Durant’s 3 TDs not enough as Charlotte shocks Duke, 31-28


Charlotte tight end Ryan Carriere (85) is tackled by Duke safety Lummie Young IV (23) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – Mataeo Durant’s three touchdowns weren’t enough to see Duke to a season-opening win in Charlotte as the hosting 49ers scored with 33 seconds left to edge the Blue Devils, 31-28.

The win is Charlotte’s first over a Power 5 team in program history.

Chris Reynolds connected with Shadrick Byrd for an 11-yard touchdown to put Charlotte ahead with 33 seconds to play. Duke had taken the lead, 28-24, less than two minutes prior when Durant ripped off a 53-yard run to the end zone.

Reynolds helped the hosts jump out to an early lead when he found Grant DuBose for a 56-yard touchdown. Charlotte added a field goal to take a 10-0 lead with 10:22 left in the second quarter.

The Blue Devils answered back with a pair of touchdowns before halftime. Gunnar Holmberg and Jordan Waters linked up for a 43-yard score. Then, on their next possession, Durant scampered in from 5 yards out for his first score of the game.

Renolds punched one in from a yard out a little more than five minutes into the third to restore Charlotte’s lead. Durant’s second touchdown — a 59-yard run — put Duke ahead 21-17 early in the fourth quarter.

Durant’s third scoring run gave Duke its short-lived lead. He finished the game with 255 yards rushing. Holmberg threw for 202 yards on 18-of-26 passing.

Reynolds was 10-for-30 with three touchdowns in the air. He added a fourth on the ground.

Duke will host North Carolina A&T on Sept. 10 for its season opener.

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