Virginia Holds Off Late Duke Comeback

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.-- Virginia football cruised to the 42-34 win on Saturday over Duke football to move to 4-7 on the year.

No Virginia game would be complete without some drama. Although the Cavaliers went up to a commanding 21 point lead n the first quarter-the most points UVA has scored in the first quarter since UVA's 2007 matchup against Pittsburgh-the Wahoo faithful had to suffer through another nail bitter. 

Everything was coming up Cavaliers early on . Matt Johns found Daniel Hamm on a screen and Hamm ran it for 48-yards before being brought down deep into Duke terrirtory. But then it looked like the old Cavalier demons were coming back.  Taquan Mizzell found the end zone on the next play, however, his touchdown was called back due to a holding call on Eric Smith. But the Cavs refused to settle. On the very next play, Johns found Olamide Zaccheaus behind the line of scrimmage, who passed it to Evan Butts for the 15-yard touchdown. The first touchdown for a non-Virginia quarterback since another number 33, Perry Jones. 

Then it was another freshman to ignite the Cavalier defense. Darious Latimore picked off Thomas Sirk in the endzone and the Cavs' offense didn't hesitate to open up the play book on the ensuing drive. Johns launches a deep ball to another freshman David Eldridge for the 45-yard completion. Two plays later, T.J. Thorpe gets the hand off for a 26-yard score. 'Hoos up 14-0 in the first quarter. 

The Blue Devils' offense continuned to struggle. Duke fumbled the ball in its own territory and Mike Moore jumped all over for UVA's second takeaway of the game. The 'Hoos don't squander the opportunity. Mizzell punches it in and the Cavaliers take a three touchdown lead with under 30 seconds left in the first quarter. 

Duke finally got on the board, after Devon Edwards ran back a kickoff return 94-yards to the house to cut into Virginia's lead 21-7. Edwards' score sparked the Blue Devils to life. 

After the Cavaliers controlled possession for almost ten minutes in the second quarter, Johns was intercepted at the Duke 10-yard line and the Blue Devils took advantage. David Cutcliffe's team tough had to settle for a 36-yard field goal, but Virginia's lead was cut to 11. 

In stark contrast to its first quarter peformance, UVA struggled in the second quarter to get on the board, while the Blue Devils found their stride.  Duke forced another takeaway, and had the opportunity to make it a one score game. Jon Tenuta's men, however,  had other ideas. The Cavaliers did not waste any time, and forced a Blue Devils punt in just twelve seconds. 

That defensive stop seemed to do the trick. The UVA offense finally found the end zone again, after failing to score the last two possessions. The 'Hoos extended their lead to 18 with a Johns-Mizzell 36-yard play. 

Duke would add a field goal before the break. 

In the second half, the Blue Devils' bad fortunes continued. Not only was their on-side kick recovered by the Wahoos to open up the second half,  Duke turned over the ball when Latimore forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage with Kwontie Moore recovering it. The Cavs took full advantage. Seven plays and 38 yards later, Mizzell runs home a 10-yard touchdown and the 'Hoos are up 35-13. 

Duke continued to fight. After converting two fourth down conversions including a 4th-and-10, the Blue Devils' offense found the end zone for the first time this game. Sirk hooked a ball to Braxton Deaver for the 7-yard touchdown, which cut UVA's lead to 15 with 5:56 to go in the third quarter. But the Wahoos would quickly answer. One play after Jeremy Cash was ejected for targeting, Johns threw a 50-yard bomb to Zaccheaus for the 42-20 lead.  But things took a turn late in the fourth quarter. 

With 9:20 to go Duke goes 69 yards on seven plays with back quarterback Parker Boehme hit a wide open Rahming in the end zone to cut Virginia's lead to 42-27. UVA then elected to go for a fourth and four rather than kick a field goal, and failed to convert. The Blue Devils saw an opening. Duke would punch it in from the 1-yard line on the ensuing drive, and the Blue Devils were within eight. 

Things continued to get bad in a hurry for Mike London and his Wahoos. Not only did the Virginia offense go three-and-out, but the defense gave up 30-yards due to back-to-back penalties, putting Duke at midfield. But in fitting fashion Latimore steps up in a big way for the Cavaliers. With Duke facing 4th-and-15, Latimore breaks up a pass in the end zone. But the Blue Devils still had one more crack at the game. A 49-yard pass put Duke well in the red zone with second left on the clock. Will Wahee broke up a pass in the endzone to seal it.  

The 'Hoos move to 4-7 on the year after beating Duke 42-34. They will face Virginia Tech next Saturday at Scott Stadium in their season finale. 


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