Henry Belin IV throws 2 TD passes in 1st career start, No. 17 Duke beats N.C. State 24-3

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Sunday, October 15, 2023
No. 17 Duke hosts ACC foe NC State for first time since 2013
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This will be the first meeting between the programs in Durham since 2013 when the Blue Devils won in dramatic fashion.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Henry Belin IV threw two touchdown passes in his first career start and No. 17 Duke benefitted from a dominant defensive performance to beat NC State 24-3 on Saturday night.

The Blue Devils (5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) limited NC State (4-3, 1-2) to 301 yards of total offense.

"We emphasized we needed to step up on defense with Riley (Leonard) going down," Duke linebacker Tre Freeman said. "We just knew we got a young quarterback coming in and we have to step up for him."

Duke's Jordan Waters rushed for 123 yards on 13 carries, the highlight an 83-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Belin was filling in for Riley Leonard, who wasn't in uniform after suffering an ankle injury in the final seconds of a loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago. Belin, a redshirt freshman, completed 4 of 12 passes for 107 yards with an interception.

"Our defense is amazing every game," Belin said. "We kind of expect our defense to come out and do what they do."

NC State's offensive line struggled to give adequate protection to quarterback MJ Morris. Here, Duke's Aaron Hall (96) pushes past Dylan McMahon to bring pressure.
Ben McKeown

NC State had trouble sustaining offense in MJ Morris' second start of the season at quarterback. He replaced Brennan Armstrong in the first-string role prior to a 48-41 home win over Marshall a week ago, but there was no big point total for the Wolfpack this time. Morris was 24 for 40 for 193 yards and an interception.

"This is a game where 11 guys got to do their job," NC State coach Dave Doeren said. "Offense was just penalty after penalty, drop after drop, was dysfunctional the first half."

Duke had its 11 defenders in sync, something coach Mike Elko knew would be critical. He said whichever team played best on defense would be in good shape.

"It had to be us," Elko said. "I thought the story of our game was defense."

NC State's only points came on Brayden Narveson's school-record 57-yard field goal to open the scoring less than two minutes into the game. The kick followed an inception by Shyheim Battle, who returned the ball to the Duke 38.

"You have to move on to the next play," Belin said. "It was next-play mentality and to go out and do what we're supposed to do."

Duke, which had 301 yards of offense, had the next batch of big plays.

The Blue Devils' first points came on Jalon Calhoun's 69-yard touchdown catch from Belin. The lead grew to 10-3 on Todd Pelino's career-long 52-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Duke scored one play after Tre Freeman's interception and return to the NC State 8. Belin threw to tight end Jeremiah Hasley for the points for a 17-3 halftime lead.

Belin didn't connect on his only second-half pass.

"It was a little weird, the four (total) completions thing," Belin said.


NC State fans flooded parts of Duke's Wallace Wade Stadium in the Wolfpack's first visit in 10 years despite the campuses only 22 miles apart. That made for an electric atmosphere at times.

Rain began falling late in the second quarter, scattering a portion of the crowd.

Duke has played five of its six games at home.


NC State: The Wolfpack's quarterback experiment with Morris might need to be revisited as he struggled mightily, in part because of an offense line that didn't provide much protection. Plus, penalties were problems for NC State, especially with nine first-half infractions.

"We knew going into that game that we would not win if we were not disciplined, and we weren't," Doeren said.

Duke: The Blue Devils had enough big plays to allow them to cover up some early offensive glitches. Duke managed just 98 yards of second-half total offense, with most of those coming on Waters' long run.


Duke should be in line for a slight bump up after showing a strong bounce-back performance from its only loss despite playing without its first-string quarterback. Four of the next five games for the Blue Devils are on the road.


After a bye week, NC State will host Clemson on Oct. 28.

Duke: At No. 4 Florida State on Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed.