Duke Falls To Virginia, 24-13

The Blue Devils once again dug an early hole and couldn't recover enough to end their losing streak.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Duke football team opened ACC action on Saturday afternoon with a 24-13 loss to Virginia in front of 58,554 fans and a regional television audience at sun-splashed Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.

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

Virginia used special teams play to set up the first score of the game as Vic Hall returned a Duke punt 67 yards to the Blue Devil four yard line. Two snaps later, Cavalier quarterback Jameel Sewell found tight end Tom Santi for a seven-yard touchdown pass at the 11:40 mark of the opening period. On the Cavaliers' second possession, Cedric Peerman darted 58 yards for a touchdown to push the lead to 14-0 with 8:13 left in the first quarter.

Virginia's third possession of the day yielded two points for the Blue Devils as an errant snap on fourth down sailed over the head of Cavalier punter Ryan Weigand and out of the back of the end zone for a safety.

Duke's Vincent Rey thwarted a Virginia scoring opportunity by blocking a field goal attempt midway through the second quarter and Rodney Ezzard scooped up the loose ball and returned it 60 yards into Cavalier territory. Highlighted by an eight-yard run from quarterback Zack Asack on fourth down-and-two at the Virginia 26 yard line, the Blue Devils drove inside the Cavalier 10 yard line but missed a 26-yard field goal attempt.

With a 27-yard field goal on the final snap of the first half, Virginia extended its advantage to 17-2. The field goal by Chris Gould capped a six-play, 48-yard drive that took the final 2:27 of the second period.

At the 2:51 mark of the third quarter, Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis hooked up with wide receiver Jomar Wright on a 16-yard scoring strike. Lewis then followed with a two-point conversion toss to fullback Tielor Robinson, pulling the Blue Devils to within 17-10. The three-play, 16-yard drive came after Virginia snapped the ball past Weigand for the second time in the contest.

On the ensuing kickoff, Duke's Adam Banks caused and recovered a fumble to give Duke possession of the football. The Blue Devils then drove 16 yards in five plays for a 21-yard field goal by Joe Surgan to make the score 17-13 with 1:04 remaining in the third period.

The Cavaliers responded by driving 82 yards in 15 plays for a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Peter Lalich to Santi with 9:39 left on the clock in the fourth period. Duke answered with an eight-snap, 47-yard march to the Virginia 23 yard line, but misfired on a 40-yard field goal attempt with 7:03 remaining. The Blue Devils would gain possession of the football two more times, but were unable to move past midfield.

Lewis completed 14-of-30 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The sophomore now has at least one touchdown pass in four straight games and in eight of his past 10 outings dating back to last season. His 13 career scoring strikes rank 11th all-time at Duke.

Both Robinson and running back Justin Boyle recorded 31 rushing yards for Duke while Eron Riley caught a team-high four passes for 25 yards. Redshirt freshman punter Kevin Jones enjoyed a solid afternoon, booting five punts for a 42.8 yards per kick average with two downed inside the Virginia 20 yard line.

On defense, Duke was led by Patrick Bailey's nine total tackles including two behind the line of scrimmage. Safeties Chris Davis and Adrian Aye-Darko each chipped in eight tackles while linebacker Michael Tauiliili, playing in his first contest this year following a one-game suspension, had seven stops including one for loss.

For the Cavaliers, Peerman finished the day with 19 rushing attempts for 137 yards and Lalich hit on 13-of-18 throws for 131 yards. Chris Long had eight tackles with two sacks to lead the Virginia defense.

The Blue Devils remain on the road next week, traveling to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern. Kick-off is set for 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised live by the Big Ten Network.


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