by Al Drago
WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM-It’s kick-off weekend for college football, but unfortunately for Duke, the Blue Devils don’t start off on the right foot.
Richmond took the 23-21 win tonight, due to simple mistakes from Duke’s offense. This is their third consecutive win over the Blue Devils, following victories in 2006 and 2009.
“Bottom line is we were erratic,” said Duke coach David Cutcliffe. “We’re not good enough to play erratic and win.”
Richmond took advantage of two Duke turnovers in the first half, giving the Spiders a 10-7 lead going into halftime.
The back and forth battle continued in the third quarter when Duke pulled ahead 14-10 from a touchdown scored by Brandon Connette. But that didn’t stop Richmond. Spiders Quarterback Aaron Corp continued to move the ball down the field strategically, throwing a 48 yard pass to Tre Gray and later having Kendall Gaskins add a touchdown to the board. However Duke ended the quarter on top at 21-23 with Anthony Boone also scoring.
Things were looking as if Duke would go home happy tonight going into the final quarter.
Although Richmond came back and scored once more in the fourth quarter, Duke remained calm. With just under two minutes remaining and trailing by two points, they called in Will Syderwine, an All-America kicker to save the day. However Syderwine’s 28-yard attempt was unsuccessful, putting Duke into a frenzie.
Duke’s strong defense forced Richmond to punt just after five plays, giving Syderwine another chance.
But this time it was a 60-yard attempt. The attempt was unsuccessful and Richmond went home in celebration.
“I just pushed it. It is tough. I got out there expecting to make everything that is put in front of me, and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. You just don’t hit like you are supposed to, and that’s what happened,” said Syderwine.
It seemed like a decent night for Duke quarterback Sean Renfree, who completed 23 of 33 passes for 201 yards, but when the rest of the team does not perform well together, it can get annoying.
“I don’t have much to say. I don’t think we executed very well. We have to look at a lot of different holes that we have to work on. It is just very frustrating,” said Renfree.
Al Drago is an IndyWeek sports photographer and Elon photojournalist.