Third time's no charm. For the third straight season, the Virginia Cavaliers were unable to stop a Duke Blue Devils squad that simply believes they are the better team. But for the first time season, the story is not that the Cavalier offense was lacking while the defense was holding down the fort. Instead, it was the defense that was nowhere to be found in the 55-48 loss that goes down as the second-highest scoring ACC game in history. And with the loss, most of the talk last week by the media about how UVA was still a bowl contender is quickly fizzling away.
The Cavaliers will have to win out their final three games of the season, which is no easy task. The lineup includes Maryland at home, Boston College on the road, and Virginia Tech on the road. Ask any Virginia fan, though – only one of those games matter.
Saturday was nothing short of record-setting. Virginia’s 48 points are the most scored in a UVa loss – and in fact, the most scored by a losing team in any ACC game. Dontrelle Inman was two yards short of tying Ken Shelton’s 241 receiving yard record, set back in 1974 against William & Mary.
Marc Verica becomes the only Cavalier in UVa history to have thrown for more than 400 yards in a game, and now holds the record at 417, beating Matt Schaub’s line in the record books of 393, set in 2003 against N.C. State.
When all was said and done, Virginia racked up 643 total offense yards, while Duke put up 489. However, also contributing to the loss was the Cavaliers’ 11 penalties, costing them a total of 103 yards. Compare this to Duke’s 3 penalties for 20 yards. Marc Verica threw for three interceptions (though, four touchdowns on the day) while Duke’s Sean Renfree had a turnover-free day.
"We can't do things," head coach Mike London said, "that are going to knock you back and take you out of field position or make it second and long because you can dial up things and put pressure back on the offense or the defense for that matter. We had 11 and they had three - that is not acceptable. Then the turnovers compound that. Like I said it is frustrating. We have to get it fixed and I have to do a better job myself."
It should be noted that the Virginia defense was short-handed on Saturday. Ras-I Dowling, who has been fighting with hamstring and knee injuries, was out once again for this game. Chase Minnifield came on for just a couple series before returning back to the sideline on his sore ankle.
"Guys are hurt in that lockerroom right there. It was a game of we couldn't stop them, they couldn't stop us - who was going to have the most possessions. They got the possession when it counted and they scored."
The Hoos return to the cozy confines of Scott Stadium next week to face a Maryland Terrapins squad that has been on the rise, despite dropping Saturday’s game to Miami.