DURHAM, N.C. – Army forced five turnovers that led to 28 points and rolled to a 35-21 victory at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The win moved Army to 3-1 on the season, while the Blue Devils fell to 1-3.
Army snapped a seven-game losing streak to ACC foes and a 17-game road losing streak against the ACC. The win also put the Black Knights two games over the .500 mark since ending the 1996 season with a 10-2 mark.
The Black Knights intercepted Duke quarterback Sean Renfree three times, one each by Stephen Anderson, Donnie Dixon and Richard King. Donovan Travis and Josh McNary also recovered fumbles for the Black Knights. Army is now 7-0 under Rich Ellerson when winning the turnover battle.
The Blue Devils outgained the Black Knights 372-333, but Army held the ball for 39 minutes and 57 seconds. Army had a 248-111 advantage on the ground.
QB Trent Steelman led the Black Knights with 62 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Steelman completed four of his six throws for 85 yards and the first two passing touchdowns of Army’s season.
Brian Cobbs had 28 yards and the first two touchdowns of his career on just seven attempts.
Rookie Raymond Maples scored his first career touchdown on his first career reception, a 34-yard catch and run in the third quarter. Austin Barr was on the receiving end of the Steelman’s other three completions, totaling 51 yards, including a 31-yard scoring catch. It was Barr’s first career score.
Six different Army players ran for at least 20 yards in the game. Malcolm Brown finished second behind Steelman with 46 yards on nine attempts.
Anderson paced the defense with eight tackles, the interception and a pass breakup. Marcus Hilton finished the day with six stops, including a sack. McNary also had six tackles. His half tackle for loss moved him into first place on the Army career list with 42.5.
Renfree finished the game 17 of 30 for 261 yards, two touchdowns and the three interceptions. Conner Vernon caught eight passes for 129 yards and a score, while Brandon Braxton accounted for the other Duke receiving touchdown.
Desmond Scott paced the Blue Devils’ ground attack with 34 yards on seven carries.
Abraham Kromah had a game-high 13 tackles for the Blue Devils.
Army has now scored at least 24 points in four straight games for the first time since the 2002 season.
The Army defense set up the Black Knights’ first score just more than a minute into the game. Anderson intercepted Renfree’s third-down pass and returned it 36 yards to the Duke 3-yard line. Cobbs did the honors on the Black Knights’ first play from scrimmage, scoring around the left end. Carlton’s PAT gave Army a 7-0 lead with 13:51 left in the opening quarter.
The Black Knights appeared to score a touchdown in their next possession, but a 15-yard run by Cobbs was nullified by a holding penalty that made it 1st-and-20 from the Blue Devils’ 25-yard line. Army could not recover and Alex Carlton’s 33-yard field goal try was blocked to give Duke the ball back at its own 20-yard line.
The Army defense set up the Black Knights again when Dixon stepped in front of Renfree’s throw on very next play and returned it 20 yards to the Duke 5-yard line. Steelman did the honors two plays later with a one-yard quarterback sneak. Carlton’s second extra point pushed the Army lead to 14-0 with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
The Duke offense settled down on its next possession, marching 70 yards in eight plays for its first touchdown of the game. Backup quarterback Brandon Connette, the Blue Devils’ “running” quarterback went in from 10 yards out on his first snap to cut the Army lead to 14-7 with 1:33 left in the first half.
The teams exchanged punts before the Black Knights found the end zone for the third time. Army milked four minutes, 36 seconds off the clock during a 10-play, 57-yard drive, 51 of which came on the ground. Cobbs scored his second touchdown of the first half on a four-yard jaunt around the left side. Carlton was good on his extra-point try to extend Army’s lead back to 14 points at 21-7 with 5:27 left in the second quarter.
The Black Knights forced another punt, but were forced to start at their own 5-yard line with 3:03 left in the half. Army picked up a first down, but was content to go into the locker room with the 14-point advantage.
Army outgained the Blue Devils in the first half, 185-83, including a 163-62 edge on the ground. Five Army players ran for at least 20 yards in the first 20 minutes led by Steelman’s 42 yards on 11 carries. Steelman also completed two of his four throws, both to Barr, for 20 yards in the opening half.
Scott paced the Blue Devils with 34 rushing yards on seven carries through the first two quarters. Renfree completed 4 of 9 throws for 23 yards and the two interceptions in the first 30 minutes.
After Army went three-and-out on its opening possession, the Black Knights’ defense put the offense in business yet again when Travis fell on a fumble that Jarett Mackey ripped free from Vernon. The Black Knights took possession at the Duke 34-yard line, and Steelman found Maples on the first play for Army’s first passing touchdown of the season. Carlton’s PAT pushed Army’s lead to 28-7 with 12:35 to go on the third quarter.
McNary accounted for Army’s fourth takeaway of the game when he recovered an unforced fumble by Renfree to give the Black Knights a first down at their own 47-yard line with 9:57 left in the third quarter. After six straight running plays, Steelman faked an option and lofted a ball to Barr running down the left hash. The junior hauled it in and completed the 31-yard scoring play with 6:31 left in the quarter. Carlton drilled his fifth extra point to push Army’s lead to 35-7.
The Blue Devils used the big play to get back on the scoreboard. Renfree hit Vernon for a 58-yard strike down the right sideline to cap an eight-play, 82-yard scoring drive. The PAT cut the Blue Devils’ deficit to 35-14 with 14:52 left in the final quarter.
Duke finished the scoring with a five-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 21-yard pass from Renfree to Brandon Braxton with 1:41 left in the game. The extra point set the final score at 35-21.
Army recovered the Blue Devils’ final onside kick attempt and was able to run out the clock.
The Black Knights’ win was their third straight on an opponent’s home field. It is Army’s longest winning streak in true road games since winning six in a row over the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
Army returns home on Saturday, Oct. 2 when it hosts Temple. The annual homecoming tilt will kick off at 12 p.m. and will be televised live by CBS College Sports Network. The first 5,000 fans through the gates at Michie Stadium will receive a Glenn Davis bobblehead.
For tickets, call the Army Athletics box office at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or click here.