- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Recapping the early-evening games ...
Thornton not only played in his first collegiate game, but he got his first collegiate start and he made the most of it, running for 145 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Thornton started in place of the injured James Washington and Tony Creecy and the suspended Mustafa Greene and gave this running game a huge jolt.
Do I need to remind you that Creecy went into the game as the team's leading rusher with 130 yards? Thornton was the only healthy running back to practice all week, and became the first NC State freshman to go over 100 yards rushing in his first game since Joe McIntosh did it against Richmond in 1981. NC State finished with 282 rushing yards, its highest team total since 297 against Southern Mississippi in 2005.
David Amerson recorded an interception in his third consecutive game and now is in a tie for the school record with 16 for his career.
Duke 38, Memphis 14: It was not the prettiest game for the Blue Devils, who struggled to put away one of the worst teams in college football. But they absolutely dominated the second half and are now 3-1 headed into their game at Wake Forest last week.
Turnovers and missed opportunities plagued this team -- there were fumbles at the Memphis 14 and at the goal line, and a muffed punt, too. Duke finished at minus-four in turnover margin (four turnovers to zero for Memphis) and found itself trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter. But Sean Renfree found his groove, and so did the defense -- which ended up holding Memphis to nine first downs and 1-of-11 on third down for the night.
Renfree ended up going 26-of-37 for 314 yards with four touchdown passes and one interception. Conner Vernon had eight catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns for the 11th 100-yard game of his career.
Duke now opens the season with three consecutive home wins for the first time since 1994.