Staff photo by Chuck Liddy
DURHAM —Duke finished much stronger than it started and finally relieved itself of a weighty burden in the process.
Duke FB Tielor Robinson scored from a yard out with 1:41 left in the game to give the Blue Devils a 31-3 victory and their first ACC victory in 26 ACC games.
It was Virginia’s first loss at Wallace Wade Stadium since 1994. Duke
is 3-1 and 1-0 in the ACC. The 3-1 start is Duke's best since starting
7-0 in 1994. Virginia is 1-3 and 0-1.
Duke DB Jabari Marshall scored with a 42-yard interception return for touchdown with just two minutes into the fourth quarter. It was the third touchdown for the Blue Devils in a productive 9:17 stretch straddling the third and fourth quarters.
Give credit to the Duke defense which intercepted four passes in the game and came up with several key stops to stop Virginia cold in the first half.
Duke finally shook out the cobwebs scoring twice in the third quarter. Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis threw to wideout Eron Riley, who sprinted to the end zone from 30 yards out to give Duke the 17-3 lead after Nick Maggio's PAT.
Sanford’s own Jay Hollingsworth scored earlier in the period on a 10-yard touchdown reception from Lewis. Hollingsworth took a short pass and followed Tielor Robinson’s lead block along the right sideline. Robinson kept several Virginia defenders inside near the end zone as Hollingsworth dove for the pylon behind him for the score.
Hollingsworth was Duke’s offense on the drive that started at the Duke 45. The freshman carried the ball eight times on the 10-play drive for 34 yards before the 10-yard score.
Virginia went three-and-out on its first two possessions of the half and Duke's Leon Wright intercepted Virginia QB Marc Verica on the fourth play of the Cavaliers' third possession.
The Cavaliers were threatening as the third quarter ended before Duke LB Michael Tauiliili intercepted Verica.
Duke closed out an offensively slow first half with a decent run at the end zone in the final 1:30 but still couldn’t punch it in as it settled for a 20-yard Maggio field goal to tie the score at 3-3 at halftime.
The Blue Devils, who rank second in the ACC in total offense at 410.7 yards per game, managed just 98 through 30 minutes.
Lewis looked rusty, throwing behind receivers, specifically on a possible short scoring toss to Riley at the end of the first half, and responding to slowly to constant Virginia pressure. Duke adjusted in the second half, throwing more shot pops, screens, and quick outs to receivers and backs.
Lewis threw his first interception in 206 pass attempts on the first play from scrimmage but Duke survived that possession swap thanks to back-to-back Virginia penalties Lewis threw another while trying to find Johnny Williams in the end zone, though Williams was bumped by Ras-I Dowling and fell on the play.
Duke’s defense held up in some tight spots. On a Virginia third-and-2 stop in Duke territory, Tauiliili and Vince Oghobaase teamed on the stop and Virginia managed just a field goal with 4:36 left in the first quarter.
Tauiliili made a solo stop on fourth-and-1 on Virginia’s next possession, which had started at Duke’s 29-yard line, to halt another drive.