Duke finds its game, routs Charlotte

Charlotte’s Connor Bowler has his punt blocked by Duke’s Isaiah Fisher-Smith during the Blue Devils’ 53-19 win Saturday in Durham. (Jaylynn Nash / Pool Photo via AP)

DURHAM — Mataeo Durant and Deon Jackson both scored on a pair of touchdown runs as Duke, aided by short scoring drives, defeated Charlotte 53-19 on Saturday night.

Duke’s Isaiah Fisher-Smith blocked two punts that set up quick scoring possessions for the Blue Devils (2-5), who won for the first time in three home games this season.

Durant gained 104 yards on 12 carries and Jackson picked up 101 yards rushing on 10 attempts. Chase Brice completed 8 of 14 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.

None of Duke’s scoring possessions took longer than eight plays, and five of those consisted of four or fewer plays.

Charlotte’s Chris Reynolds was 18-for-34 passing for 171 yards and a touchdown.

Jackson ran 65 yards on the second snap of the game for a touchdown. The Blue Devils extended the lead at the 6:10 mark of the first quarter on Durant’s 3-yard run, with Duke needing to go only 31 yards following a blocked punt.

The 49ers (2-3) got on the board on Micaleous Elder’s 5-yard run in the second quarter to complete a 17-play march. Charlotte’s second touchdown came when it was ruled that receiver Victor Tucker wrestled the ball from cornerback Jeremiah Lewis in the end zone on a 6-yard pass from Reynolds with 5:50 left in the third quarter.

Duke’s second-to-last touchdown came on Jordan Waters’ 2-yard run after Charlotte’s failed fourth-down play gave the Blue Devils the ball at the 49ers’ 19. Waters’ 70-yard run set up backup quarterback Gunnar Holmberg’s 1-yard sneak for the final touchdown.

The 49ers had scored first in their four previous games, outscoring opponents by a combined 31-7 in the first quarter. They didn’t get on the scoreboard until the 4:21 mark of the second quarter on Elder’s 5 run.

The Blue Devils blocked a punt for the second game in a row – this time doing it twice. Just like in the game against North Carolina State, the first one came in the first quarter and was blocked by Fisher-Smith. He blocked a third-quarter punt and recovered the ball, leading to a Duke touchdown on the next play.