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Miscues doom Virginia in 38-17 loss to Duke

The Cavaliers couldn’t fight back after digging themselves an early hole against the Blue Devils

Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Virginia suffered their second consecutive defeat in ACC play with a 38-17 loss against Duke in a game the Blue Devils controlled from start to finish. Duke broke a 13-game losing streak in ACC play, picking up 242 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries. The ‘Hoos were plagued by miscues as multiple penalties, a blocked punt, and a fumbled kickoff dug the Cavaliers into a hole that proved insurmountable.

After a promising start, the Virginia rushing attack struggled to get going against Duke as their leading rusher Perris Jones finished with just 41 yards. Things didn’t go much better through the air, as Brennan Armstrong completed just 19 of his 37 passes for 202 yards as well as one touchdown and one interception. And the Cavalier defense, which allowed just 19.3 points per game over the team’s first four contests, conceded 38 points against the Blue Devils.

Duke opened the scoring in the first quarter by rolling down the field for a six-play, 87-yard drive that ended with Duke wideout Jalon Calhoun roasting Lex Long on an out-and-up route along the right sideline. A pair of special teams miscues — a blocked punt after the ‘Hoos second drive which led to a Duke touchdown, and a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return — put Virginia in an ugly 14-0 hole.

A timely fourth-down conversion by Duke led to their third touchdown in four drives and a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. The ‘Hoos were able to tighten up and hold the Blue Devils out of the end zone for the remainder of the half, and managed to put together a clean four-minute drill and cut their deficit to 14 points before the break.

Any good vibes that the ‘Hoos had entering the second half evaporated after Duke rolled down the field and immediately scored another touchdown to take a dominating three-score lead. The ‘Hoos had six chances to break into the end zone late in the third quarter thanks to a pass interference call, but struggled to convert and settled for a field goal in the red zone. They finished the quarter with a 28-10 deficit.

The Blue Devils fully broke the game open early in the fourth quarter with a 59-yard touchdown run. Brennan Armstrong cut the deficit to 18 with a TD scramble, but Duke managed to milk the clock while marching down the field and extended their lead to 38-17 with three minutes remaining. An interception by Armstrong with 1:38 to play sealed the deal, as the ‘Hoos dropped their second consecutive contest.