Brandon Connette's 4 TDs lift him to No. 1 on all-time Duke list
Duke ran up and down the field at Wallace Wade Stadium Saturday against Miami, recording a Cutcliffe era-best 358 rushing yards in its 48-30 win.
But when it came time to reach the end zone, the Blue Devils turned to quarterback Brandon Connette.
The redshirt junior scored four times from inside the 5-yard line and became Duke’s all-time leader with 29 rushing touchdowns, surpassing the total of 28 set by Tom Davis from 1941-44.
“He’s fast and strong and big,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “He’s effective in there and he’s the all-time leading touchdown runner in Duke football history, so at this time he’s got a lot of reps at it. And he has a unique way of picking his way through the line of scrimmage.”
The Corona, Calif. native also completed 5 of 9 passes for 81 yards, including a 43-yard bomb to Max McCaffrey and a 22-yard touchdown on a wheel route to Shaq Powell. But it was his rushing prowess at the goal line — he scored in every quarter, from 1, 2, 3, and 4 yards out — that has put him into the record books.
“I really have to tip my hat off to the offensive line,” Connette said. “And especially the running backs and (starting quarterback) Anthony Boone, just how unselfish they are, because a lot of other places that you’re at, if a quarterback gets called into the game any time you’re near the goal line and getting all the touchdowns, the running backs are going to have a sour taste in their mouth.
”The unselfish character we have here at Duke is just unbelievable. … Everyone working together as a team and not caring who gets all the glory or the media attention, just playing to get the win.”
Connette said the plan was for Anthony Boone — who is now 8-0 as a starter this season — to play the first two series, and then for Connette to play the third series. The players rotated in and out for the next three quarters.
“At halftime, (passing coordinator Kurt) Roper said ‘both of you are playing unbelievably well, so there’s not someone that just pulled ahead, so we’re going to continue to just playing both of you’,” Connette said.
After throwing seven interceptions in the past two games, the two quarterbacks didn’t turn the ball over against Miami.
“Whoever said, ‘If you got two quarterbacks it means you don’t have one’ probably never met Brandon and Anthony,” Cutcliffe said.