But Boone reminded everyone Saturday of his importance to Duke, as he put on a career performance in his return. Boone completed 31 of 38 passes for 295 yards -- all career-highs -- in a 35-7 win over Navy, earning ESPN.com player of the week honors for the ACC.
What's more, Boone did not even learn that he was starting until shortly before game time, as Connette was nursing an ankle injury he had suffered earlier in the week.
“The beauty of Anthony is that he had no idea that he was going to start nor did we until Brandon Connette, who had been hurt at the end of the week in a bizarre accident, just said he can’t go," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "We thought after Brandon practiced yesterday he would be able to play and then it was worse today, and he just said, ‘I can’t go’. I’m proud of Brandon Connette for being honest with us. And then Anthony just slipped in like he hadn’t missed a beat ... I mean 31-of-38, that’s just ridiculous.”
Boone threw for three touchdown passes and helped Duke escape nonconference play unscathed for the first time in 19 years. The 4-2 Blue Devils carry a two-game winning streak into Virginia as they look to build toward notching a second straight bowl berth.
They will need more of the same from Boone, who missed three straight games while Connette took control. But Connette's status going into the matchup with the Cavaliers remains uncertain, with freshman Parker Boehme again in the No. 2 role with the chance of redshirting -- a chance that increases with Boone playing the way he did on Saturday.