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Duke rallies for 28-17 win over UVa.

A 42-yard touchdown pass from Thaddeus Lewis to Connor Vernon brought Duke back from a 17-12 fourth-quarter deficit to Virginia, and a 7-yard Charlie Hatcher fumble return for a TD sealed a 28-17 Blue Devils’ win.

It was the third straight ACC win for Duke (5-3, 3-1 ACC), and the second straight conference loss for UVa. (3-5, 2-2 ACC).

The loss was also the Cavs’ fourth in five home games in 2009.

Virginia has been outscored by an average of 32-14 in the four losses.

This one looked a lot like the others. Duke dominated the first half even though it only led 9-3 at the break, getting three field goals from Will Snyderwine after the Duke offense bogged down in its three red-zone trips.

The ‘Hoos took a 10-9 lead at the 11:38 mark in the third on a 1-yard Jameel Sewell touchdown run. Another Snyderwine field goal 1:10 into the fourth quarter gave Duke a 12-10 lead, and a Sewell-to-Joe Torchia 19-yard TD pass hookup made it 17-12 UVa. with 11:17 to go.

Virginia seemed to have the game in its control when cornerback Chase Minnifield intercepted Lewis on a third-and-goal from the 7 at the 8:01 mark. The Cavaliers failed to get a first down on their next offensive series, though, and Lewis led Duke on a five-play, 67-yard drive that culminated with the Lewis-to-Vernon TD on a third-and-long play that Virginia coach Al Groh rolled the dice on with an all-out blitz that left Vernon in single coverage with corner Chris Cook, who made a diving stab at Vernon after the pass connection was made.

Sewell fumbled on third down on Virginia’s next series, and Hatcher scooped the ball off the turf and ran it back with 3:22 to go.

Snyderwine made the fifth of his five field-goal tries with 1:05 to go to ice the game.

Duke rolled up 424 yards of total offense, getting 343 yards in the air from Lewis on 24-of-40 passing.

Virginia could only muster 196 yards of offense on the day. Sewell and backup quarterback Marc Verica struggled to find a rhythm – Sewell going 8-for-22 for 86 yards and Verica going 5-of-16 for 21 yards.

Rashawn Jackson ran 16 times for 83 yards for Virginia.


– Story by Chris Graham