DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Shaun Wilson had two long touchdown runs to lead Duke past Baylor 34-20 on Saturday.
Wilson rushed for 176 yards and scored on runs of 50 and 65 yards to help the Blue Devils (3-0) open with three consecutive victories for just the second time since 1994.
Brittain Brown added a 34-yard TD run, Ben Humphreys returned an interception 22 yards for a score – one of four turnovers forced by Duke – and Austin Parker kicked two field goals, including a career-long 45-yarder.
The Bears seemed determined not to let Daniel Jones beat them: Jones was 20 of 35 for 193 yards but was sacked five times and was held without a touchdown for the first time this season.
Sophomore Zach Smith was 12-of-34 for 263 yards in his first start of the season for Baylor (0-3) with three touchdowns – including two long ones to Chris Platt. Smith connected with Platt on scores of 73 and 79 yards, after hitting Denzel Mims with a 44-yard score.
But his third interception – the pick-six he threw directly to Humphreys – came at a bad time, with the Bears trailing by three points early in the fourth quarter.
The Bears are off to their worst start since the 1999 team opened with four straight losses on its way to a 1-10 finish in Kevin Steele’s first season.
Baylor: Unlike the losses to Liberty and UTSA, the Bears came out of this one with plenty to feel good about. The defense made two stands in the red zone and harassed Jones all day, while Smith – who replaced graduate transfer Anu Solomon in the starting lineup – showed the kind of big-play ability that’s a Big 12 trademark. The Bears need more consistency, though: Take away the three long scoring passes, and Smith was 9 of 31 for 67 yards.
Duke: The offense didn’t look nearly as smooth as it did in the first two weeks, with Jones under duress all day and the line making some mistakes at key times – such as the chop-block penalty that negated Jones’ 2-yard touchdown run, one play before Jones threw an interception in the end zone. Wilson and Brown bailed the passing game out with enough big plays on the ground to keep them unbeaten heading into their rivalry matchup with North Carolina.
Baylor: The Bears return home next Saturday to begin Big 12 play against No. 2 Oklahoma.
Duke: Makes the short trip to face rival North Carolina next Saturday in their ACC opener.