Devils Fall To Boston College

Duke's quest for bowl eligibility will have to wait another season following the loss to the Eagles

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke University put together a thrilling final drive of the game, but came up just short in a 21-16 loss to Boston College in Atlantic Coast Conference football action this afternoon in front of 21,420 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Eagles stopped the Blue Devils from the four-yard line in the final minute of the fourth quarter to clinch the five-point win.

Duke (3-7, 1-5 ACC) quarterback Sean Renfree completed 35-of-49 passes for 285 yards, while wide receiver Conner Vernon had a career-high 12 catches for 134 yards. It is the fourth 100-yard receiving game for Vernon and seventh for his career, tying him with teammate Donovan Varner for third on the Duke career list. Duke placekicker Will Snyderwine kicked three field goals to surpass his previous season-best of 17 in 2009.

After a defensive battle in the first half left Boston College(5-5, 3-4 ACC) with a 7-6 lead, the two offenses combined for 24 points and 356 yards of offense in the second half that went down to the final minute.

Trailing 21-16 with seven minutes to play, the Blue Devils defense came up with a big series as it forced Boston College to punt from its 19-yard line. Duke took over at its 37-yard line with 4:52 left to go and methodically marched down the field behind the arm of Renfree.

Needing a touchdown to regain the lead, Renfree connected on six-of-eight attempts for 44 yards to put Duke at the Boston College four-yard line on third down. Brandon Connette also got in the mix on the final drive, completing a crucial 19-yard pass to Juwan Thompson that placed the Blue Devils at 1st-and goal.

With two chances to get into the end zone, a Connette pass attempt to tight end Cooper Helfet was knocked down at the goal line and Renfree's fourth-down pass to the left side was batted down by Boston College defensive end Max Holloway to end the game.

After managing just one score in the first half, the Eagles built a lead quickly in the second half, taking 21-6 lead midway through the third quarter. The scoring came right away in the second half as the Eagles opened the third quarter with a 73-yard scoring drive to push their lead up to eight at 14-6. Boston College Chase Rettig capped off a 73-yard scoring drive with a 38-yard completion to Bobby Swigert for a touchdown.

A fumble by the Blue Devils on the Duke 19-yard line recovered by the Eagles put Boston College back in the red zone midway through the frame. Five plays later, Rettig hit Ifeanyi Momah on the sideline for a touchdown and 15-point Eagles lead at the 7:11 mark of the third quarter.

Facing its largest deficit of the afternoon, Duke ate up the next five minutes of clock, moving its way to the Boston College 10-yard line. The Blue Devils clawed their way to the seven-yard line, but were unable to get into the end zone as Snyderwine knocked a 33-yard field goal through the uprights to make it a 21-9 game. He also had kicks of 29 yards and 41 yards in the first half.

After Boston College raced down the field to the Duke nine-yard line, the Blue Devils came up with a huge defensive play when Walt Canty knocked the ball loose from Montel Harris' grasp. August Campbell scooped up the ball at the five-yard line and raced down the sideline and into the end zone for a 95-yard fumble return for a touchdown to put Duke in position for a thrilling finish for the second straight week. The return was the longest in Blue Devil history, surpassing the 54-year-old record of 77 yards by Ed Rushton in 1956.

Matt Daniels led the defense with 11 tackles, including six solo stops. Ross Cockrell had eight tackles and Kelby Brown made six and recovered a fumble. Duke's two fumble recoveries mark the eighth time this season the Blue Devils have forced at least one turnover in a game.

Duke will travel to Georgia Tech for its final road contest of the season on Nov. 20. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m., at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

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