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Devils Fall To Virginia, 28-21

A tough game but Duke showed heart at the end.

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NCAA Football: Duke at Virginia
Oct 7, 2017; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Jordan Ellis (1) carries the ball as Duke Blue Devils linebacker Joe Giles-Harris (44) and Blue Devils safety Alonzo Saxton II (21) make the tackle during the first quarter at Scott Stadium. 
Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Duke and Virginia had a defensive tussle in Charlottesville Saturday punctuated by periods of coherent offense, but Virginia pulled the win off 28-21.

The first half in Charlottesville was almost all defense. Duke quarterback Daniel Jones started 1-10 and was picked off twice early in an echo of last year’s five INT performance.

Virginia’s Quin Blanding took the second one back 58 yards for a touchdown.

Duke’s Jeremy McDuffie then picked off Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert for a 42 yard pick six of his own - Duke’s fourth of the season.

Duke put together a solid, methodical drive to score including 45 rushing yards by Jones who threaded the needle for a seven-yard pass to Davis Koppenhaver for the touchdown.

Virginia scored again before the half to tie the game 14-14, helped by several penalties on Duke, including two straight on McDuffie.

Duke at this point had four pass interference calls, something coach David Cutcliffe has little tolerance for.

Virginia took a 21-14 lead on a Benkert pass to Doni Dowling, who dove into the end zone, resulting in a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Virginia took that lead took into the fourth.

Duke’s Shaun Wilson struck back for a 75 yard return on the kickoff and Duke scored soon after on a Quentin Harris run to cut the lead to 28-21.

Virginia took over but Duke forced a 58 yard punt and took a fair catch with 5:13 left.

Unfortunately the Blue Devils couldn’t put together a drive and were forced to punt with 4:50 left.

Virginia couldn’t get a first down to kill enough clock though and had to punt again with 3:14 left.

Duke got to midfield in a hurry but Virginia sacked Daniel Jones for the first time to put Duke in a hole at 2nd and 18.

But Jones connected with Jonathan Lloyd for a 20 yard gain to keep the drive alive.

Jones then connected with Scott Bracey for a 12 yard pass to the Virginia 34 for another first down and followed that with a four-yard pass to Brittain Brown to the UVA 30.

His next attempt to Lloyd was incomplete though and on 3rd down, Charles Snowden sacked him for a 10 yard loss setting Duke up with 4th and 16 and a pass from Jones to T.J. Rahming was incomplete.

Virginia took over with 1:08 to go and ran out the clock.

Duke showed a lot of heart in the fourth - something we’ve gotten accustomed to in David Cutcliffe’s teams - but penalties, mistakes and an inability to protect Jones basically cost Duke the game.

Duke’s next game is Saturday against Florida State in Wallace Wade.

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