Thad Lewis threw three touchdown passes to Eron Riley and Vincent Rey returned a fumble for a score to help Duke beat Navy 41-31 on Saturday.
Lewis threw for 317 yards while running for 41 more, and Riley finished with eight catches for 137 yards for the Blue Devils (2-1), who bounced back from their first loss under new coach David Cutcliffe last weekend. Tielor Robinson added a short TD run in the third quarter as Duke rallied from a 24-20 halftime deficit.
It was the second straight year in which Lewis and Riley tormented Navy. Last season, Lewis found Riley for four touchdowns, with Riley finishing that game with six catches for 235 yards. But the Blue Devils blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead in that one before falling on a last-play field goal.
This time, the duo got plenty of help from their teammates as Duke looked determined not to let this one get away.
Shun White and Tyree Barnes each scored long touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen (1-2), who statistically had a good day running the football but had trouble doing it consistently. White _ who ran for a school-record 348 yards in the opener in 128 last week _ ran for a 73-yard score down the right side on Navy's first possession, yet managed just 39 yards on 14 carries the rest of the day.
And before Tyree's 68-yard scoring catch with 5 seconds left in the third quarter, Navy managed just 22 yards on 12 plays in the period.
Navy finished with 207 yards rushing and 357 total yards. Duke had 396 total yards.
It was the kind of performance that can only further bolster Duke's growing confidence since Cutcliffe's arrival. The Blue Devils beat James Madison in the opener for their first home win in three years, then lost 24-20 to Northwestern last week in a game that had the normally beleaguered players saying they weren't happy being just a .500 team.
That's not to say the Blue Devils did everything right. A muffed punt return by Leon Wright set up Navy's second touchdown of the first quarter, and they went three-and-out deep in their own end just before halftime to set up Bobby Doyle's 17-yard TD run for a 24-17 lead with 22 seconds left.
But, unlike past years, Duke found ways to respond when things went badly. The Blue Devils answered Doyle's run by getting a quick drive to set up a career-long 52-yard field goal from Joe Surgan to end the first half. Then, after Tyree's TD cut Duke's lead to 34-31, Lewis found Riley, who cut across the middle of the field and broke free down the right sideline for a 49-yard score that pushed the lead back to 10 with about 10 1/2 minutes to play.
Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada made his first appearance of the season for Navy after missing the first two games with a hamstring strain. The quarterback ran for 28 yards and threw for 45 yards with a touchdown, but left the game late in the first half due to heat exhaustion and was replaced by Jarod Bryant.
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