Duke Blue Devils look to move to 2-0 against FCS foe Lafayette

Duke Blue Devils
Quarterback Riley Leonard and Duke are looking to improve after their surprising 9-4 season under first-year coach Mike Elko. (Terrance Williams / AP Photo)

The Duke Blue Devils follow up their biggest win in recent history — and perhaps the history of the program — with an FCS opponent on short notice. The Blue Devils beat then-No. 9 Clemson 28-7 at Wallace Wade Stadium in its opener on Labor Day Monday, pulling away for a decisive victory, their first over a top-10 team in 34 years. Now Duke — who entered The Associated Press college football rankings at No. 21 after beating the Tigers — gets Lafayette five days later.

The Leopards were 4-7 and finished third in the Patriot League last season. This is the first time Lafayette has played a current member of the ACC since 1951, two years before the league was founded. The Leopards beat Sacred Heart in their opener, 19-14.

The Game

Lafayette at Duke
Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium
Saturday, 6 p.m., ACCNX


Duke: 1-0 in 2023, 9-4 (5-3 ACC) in 2022
UConn: 1-0 in 2023, 4-7 (3-3 in Patriot) in 2022


This is the first meeting between the two schools. Duke’s men’s basketball team is 2-0 against the Leopards with wins in 1977 and 2021.

Players to Watch

Duke quarterback Riley Leonard: The junior’s 44-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the second half put the Blue Devils in front of Clemson to stay. Leonard was Duke’s leading rusher last season and added 98 yards on the ground on Monday, tops on the team. He also threw for 175 yards. About the only thing he didn’t do was get his homework in on time, asking for an extension during a postgame interview, only to get a public rebuke from his professor.

Lafayette running back Jamar Curtis: The sophomore topped his career high in yardage before halftime, running for 115 in the first half against Sacred Heart. He didn’t let up, finishing with 19 carries for 181 yards and clinching the game with a 47-yard run that gave the Leopards a late first down and allowed them to run out the rest of the clock. It’s the first time Lafayette has had 200 rushing yards as a team since 2019.


Since the game matches an FBS team against an FCS team, it is not on the board at any major sportsbook, online or in person.