Duke, Wake Forest, ECU hold preseason scrimmages

Here are some of the highlights from Saturday's practice games, as reported by the three schools

ECU's swarming defense wraps up a ballcarrier during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (ECU photo by Rob Goldberg Jr.)

Duke, East Carolina and Wake Forest each held intrasquad scrimmages on Saturday as their respective coaching staffs work to evaluate their team’s preseason progress and begin the task of developing depth charts.

Here are some of the highlights from the practice games, as reported by the three schools:

DUKE — Freshman running backs took center stage during the Blue Devils’ 85-snap scrimmage at Wallace Wade Stadium. Marvin Hubbard III picked up 119 yards on 23 carries while redshirt Brittain Brown added 61 yards on nine attempts. He also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones.

Senior Shaun Wilson, the returning starter at the running back position, also had an impressive night with 55 yards on six carries — 35 of which came on one touchdown run.

Jones was 5 of 12 in the passing game for 49 yards and the touchdown pass to Brown. The sophomore also ran for a score. Backup Quentin Harris was 6 of 11 for 48 yards.

Junior Johnathan Lloyd was the top receiver in the game with three catches, though only for 17 yards. Freshmen Scott Bracey and Noah Gray had two receptions each, with Bracy picking up 32 yards and Gray 11.

Defensively, sophomore ends Twazanga Mugala and Tre Hornbuckle each recorded a sack, Josh Blackwell and Jordan Hayes had interceptions and Alonzo Saxton II recovered a fumble.

ECU — Defense carried the day for the Pirates during their first full-scale scrimmage at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, forcing six turnovers and recording eight tackles for loss.  

Linebacker Jordan Williams was the standout with a team-leading seven tackles and an interception. D’Andre Beverly also picked off a pass for an opportunistic defense that also forced five fumbles, taking away four.

Offensively, semi-incumbent starter Gardner Minshew and Duke transfer Thomas Sirk took the bulk of the snaps in the 84-play controlled scrimmage. Neither appeared to have gained any separation from the other as Minshew went 11 of 17 for 181 yards and Sirk went 9 of 14 for 118 yards. Both threw for touchdowns, with Minshew hooking up with Mydreon Vines for a 10-yard score and Sirk hitting Terrell Green from 18 yards out. Sirk also threw an interception.

Derrell Scott picked up where he left off in the Pirates’ spring game by leading all rushers with 58 yards on seven carries. He also had a 32-yard reception. Clemson transfer Tyshon Dye added 21 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Wide receivers Jimmy Williams and Davon Grayson, defensive tackle Demage Bailey and defensive back Travon Simmons — all projected starters — were held out of the scrimmage because of injuries. Defensive end Gaelin Elmore and defensive back Tim Irvin were limited for precautionary reasons after being “getting nicked” during the course of play.

WAKE FOREST — In contrast to ECU, the Deacons’ offense that shined brightest during a two-hour scrimmage at Wake’s Doc Martin Practice Complex.

Senior quarterback John Wolford led an attack that accounted for 31 points by throwing for three touchdowns — an 11-yarder to freshman Sage Surratt, a 46-yarder to Cortez Lewis and a 16-yarder to tight end Devin Pike.

Wolford completed 10 of his 15 passes for 204 yards. While his performance drew praise, coach Dave Clawson stopped short of proclaiming Wolford as the front-runner in his battle with redshirt sophomore Kendall Hinton for the starting job. Hinton was 6 of 9 for 77 yards, but as Clawson noted, the scrimmage format is “always tough with Kendall (because) you’re going to run the quarterback more and in a scrimmage, he gets touched and he’s down.”

Redshirt freshman Greg Dortch was the Deacons’ top receiver with six catches for 99 yards. He also ran for a 63-yard touchdown.

Defensively, safety Thomas Dillon was the top tackler with seven. Defensive end Chris Calhoun had five tackles and one of his team’s five sacks.