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Focus | When is Lewis going to get some love?

Thaddeus Lewis had just thrown his fourth interception of the season, and the situation looked dire for his Blue Devils.

Virginia led 17-12 with eight minutes left, and Duke was struggling mightily in the red zone, to say the least.

But Lewis was confident.

“After the interception, just knowing that there was so much time left on the clock, we knew we had the opportunity to go down and score,” said Lewis, who after the Duke defense forced a UVa. three-and-out did just as he said he would, leading the Blue Devils on a five-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 42-yard TD pass to Conner Vernon that gave Duke an 18-17 lead with 3:45 to go.

A defensive touchdown and late field goal by Will Snyderwine gave the Blue Devils their final 28-17 winning margin, but it was Lewis’ ability to read and beat an all-out blitz called by Virginia coach Al Groh on the touchdown pass that made the difference.

“That’s just confidence at heart. Believing in yourself,” said Lewis, who has thrown for 2,315 yards and 15 touchdowns in leading Duke to a 5-3 record overall and a surprising 3-1 start in the ACC.

“We know in the face of adversity that we don’t need to hang our head down. We look forward and know what we have to do. You have to credit Coach (David) Cutcliffe for doing a great job of instilling that confidence in us,” said Lewis, a senior who has grown with the Duke program in his four years in Durham.

Lewis has been the starter at quarterback since the second game of his freshman season, and endured 0-12 and 1-11 campaigns his first two years. The team improved to 4-8 last year in its first year under Cutcliffe, whose coaching resume includes his mentoring of Peyton and Eli Manning on their way to the NFL.

Cutcliffe has high praise for his current signal-caller.

“Our guy, if you look what he has done over the past four weeks, tell me a quarterback that has played better,” Cutcliffe said after the UVa. game. “The guy we have never gets mentioned, and that is OK if that is what you want to do, but show me one playing better. We just do not get the highlights.”

A scout and a former UVa. player riding together to Scott Stadium on the media shuttle talked openly on the ride over about how Lewis would be getting more attention nationally were he playing at Miami or Florida State.

The natural question after his impressive performance against the Cavs – when do you think, Thad, that you might start getting some Heisman love?

“I don’t really get into that,” Lewis said. “You just have to go out there and compete. Week in and week out. All of that will come later. As long as I’m focused on our team, and we’re going out there and winning every week, that’s fine with me. If nobody out there is talking about me, that’s fine with me.”


– Story by Chris Graham


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