DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Here's how far Duke has come: For a long while, the Blue Devils weren't anywhere near their best — yet they were still good enough to blow another team out.
Duke routed Memphis 38-14 on Saturday night behind 314 yards passing and four touchdowns from Sean Renfree.
Renfree was 26 of 37 with TDs covering 37 and 31 yards to Conner Vernon, 16 yards to Desmond Scott and 8 yards to Brandon Connette for the Blue Devils (3-1), who outgained the Tigers 500-152 and are off to their best start since 2008.
"It just goes to show the depth and talent we have on this team, and the will to fight. Nobody was ready to back down, lay down," Vernon said. "We knew we weren't playing Duke football like we usually do, and we just had to come out and execute."
Connette also had a 4-yard touchdown run for Duke, which had four turnovers — two in the red zone, a third returned for a touchdown — but held Memphis (0-4) to 54 total yards in the second half. The Tigers didn't crack the 100-yard mark until late in the third quarter.
"I don't even know how many sacks we had (four), but it looks like we were just going down the line, just all taking our shots," Duke defensive end Kenny Anunike said. "Now we know that we can do this. We can generate sacks and get in the backfield and wreak havoc. So we need to carry this to (next week at) Wake Forest and now conference play, all the way through, and make sure that we show everybody that this is a new Duke team and that we are contenders in the ACC."
Wynton McManus took an interception 4 yards for a score and Tevin Jones added a 2-yard touchdown run for the Tigers, who led 14-7 in the second quarter before Duke pulled away. The Tigers have lost 35 of 40 games since 2009. After Jones' TD with 9:17 left before the half, Memphis didn't run another play in Duke territory until there were 5½ minutes left in the game.
"Duke thoroughly dominated us, their defense vs. our offense," Memphis coach Justin Fuente said. "It was pretty evident. It's hard to win when you get handled like that on one side of the ball."