Devils' Rally Falls Just Short

An interception on the final play of the game prevented Duke from shocking the college football world on Saturday. Instead, the Blue Devils fell to 0-7 after a 20-15 loss to Miami.

DURHAM, N.C. – Duke drove 83 yards to the six yard line on its final possession with a chance to win, but Miami's Willie Cooper spoiled the opportunity with an interception on the final snap from scrimmage as the Hurricanes defeated the Blue Devils, 20-15, at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kyle Wright directed the Miami offense effectively all day, doing most of his damage through the air. He ended the game 24-of-41 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, both to Sam Shields. Sophomore strong safety Kenny Phillips also tied a Miami school record by intercepting three Duke passes on the afternoon.

Duke (0-7, 0-5 ACC) made the Hurricanes (5-2, 2-1 ACC) very uncomfortable in the fourth quarter after a 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took 5:14 culminated in an 11-yard scoring pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Raphael Chestnut. The extra point changed the score to 20-9 in favor of Miami.

After a three and out defensive stand, Duke took over at the Miami 32 with 8:58 remaining. Re'quan Boyette, weaving left, ended the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run with 7:06 left in the game. The two-point conversion failed, but the Blue Devils pulled within a score at 20-15.

Duke's defense, which limited Miami to 30 rushing yards on 26 carries, held again and gave its offense a 52-yard field and an opportunity with 6:17 showing on the clock. The two teams traded possessions and the Canes pinned the Blue Devils to their own 11 with 1:35 left. Led by Lewis, who had 284 passing yards on the day, Duke drove to the Miami six-yard line before the game ended on an interception by Willie Cooper as time expired.

The Hurricanes opened the scoring with a three-play, 41-yard drive following an interception on Duke's first possession of the game. Wright finished the drive with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Shields with 12:29 remaining in the first quarter. Jon Peattie's extra point made it 7-0.

That score stood until Miami went on a 12-play, 73-yard scoring march to go up 10-0 with 12:32 remaining in the second quarter. The drive was capped off by a 21-yard field goal by Peattie.

With 7:40 left in the second quarter, the Blue Devils started at their own two-yard line. After a four-yard gain on first down, Lewis connected on a 54-yard pass to Jomar Wright in Duke's longest play from scrimmage in 2006. The promising drive stopped when Wright fumbled after he had enough yards to convert a fourth-and-one at the Miami 31-yard line. Miami's Lovon Ponder returned the fumble 43 yards to set the Hurricanes up with outstanding field position at the Duke 38.

Again, Miami took advantage of the miscue, driving 38 yards in four plays for Wright's second touchdown pass to Shields, a 26-yarder with 2:52 left in the first half. The Hurricanes led at the break, 17-0.

After stopping the Hurricanes' first drive, Duke struck first in the second half after Miami punter Darren Daly kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone after an errant snap. The ruling was an illegal kick, resulting in a safety for the Blue Devils to make the score 17-2 with 13:19 left in the third quarter.

For Duke, Wright established career highs with 10 catches for 176 receiving yards.

Duke returns to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. against Vanderbilt in Wallace Wade Stadium.


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