DURHAM, N.C. — Sean Renfree threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns and Duke scored 30 points in the second quarter of its 46-26 rout of Florida International on Saturday.
Brandon Connette ran for one score and threw for another, and Ross Cockrell returned a blocked field goal 75 yards for a touchdown that capped the Blue Devils' most productive quarter since 1999.
Conner Vernon had 10 catches for 180 yards and a 28-yard touchdown and set a school record with his 208th career reception.
"It's real exciting to see what this team's capable of doing," he said. "We said it all summer how good this team really is, and I think we showed it out there."
Duke beat a I-A team in its season opener for the first time since 2002 and ended a seven-game losing streak dating to last season's victory over FIU.
This one was all but over at halftime after a big special teams play by the Blue Devils produced a 10-point swing and huge shift in momentum.
FIU drove to the Duke 13 in the final seconds of the half and lined up for a 30-yard field goal that would have cut the deficit to 13 points. But Austin Gamble blocked Jack Griffin's kick. Cockrell scooped up the ball and cut across the field to put Duke up 37-14.
"As soon as I touched the ball, I thought touchdown," Cockrell said. "And my teammates did, too."
That capped the Blue Devils' highest-scoring half since 41 points in the first half of a 1999 win against Wake Forest. That's also the last time they scored at least 30 points in a quarter.
Kedrick Rhodes rushed for 130 yards and a 1-yard touchdown and caught a 67-yard touchdown for the Panthers.
"We had 'em early," Rhodes said. "We had a couple mistakes here and there that we're going to tweak."
Ga. Southern 58, jacksonville 0: Sophomores Ezayi Youyoute and Dominique Swope each ran for three touchdowns and more than 100 yards for the host Eagles, who totaled 557 rushing yards. Georgia Southern, which reached the I-AA semifinals last season, held the Dolphins to 178 total yards and 11 first downs.