EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Duke passed its first road test of the season at UConn with high marks while preparing for much tougher exams ahead.
Riley Leonard threw for 248 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as the 18th-ranked Blue Devils routed winless Connecticut 41-7 on Saturday with a dominant defensive performance.
Duke (4-0) held UConn (0-4) to 203 total yards and allowed just 32 yards in the first half to take a 27-0 lead. The Huskies’ only score came with 12 seconds left in the game.
Duke defensive tackle DeWayne Carter put an exclamation point on the win in the third quarter. The 305-pound team captain picked up a Jalen Mitchell fumble and rumbled 27 yards for a touchdown.
Duke, which hosts No. 9 Notre Dame next week, is 4-0 for the first time since 2018.
“It was great to go out there and get a job done, to get an early lead, to get out in front at halftime and then to kind of put that thing away so we could rest a lot of our players in the fourth quarter,” coach Mike Elko said.
The Huskies, three-touchdown underdogs, also suffered several self-inflicted wounds that put them in a hole early.
Connecticut lost Jackson Mitchell, the team’s top tackler, to a targeting call early. That eventually led to Jordan Waters’ 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that put the Blue Devils on the board. Duke’s Nick Morris Jr. later recovered a fumbled pitch, leading to a 10-yard touchdown run for Waters in the second quarter.
Leonard’s final pass of the game, a 22-yard touchdown to a wide-open Jordan Moore, made it 41-0.
Leonard finished the game 23 of 34 in the air with no interceptions and completed passes to six receivers. He had just 530 yards and one touchdown passing over the first three games.
“I think we definitely improved in the throw game today,” Moore said. “It was an emphasis the whole week and all the receivers played well, Riley played really well and he got the ball to everybody, spread it out a lot.”
Duke’s Todd Pelino had two field goals, including a career-long 50-yarder.
The Blue Devils host No. 9 Notre Dame next Saturday night in Durham.