The Blue Devils recovered an ensuing onside kick.

Six plays later, Durant plowed in from 1 yard out, so it was 14 points in 81 seconds for Duke.

The Aggies had it tied with 1:03 to go in the first half after Ifedi ran in untouched from 5 yards out after another time-consuming possession lasting 14 plays and nearly seven minutes.

N.C. A&T converted 9 of 10 third-down chances in the first half. The Aggies were 1-for-7 in the second half.

Late in the third quarter, Duke reserve quarterback Jordan Moore scored on a 9-yard run. He was in the game because Holmberg’s helmet came off on the previous play, meaning he had to exit the field for at least one snap.

–Field Level Media