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FINAL: Virginia 34, Duke 20

Defense gets greedy, forces six turnovers to spark huge win for UVA program

NCAA Football: Virginia at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia football slayed some demons while beating some Devils on Saturday. With a 34-20 win at Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, the UVA football team won its first road game in almost four years.

The first half was all about UVA’s young defensive backs. Virginia picked off Duke QB Daniel Jones four times, including two from true freshman Bryce Hall. On the other side of the ball, Kurt Benkert made several “whoa” throws, including one that Olamide Zaccheaus snagged with his fingertips in the back of the end zone.

UVA took a 20-10 lead into the half, the Cavaliers’ third straight game with a halftime lead.

Virginia extended its lead in the third quarter. Duke knocked in a FG from 21 yards out but UVA responded with another incredible throw from Benkert, who found TE Richard Burney to make the score 27-13.

Senior LB Micah Kiser took matters into his own hands in the fourth quarter. Duke had stopped a Virginia fake punt attempt at midfield and threatened to score and tie the game. Kiser knocked down two Jones pass attempts, then sacked the freshman QB on fourth down to give the ball—and momentum—back to UVA.

A bad Benkert interception gave Duke the ball back within striking distance of scoring, but the defense bowed its neck again. Another batted ball on 4th down gave UVA the ball back with six minutes to play.

The Hoos couldn't do anything with it despite a miraculous Taquan Mizzell run. Nicholas Conte dropped the ensuing punt at Duke’s own 1—his second such punt of the day—and Virginia’s defense sealed the deal. Jordan Mack came unblocked on a blitz, hammered Jones and knocked the ball loose, and Eli Hanback covered it up in the endzone for the Hoos’ fifth touchdown of the day.

The next Duke drive ended like five before it: with a turnover. Juan Thornhill got HIS second pick of the day, and Virginia nailed down its first road win since November 2012.

Virginia has a week off before returning home to take on Pitt. Duke next plays Army on October 8th in Durham.