Brandon Connette entered the season as Duke’s backup quarterback and change of pace back. However, an injury to Anthony Boone’s shoulder allowed Connette to get a few starts under his belt and he responded by showing he can be more than a change of pace quarterback. However, with Boone’s return, Connette was relegated to that role once again.
That doesn’t both the fourth-year junior quarterback though. He seems to relish in getting the ball near the end zone and on Saturday’s 48-30 win over 24th ranked Miami, Connette participated in five touchdowns, four of them on runs. Those four touchdowns were a career-high for him and was the first player since Justin Boyle did it in 2006. They also set the school record for rushing touchdowns with 25, surpassing the record previously held by Tom Davis, a record set in 1945.
Head Coach David Cutcliffe has not hesitated to turn to Connette if he sees Boone struggling and teams can no longer just count on Connette to run the football. Miami found that out when Connette found Shaquille Powell for a 22-yard touchdown pass that cut Miami’s lead to 17-14. But it is with the legs that Connette does the most damage. He won’t break free for huge gains and isn’t dynamic like a Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III but he is a tough kid who just knows how to find the end zone and isn’t afraid of what stands between him and the goal line.
The 2013 season seems to be one of records and firsts for Duke as Cutcliffe has the Blue Devils at eight wins for the first time since 1994 and Duke has a legitimate shot to finish the season at 10-2. Connette has played a huge role in that and has created a two-headed threat with Boone at the quarterback position.
Duke has two more games on the regular season schedule with matchups against Wake Forest and North Carolina over the next two weeks. They won’t be easy wins but Duke has shown by beating two ranked teams in Virginia Tech and Miami that they are for real. For the first time in a long time Duke fans have something to cheer about and Brandon Connette has done everything he can to keep them happy.