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Duke falls behind 22-0 and then scores 35 straight points to hand UVa its fourth consecutive loss.
Ryan M. Kelly | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Virginia quarterback David Watford is tackled by Duke's Kelby Brown on Saturday. The Blue Devils came back from a 22-0 deficit to top UVa.
RYAN M. KELLY | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Virginia tight end Jake McGee (83) hurdles over Duke cornerback Deondre Singleton in the first half. The Cavaliers led 22-7 at halftime before losing 35-22.
RYAN M. KELLY | The (Charlottesville) Daily Progress
Duke quarterback Anthony Boone throws a pass against Virginia on Saturday. Boone led the Blue Devils offense to 35 straight points in a win over the Cavaliers at Scott Stadium.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — The best first half of Virginia’s 2013 football season only set the stage for the Cavaliers’ worst second half.
UVa’s fourth straight loss might have been the most ignominious of all as the Cavaliers’ squandered a 22-point lead and lost to visiting Duke, 35-22.
None of the Cavaliers was as angry as junior tailback Kevin Parks on a day when he scored all three UVa touchdowns.
“Thirty-five unanswered points is ridiculous,” Parks said. “It’s uncalled for. They kept playing and we didn’t.
“I felt like, once those [Duke] guys started scoring, you started seeing the [UVa] eyes getting big, like ‘here we go again.’ You can’t let that happen.”
Parks wasn’t referring to the Duke-Virginia series, but he could have been. In Duke’s past 50 ACC games, the Blue Devils are 5-1 against the Cavaliers and 5-39 against the rest of the conference.
More apparent was the similarity between Saturday’s game and its two predecessors.
On Oct. 5, the Cavaliers lost at home to Ball State, 48-27, in a game that was 17-17 in the third quarter. One week later, UVa led Maryland 26-20 in the fourth quarter before losing 27-26.
Virginia’s final hope against Maryland was dashed when back-up place-kicker Alec Vozenilek was wide to the right from 42 yards with 10 seconds left.
After the Cavaliers had fallen behind 25-22 against Duke, Vozenilek lined up for a 39-yard field goal that would have pulled back into a tie with 7:37 left.
Vozenilek’s kick was true, but offensive guard Jay Whitmire was penalized for a false start. After the Cavaliers were pushed back 5 yards, Vozenilek was wide to the left.
UVa had picked up a first down at the Duke 27, but the drive stalled on a third-down heave that fell incomplete in the back of the end zone. At that, the Cavaliers were lucky to get the ball snapped before the play clock expired.
“There were some communications issues with substitutions and clock management,” UVa coach Mike London. “It wasn’t handled properly and has to be handled better.”
Key for Duke (5-2, 1-2 ACC) was an eight-play, 62-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Boone to Jamison Crowder with 46 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Blue Devils got the ball to start the second half, but Boone was intercepted by Anthony Harris at the UVa 41 with 11:19 to go in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers followed with a three-and-out, one of four in a row for the Cavaliers that started with their final possession of the first half. Duke outgained the Cavaliers 113-7 in the third period.
“At halftime, our coaches did a great job of keeping a cool head and making good judgments,” said Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who told his team, ‘The same way we got behind 22-7, we can take this game.’”
Among other things, Cutcliffe threw caution to the wind. On back-to-back third-quarter possessions he went for first down on fourth-and-1 in his own territory.
A field goal that cut the deficit to 22-10 followed a fourth-and-8 conversion.
“I made up my mind that we would do everything we could to win this game,” said Cutcliffe, whose Blue Devils outscored UVa 28-0 in the second half for the second year in a row. “Anything within fourth-and-two, we were going for it.’ I just made my mind up to do it and thankfully it paid off.”
Virginia’s offense was as much to blame as the Cavaliers’ defense. Quarterback David Watford, who completed 13 of his first 19 attempts, was 7 for 19 after that point.
UVa’s receiving corps dropped several balls, but Watford also was plagued by the overthrows that have creeped into his game throughout the season.
“We have to make sure and he has to make sure that, when guys are open, you have to hit them, whether it’s the touch that’s required or putting the ball where it needs to be,” UVa coach Mike London said.
“He has to play better and he understands that.”
Turnovers and penalties were issues with Virginia earlier in the season, but the Cavaliers were penalized four times for 35 yards and the only turnover came on a late interception yielded by Watford.
Duke’s only turnover came on the pick by UVa’s Harris, but Harris later was unable to come up with a ball that was in his hands when the game was still on the line.
“I thought it was going to go over my head and I would have to go up and get it,” said Harris, who was backpedaling when the ball hit him in the knee. “Maybe, it would have taken away the momentum that they had.”
Virginia (2-5, 0-3) is suffering from reverse momentum.
“This one definitely hurts,” UVa co-captain Jake Snyder, a fifth-year defensive lineman, said. “I think it hurts more because of the way things have been going. I feel like we were in position to turn the season around and we weren’t able to make that happen.”
London, whose 2012 team lost six games in a row, took longer than usual with his team after the game.
“We are young enough not to know that, when adversity appears, we have to respond and bounce back from it,” he said. “We have to coach them better. I have to a better job.”
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