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September 2, 2006

Devils fall hard in season opener

The stage was set for Duke to have a good start to the 2006 season. A large home opening crowd, a division 1-AA opponent, and renewed optimism after a solid fall camp all seemed to point to a Blue Devil victory over Richmond.

However, the large crowd could only shake its collective head as the Spiders shutout Duke 13-0.

The Blue Devils had a pair of chances late in the game to bring victory within reach, but freshman quarterback Thaddeus Lewis was stopped short of the goal line on a pair of fourth-and-goal plays to seal Duke's fate.

Lewis entered the game on Duke's third offensive series, according to the game plan the coaching staff had formulated. However, the strong armed freshman took over for good late in the second quarter.

In Marcus Jones' three series under center, he completed two of six passes for 11 yards.

The Blue Devils could never establish any momentum in the game after a deflating turnover on the second play from center.

Jones connected with wide receiver Jomar Wright on a quick hitch, but the normally reliable junior fumbled the football when Richmond safety Stephen Howell made the hit.

Duke's defense held the Spiders to a field goal, but the fumble proved to be a bad omen.

Richmond strung together a nine play, 75 yard drive early in the second quarter, taking a 10-0 lead when quarterback Eric Ward threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Aman Shields on a third and 10 play.

Duke had a pair of opportunities to put points on the board in the first half, but the kicking game failed to capitalize.

Joe Surgan misfired on a 42-yard try and then had a 43-yard attempt blocked by Richmond linebacker Adam Goloboski.

Duke's defense gave the Blue Devils a chance to win, but the Spiders controlled the clock, and save for a late turnover inside their own 10 yard line, never allowed Duke to gain any tangible hope.

Mike Tauiliili led Duke's defense with 11 tackles, and redshirt freshman Vince Oghobaase had an impressive debut and was a key factor against the run.

To add salt to the wound, the injury bug bit Duke hard in Saturday night's game. Justin Boyle and Ronnie Drummer both left the game in the first half with what appeared to be ankle injuries. Late in the fourth quarter, safety Chris Davis was also taken off the field after making a tackle.


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