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Sept. 15, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Sean Renfree passed for 274 yards and three touchdowns to help Duke beat North Carolina Central 54-17 on Saturday night.
The Blue Devils scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams for the first time since 2004. They improved to 2-1 for the first time since 2008, coach David Cutcliffe's first season.
Lee Butler notched Duke's first punt return for a touchdown since 2001 as the Blue Devils bounced back from a 50-13 loss at No. 21 Stanford last week.
Josh Snead rushed for a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass, becoming the first Duke player since 1999 to accomplish that feat in the same game.
Ross Cockrell intercepted two passes for the Blue Devils, returning the second for a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles, in their second year of full Football Championship Subdivision membership, dropped to 0-3 all-time against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Duke led 27-10 at halftime despite getting outgained 200-198 in total yardage and going 0 of 6 converting on third down.
Butler led the charge, returning three punts in the first quarter for a total of 106 yards. He set up Duke's first score, a 25-yard field goal by Ross Martin, with a 19-yard punt return.
When the Eagles punted on their next possession, Butler fielded the ball and ran left to elude a pair of defenders, circled back to his right - retreating 15 yards to change sides of the field. Butler then turned the corner, broke a tackle next to the sideline and sprinted the final 40 yards untouched for a 65-yard touchdown to give Duke a 10-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Renfree added touchdown passes to Snead, Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney to help Duke pull away from its in-city foe. The schools, which squared off in football for just the second time, are separated by about five miles.
The Blue Devils received a lift before the game when wide receiver Blair Holliday returned to campus. Holliday participated in the pregame coin toss and led the team on the Devil Walk, a tradition in which Duke's players walk past cheering fans to enter the stadium.
Holliday was injured in a watercraft accident July 4, suffering a traumatic brain injury that left him in critical condition.