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QB Jones sterling in Duke debut

Exciting newcomers and reliable veterans stood out in Duke’s 49-6 season-opening rout of N.C. Central on Saturday night.

Quarterback Daniel Jones and linebacker Joe Giles-Harris produced in a major way in their first collegiate games.

Meanwhile redshirt seniors Jela Duncan and A.J. Wolf dominated on both sides of the ball as the Blue Devils built a 49-0 halftime lead to whip their crosstown foe.

One of three redshirt freshmen in Duke’s starting lineup, Jones completed 10 of 15 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran 7 yards for a score.

The majority of his play came in the first half as Duke’s coaches only had him play the first two series after halftime due to the lopsided score.

Jones completed 9 of his first 13 passes in the game.

“Offensively I thought we were amazingly efficient early,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “Daniel Jones showed poise, ran and put us in good plays.”

Jones’ first touchdown pass came on a 55-yard play to wide receiver Johnathan Lloyd. A redshirt sophomore, Lloyd ran the final 45 yards after catching Jones’ pass, getting good blocking from TJ Rahming to reach the end zone.

His second was a 20-yard pass over the middle to tight end Erich Schneider.

Jones also completed a nice 35-yard pass down the right sideline to Rahming in the second quarter. On the next play, Jones ran 7 yards for his lone rushing touchdown.

“I was really excited coming out,” Jones said. “Obviously there were a little bit of nerves, being the first game at this level, but once we got a few snaps in, it was just back to playing football, doing what we love.”

Duncan, Duke’s starting running back, gained 115 yards with a pair of touchdown runs. He burst up the middle to scamper 50 yards for the game’s first touchdown. His 3-yard touchdown run came after Jones fired a 25-yard pass to tight end Daniel Helm to advance the Blue Devils inside the NCCU 5.

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