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Harris accounts for 5 TDs as Duke rolls; ECU pounds on Gardner-Webb

DURHAM (AP) — Quentin Harris passed for a career-high 345 yards and four touchdowns to lead Duke past North Carolina A&T 45-13 on Saturday night.

Harris also rushed for 83 yards and a score as the Blue Devils (1-1) overcame a sluggish start to win their home opener for the eighth consecutive season.

Duke scored three touchdowns in the final 3:10 of the first half, turning a 10-7 deficit into a 28-10 lead.

Harris had scoring strikes of 22 yards and 39 yards to Mateo Durant and Eli Pancol, respectively, and capped the spurt with a 6-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw.

Jalon Calhoun had eight catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns for the Blue Devils.

Jeremiah Martin rushed for 82 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, for N.C. A&T (1-1).

Noel Ruiz made field goals of 40 and 36 yards for the Aggies.

THE TAKEAWAY

N.C. A&T: It’s no fluke that the Aggies, reigning champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, beat a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent each year from 2016-18. They were stout on defense and opportunistic on offense until Duke’s flurry at the end of the first half, indicating that they can be a force again in the Football Championship Subdivision.

Duke: The Blue Devils had four penalties for 49 yards, plus another holding penalty that was declined, in the game’s first 18 minutes. It’s the kind of start they can’t afford in Atlantic Coast Conference play. But Duke settled down as Harris found his footing. Harris completed 10 of his final 11 passes of the first half, capitalizing on a variety of short throws.

UP NEXT

N.C. A&T: The Aggies visit Charleston Southern on Sept. 14.

Duke: The Blue Devils play at Middle Tennessee State on Sept. 14.

•••

AHLERS LEADS EAST CAROLINA PAST GARDNER-WEBB 48-9

GREENVILLE (AP) — Holton Ahlers threw for a touchdown and ran for two more as East Carolina rolled past Gardner-Webb 48-9 on Saturday.

The Pirates (1-1) scored on their first drive, a 7-yard Ahlers run, and on their next two as well. Jake Verity’s 24-yard field goal and a short TD run by Darius Pinnix Jr. made for a quick 17-0 lead with 1:09 to go in the first quarter.

A Gardner-Webb touchdown early in the second quarter was answered by a 13-yard scoring run by Pinnix and another keeper by Ahlers to push the East Carolina lead to 31-7 at halftime.

Gerard Stringer picked off Gardner-Webb’s Jordan Smith on the fourth play of the second half and returned it 41 yards. Two plays later, Ahlers threw a 20-yard scoring strike to Blake Proehl for a 38-7 advantage with 12:37 left in the third.

Gardner-Webb picked up a safety midway through the third quarter by dropping Pinnix in his own end zone after the team’s punt had East Carolina starting off on its goal line.

•••

DIV. II VIRGINIA UNION DOWNS HAMPTON, 36-17, BEHIND MORRIS

HAMPTON, Va. (AP) — Khalid Morris threw four touchdown passes, including three to Charles Hall, and Division II-member Virginia Union scored 22 unanswered second-half points to beat Hampton 36-17 on Saturday.

Hampton’s Evan Lomax missed a 35-yard first quarter field goal and Morris hit Hall on an 80-yard TD pass on the following play. Bryan Epps picked off a Deondre Francois pass, setting up Morris’ 40-yard TD completion to Tabyus Taylor for a 14-0 Panthers lead.

The Pirates (1-1) rallied in the second quarter, with Francois hitting Jadakis Bonds on a 49-yard TD pass and Francois scoring on a 1-yard run to make it 14-all.  Lomax hit a go-ahead 32-yard field goal as time in the first half expired.

Morris’ 38-yard TD pass to Hall put the Panthers up 21-17 in the third quarter, then Keenen Evans dropped Shai McKenzie in the end zone for a safety and a 23-17 lead. Jefferson Souza’s 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter put it out of reach and Morris hit Hall on a 44-yarder for a 33-17 lead.

Morris was 7 of 21 for 199 yards passing and Hall had three catches for 152 yards. Taylor gained 165 yards on 25 carries.

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