Duke's Renfree ready to 'cut loose'

Quarterback confident after first victory of 2011

Staff WriterSeptember 20, 2011 

Add one more completion for Duke redshirt junior quarterback Sean Renfree.

In leading the Blue Devils to a 20-19 victory over Boston College on Saturday, one of Renfree's pass completions - a nine-yard strike to freshman Jamison Crowder - was credited as a completion for reserve quarterback Anthony Boone.

Renfree's official passing line from that game has been changed to: 41 of 53 for 368 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

His 41 completions sets a new school single-game record, moving him past the previous mark of 40 set by Thaddeus Lewis against N.C. State in 2009.

Duke (1-2, 1-0 ACC) now heads into its home-game against Tulane on Saturday with a confident quarterback and a team that's relieved to avoid an 0-3 start.

"Getting a win, that's where you get all your confidence from," Renfree said. "I could care less how many completions I threw for, how many touchdowns I threw for. Getting a win makes you feel so much better, not only individually, but everybody on the team. And you feel that much better when you go back to work at practice the next day. It's almost like winning cures everything."

Last week, Duke coach David Cutcliffe urged Renfree to "cut loose" after he showed some hesitant play in losses against Richmond and Stanford, and the second year starter heeded that advice.

Looking like the quarterback who passed for 3,131 yards last season, Renfree finished with a career-high in yards and completed 77.3 percent of his throws - the ninth-best single-game mark in school history.

He's been that accurate before and owns three of the top-nine completion percentage performances in school history.

Cutcliffe said offensive coordinator Kurt Roper challenged Renfree with his play-calling on Saturday.

"It kind of loosened him up," Cutcliffe said. "He made some throws down field that he hadn't been making. He also had lots of opportunities with our screen game. He got rolling."

With his offensive line pass-protecting in front of him, Renfree fired a 53-yard, confidence-building touchdown pass to junior receiver Conner Vernon early in the second quarter to jumpstart the team's rally. It was his longest completion of the game.

Renfree was hit on the play and remained on the turf for a few minutes unable to get up. He didn't know the Devils had scored a touchdown until Cutcliffe told him.

"I feel fine now," Renfree said. "I feel much better after getting a win."

Renfree was a backup to Lewis in 2009 when he set the record. He didn't care that he edged his friend in the record book.

"It's not that big of a deal," Renfree said. "The best thing I feel about throwing that many completions is that I contributed to that win in a significant way. ... That's what I'm most proud of."

erobinson@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4781

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service