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Duke topples Black Knights in football season opener

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The Army West Point football team dropped its season opener at Duke here Friday night 34-14.

Junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. made his first career start and threw for 197 yards and a touchdown while going 10-of-18 through the air. Sophomore Camden Harrison had one of the highlights on the night with a 45-yard touchdown reception.

Senior Calen Holt was Army’s leading rusher with 54 yards, while Hopkins had the lone rushing score for the Black Knights in the loss. Army gained a total of 365 yards and had more passing yards (197) than rushing yards (168) for the first time since the 2015 Army-Navy Game.

HIGHLIGHTS AND GAME NOTES

n Army started the season on a Friday night for the fourth year in a row and is 2-2 in those games.

n Duke leads the all-time series at 14-11-3.

n The Black Knights had four players that made their first career start.

n Army threw for over 100 yards in a game for the first time since Oct. 29, 2016 at Wake Forest.

n This was Hopkins Jr.’s first career start at quarterback.

n Harrison caught his first career touchdown pass with a 45-yard connection with Hopkins Jr.

HOW IT HAPPENED

n The Black Knights stopped the Blue Devils on their opening drive of the game but turned the ball over to the home side after fumbling two plays into their first offensive possession. Duke converted on a 25-yard field goal a couple plays later to break the scoreless deadlock at 3-0.

n The Blue Devils added to their lead with a 12-yard scamper early in the second quarter to create a 10-0 gap between the teams. Duke used a nine play, 80-yard drive that ate up only 3:37 from the clock.

n After the Cadets turned the ball over for the second time in the game at the Duke 32 midway through the period, the Blue Devils used a big pass play of 61 yards to get themselves into scoring position. On the next snap, Duke crossed the goal line for a one-yard touchdown rush by Daniel Jones making it a 17-0 ballgame.

n James Gibson came up with a huge defensive play when he stopped the Duke offense with a strip sack three minutes into the second half. Wunmi Oyetuga immediately fell on the ball to recover it for the visitors. Starting the drive from their own 45, the Cadets then marched down the field and converted on an 11 play, 55-yard drive for their first score of the game. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. registered his first touchdown of the season to pull Army within 17-7.

n The Blue Devils quickly answered with a seven play, 68-yard drive of their own to extend the lead back to a 17-point advantage at 24-7.

n And back-and-forth we went as Army responded with a score of their own, thanks in part to a Hopkins Jr.-Harrison connection of 45 yards. It marked Army’s first touchdown reception since Oct. 21, 2017, and cut the deficit down to 24-14.

n Unfortunately, the home side used two big pass plays during their next possession to break free for another score, taking a 31-14 lead with 13:27 remaining in the game.

n Duke then capitalized a field goal block to increase its lead to 34-14 with a field goal from Collin Wareham from 30 yards out. n