Walt Canty recorded a career-high three tackles for loss in Duke's win over Virginia. Credit: CHRIS SEWARD
DURHAM—If you haven't seen them already seen them, let me direct you to the game story from Duke's 42-17 win over Virginia and more on Conner Vernon setting the new ACC mark for career receptions. Below, four more thoughts before I sign off from Durham:
*Dating back to the third game of the season (against FCS NC Central), Duke has played significantly better in the second half. Head coach David Cutcliffe attributes this to two things: improved conditioning and rotating in as many players as possible
“Everybody wants this one playing or that one, but we’re playing a lot of running backs, so they still look pretty good,” he said. “Playing more people has helped our squad.
*Duke’s veteran defensive players continue to make big plays. Walt Canty recorded three tackles for losses in the second half (including the fourth-and-1 stop) en route to posting a season-high three tackles. Ross Cockrell snagged his fourth interception of the season, and Kenny Anunike recorded a fourth-quarter sack, continuing his streak of recording at least a half-sack in every game this season.
*The importance of the kicking game—long a major issue for Duke—cannot be overlooked. Virginia started drives on its 17, 16, 14-yard line to open the game and on its own 7-yard line to open the second half. “Without great field position from the kicking game, it could have been a lot worse in the second half,” Cutcliffe said.
*Cutcliffe had two visitors from his Tennessee days on the sideline—Hall of Famer Johnny Majors, who was the Volunteers head coach from 1977-1992, and Tom Moore, who was offensive coordinator while Peyton Manning was in Knoxville.