Cavaliers Thump Duke, 38-7

Poor field position dooms the Blue Devils for much of the day in Charlottesville.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The 23rd-ranked Virgina Cavaliers took advantage of excellent field position and received four touchdown passes from quarterback Marques Hagans en route to a 38-7 victory over visiting Duke in front of a Homecoming crowd of 61,021 fans in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday afternoon.

The Cavaliers improve to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in ACC action while the Blue Devils fall to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in the league.

Virginia took a 3-0 lead at the 4:26 mark of the opening quarter when the Cavaliers recovered a Blue Devil fumble deep in Duke territory and settled for a 32-yard field goal by Connor Hughes.

Duke stopped a potential scoring drive by Virginia midway through the second quarter when freshman Michael Brown and junior Deonto McCormick teamed up to strip the Cavaliers' Jason Snelling of the ball at the Duke 28-yard line. Defensive end Eli Nichols recovered the loose ball, but the Blue Devil offensive was unable to capitalize.

Virginia stretched the lead to 10-0 with 8:30 remaining in the opening half on a Hagans 10-yard scoring strike to Deyon Williams. The Cavaliers picked off a Mike Schneider pass on the ensuing possession, but the Duke defensive unit responded to force a long field goal attempt. Hughes missed the 52-yard attempt wide left and the Blue Devils took over at their own 35-yard line with 5:07 remaining in the half.

Freshman quarterback Zack Asack ripped off an 18-yard run on first down to move the ball into Virginia territory for the first time. Freshman Re'quan Boyette picked up a first down with a seven-yard rush on third down to keep possession, but the drive came to a halt two plays later as Tony Franklin picked off an Asack pass at the Virginia 8-yard line with just under two minutes remaining in the half. The defense came up with a three-and-out to force a Virginia punt and the teams went into the half with Duke trailing, 10-0.

Virginia began the second half at their own 37-yard line and marched to the Duke 31-yard line. Following three consecutive false starts by the Virginia offensive line, Hagans completed a 46-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Tom Santi. Hughes knocked home the extra point to give Virginia a 17-0 advantage.

Marcus Hamilton picked off an Asack pass on Duke's next possession and Virginia took over at the Duke 12-yard line. Hagans hooked up with John Phillips for a 12-yard scoring strike on third and 10 to push the lead to 24-0.

Duke was forced to punt on its next possession and a pair of penalties amounting for 25 yards gave Virginia the ball at the Duke 23-yard line. Hagans connected with Williams on the first play from scrimmage for his fourth touchdown pass of the day.

Duke got on the scoreboard on the first play of the fourth quarter when Asack hit a streaking Jomar Wright in stride at the goal line for a 30-yard scoring strike. Asack guided the Blue Devils to a nine-play, 78-yard drive that was capped off with his second career touchdown pass.

Virginia's Michael Johnson returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards to the Blue Devil 17-yard line and Cedric Peerman finished things off with a touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage to give the Cavaliers' a 38-7 edge.

Asack finished the day by hitting seven-of-13 throws for 87 yards and added 32 yards on five carries. Wright grabbed two balls for a team-high 43 yards, including the 30-yard scoring strike from Asack. Junior cornerback John Talley paced the Duke defense with 10 tackles.

Duke returns home next Saturday to host Navy at 1 p.m. for the 2005 edition of Homecoming.

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