Virginia quarterback Matt Johns set a career-high for passing yards with 344 as the Cavaliers jumped out to a big early lead and held on late to beat Duke 42-34.
Duke had beaten Virginia three straight times and had won six of the last seven games in the series, but couldn’t overcome yet another slow start. But they did come close, rallying from a 22 point deficit behind quarterback Parker Boehme. The reserve signal caller took over for starter Thomas Sirk and finished with 178 passing yards on 8-of-19 passing.
Trailing by eight with less than a minute remaining, Boehme drove the Blue Devils down the field and inside the Cavaliers’ 20 yard line, but his fourth down pass intended for Anthony Nash was batted down by Wilfred Wahee to put the game away.
The rally was necessitated by an early offensive explosion by the Cavaliers - a trait that’s been shared by a number of Duke opponents of late - who jumped out to a 21-0 advantage before DeVon Edwards took a kick-off back 94 yards to get Duke on the board at the end of the first quarter.
The Blue Devils would close to within 21-10 after an 11 play, 69 yard drive that resulted in a Ross Martin field goal with 3:36 remaining. But Virginia would quickly respond with a four play, 79 yard drive that took just 28 seconds and ended with Johns finding Taquan Mizzell for a 36 yard touchdown pass with a minute remaining.
Mizzell would add a 10 yard touchdown run on Virgina’s first possession of the second half to make it 35-13.
With a fourth consecutive loss the Blue Devils have seen a once promising season collapse. Duke was ranked 22nd in the country with a 6-1 record after seven games. Since that time the Blue Devils have lost to Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and now Virginia.
Duke concludes the regular season next week with a trip to Wake Forest.