CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. – The Duke Blue Devils completed a 28-point shutout second half of play to beat the host Virginia Cavaliers 35-22 to earn their first Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win of the season in front of 39,071 in attendance at Scott Stadium.
Duke won its fifth game in the last six against Virginia, following up on last season’s 42-17 victory that also included a 28-0 scoring run in the second half.
Quarterback Anthony Boone completed 21-of-39 passes for 245 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and added nine rushes for 25 yards on the ground.
Helping to guide the offense with Boone was utility quarterback Brandon Connette who threw for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown, and converted three fourth downs, including the 47-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Braxton Deaver with 11:44 to play in the fourth quarter.
“We have come a long way and everybody realizes that,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said as part of his postgame comments.
“It is extremely difficult to go down 22 to nothing on the road in a conference game and then come back and win by 13 points. I think our guys believed that we belonged. Quite frankly, we were an irrelevant football program in this league, and I think they realized that they earned relevance. We earned relevance and we will see what we can build it to from here.”
Earning the win in such fashion has become more the norm than the exception this season for the Duke defense which has shut out three of its seven opponents in the second half this season.
“Defense today is so hard to play anyway and people adjust and do this or that,” Cutcliffe continued.
“I think our coaches do a great job of adjusting and settling them down at half time. I think our guys are learning that they are going to make plays and you just need to make more. You need to understand, defensively and offensively, that it is a 60-minute game and you just keep playing. If your playing is good and your preparation is good, you’re going to get a feel for an offense once you’ve seen them for a little while.”
Duke trailed 22-0 with 5:49 to play in the second quarter, but scored 35 points to record its second-most consecutive points scored in a game, trailing only the offensive output from the team’s season-opening 45-0 shutout win over NC Central.
“We just went out there and executed the plays that we had drawn up,” Boone said.
“We didn’t change anything, we didn’t go out there and try to do too much, we just executed the game plan we had from the start of the game.”