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Blue Devils fall to East Carolina, 24-21

Posted Sunday, September 4, 2005

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Greenville, NC - Sophomore tailback Justin Boyle rushed for two touchdowns and classmate Ronnie Drummer returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown but it wasn’t enough as Duke fell to East Carolina, 24-21, in front of 35, 107 fans in Greenville, N.C.

The game marked the season-opener for both squads, with the Pirates evened the all-time series between the two schools, 5-5.

East Carolina jumped on top 7-0 thanks to a 52-yard punt return by Travis Williams. Williams was dragged down by Duke punter Chris Sprague at the four yard line, and quarterback James Pinkney scored from one yard out two plays later. Fortune followed for the Blue Devils when Drummer took the ensuing kickoff the distance to knot the score at 7-7. Drummer darted through a hole in the middle of the field at the 20 yard line and then darted down the right sideline to paydirt.

East Carolina responded with a six play, 76-yard drive that ended when Pinkney hooked up with Aundrae Allison for a 50-yard scoring pass. In the second period, Blue Devil quarterback Mike Schneider engineered a nine play, 52-yard scoring drive that included a pair of third down conversions including a 19-yard strike to Jomar Wright. Boyle’s 15-yard carry gave Duke a first-and-goal at the two yard line, and the Acworth, Ga., native scored from one yard out on second down.

The Pirates took a 17-14 lead into halftime thanks to a 32-yard field goal by Robert Lee. In the third period, East Carolina pushed the lead to 24-14 when Pinkney scored on a one-yard run with 43 seconds left in the quarter.

Boyle’s two-yard touchdown run with 12:17 left in the fourth period capped a 10 play, 73-yard drive and got the Blue Devils to within 24-21. East Carolina intercepted a pair of Duke passes over the final six minutes of the contest to preserve the win.

Duke at ECU Game Notes

Junior LB Kendral Felder, senior DE Justin Kitchen, senior OG Jim Moravchik and senior TB Cedric Dargan served as team captains for today’s game

Sophomore TB Ronnie Drummer returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the opening quarter for his first career special teams touchdown and second overall TD ... The 100-yard return for a touchdown matches the longest such return in Duke history since the NCAA began recording official statistics in 1938 ... Other 100-yard returns since 1938 came from Greg Boone (vs. Tennessee in 1982) and Leroy Gallman (vs. Tennessee in 1993) ... Ace Parker owns the school standard with a 105-yard return against North Carolina in 1936

Sophomore WR Jomar Wright caught three passes for 64 yards on the day for an average of 21.3 yards per reception ... All three of his grabs produced first downs, with two of them coming on third down plays ... For his career, Wright has now caught 21 passes for 387 yards (18.4 ypc) with 15 of the receptions producing first downs

Junior TE Ben Patrick extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one pass reception to 17 dating back to the 2003 campaign ... Patrick finished the day with a team-best four receptions for 13 yards, and now has 53 career receptions in 22 contests

Sophomore Patrick Bailey, playing LB for the first time in his career after spending the 2004 season at DE, caused two fumbles in the opening half ... He finished with a game-high 11 total tackles

Sophomore TB Justin Boyle scored the third touchdown of his career on a one-yard plunge in the second quarter, and later added his fourth career TD in the fourth quarter ... Boyle finished the day with a team-high 53 yards on 19 carries ... Boyle’s two-touchdown effort on the ground is Duke’s first since TB Cedric Dargan scored twice on the ground in a 30-22 win over North Carolina on November 22, 2003

Freshman K Joe Surgan scored the first points of his career with three PAT conversions

Freshman QB/ATH Marcus Jones caught the first pass of his career, a 13-yard reception in the third quarter

Senior P Chris Sprague punted for the first time in his Duke career, averaging 39.4 yards per kick on five punts

Duke players receiving the first starting assignments of their careers were LT Lavdrim Bauta, C Matt Rumsey, QB/ATH Marcus Jones, LB Codey Lowe, LB Patrick Bailey and S Chris Davis ... Two Blue Devils – FB Malcolm Ruff and OT Demetrius Warrick – started for the first time on offense in their respective careers after earning prior starts on defense (Ruff – 9 career starts at LB; Warrick – 5 career starts at DT)

Seven true freshmen played in the game: QB/ATH Marcus Jones, TB Re’quan Boyette, CB Glenn Williams, K Joe Surgan, LB Michael Brown, WR Ryan Wood and DT Clifford Respress ... Six redshirt freshmen played saw action: S Andreas Platt, S Adrian Aye-Darko, LB Charles Robinson, OG Rob Schirmann, OG Fred Roland, and OT Cameron Goldberg

With the win, East Carolina evens the all-time series between the two schools, 5-5 ... The Pirates have now won both meetings played in Greenville, also winning by a 27-9 margin in 1999

Duke falls to 54-36-3 all-time in season openers


Duke at ECU Quotes

Justin Boyle

On second half

“We came back out in the second half, and our offensive line was doing a great job the whole game. But our turnovers late in the game were costly; they capitalized on them.”

On first touchdown

“I saw the guy on the outside, and I saw after that it was wide open, so I just bounced off him and spun in.”

On style of offense

“We just tried to take what they gave us today, and the running game was more wide open, so I guess that’s what we capitalized on.”

Patrick Bailey

On third downs

“The thing that hurt us the most was third-down situations. We just need to dump them on third downs, and that really killed us down the stretch.”

On rallying from loss

“I don’t think it’s the end of the season. I think we just need to bounce back and go full steam against Virginia Tech. Hopefully things will turn out better then.”

On difference between defense on first and second vs. third down

“We stopped them pretty well on first and second down. Our third down conversion rate was not good for us, and that just made us tired and kept letting them make bigger and bigger plays.”

On East Carolina receivers

“Their receivers are great athletes. They definitely got themselves open to make big plays, and they did a good job about making it.”

Coach Ted Roof

On defense

“We don’t have that margin for error. We’re not going to beat very many teams unless we force turnovers defensively. That’s why we played hard, fought hard. We weren’t very good on third down, but I thought the rest of it was pretty decent defensively.”

On making good decisions on scoring opportunities

“We’ve got to be an opportunistic football team. When we give ourselves opportunities to score or the opposition gives us opportunities, we’ve got to finish it. We’ve got to take advantage of those because we’re only going to get so many.”

On ECU’s James Pinkney and Aundrae Allison

“We knew that Allison was a big-play guy from all the reports that we had read, and we’ve got to make plays on the deep end. A couple of times we didn’t today, and whenever you don’t do that, it costs you. It certainly did, and I think he did a good job, especially on third down, scrambling around and keeping drives in line. We’ve got to play better. That’s the bottom line.”

On playing hard

“I think we played a physical football game, and it comes down to finishing drives on offense and third downs on defense and a couple of kicks early in the game. That’s what it comes down to.”

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Blue Devils fall to East Carolina, 24-21
Blue Devil quarterback Mike Schneider.
photo by Gene Galin

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