When Duke’s staff recruited quarterback Brandon Connette, it knew they were getting a player who could run. Considering the Blue Devils entered this season with only one quarterback who had ever played a snap of college football, they also knew it would be likely Connette would see some playing time.
He’s certainly made the most of it.
Connette, a true freshman who enrolled in January, has given Duke another option in its offense, as his ability to run the ball adds a different dimension. He has been used mostly in short yardage situations and red zone packages. He enters Saturday’s game against Boston College as the the team’s second leading rusher with 281 yards and leads the team with six rushing touchdowns.
He had a 48-yard run in the opener against Elon, and has scored touchdowns in five games. He led the team in rushing against Virginia Tech with 43 yards on eight carries and had a career-high 78 yards and two touchdowns against Virginia. He also set a new school single-game scoring record for freshmen last week against the Cavaliers with 14 total points on touchdown runs of two yards and 20 yards and a two-point conversion that gave Duke a seven-point edge with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
Cutcliffe said the staff’s use of Connette is situational.
“Also some of it is based on what a defense is doing to deploy against us, the kind of success we're having in other areas,” Cutcliffe said. “It's always there. We have grown that offense, grown that system, and continue to do that. It's something we're going to do. So we're kind of liking where we're headed with it.”