Charlottesville, VA – Duke fell to Virginia, 38-20, Saturday night in Scott Stadium.
In a back-and-forth affair, Duke (0-3, 0-3 ACC) won the first and third quarters, while the Cavaliers held the edge during the second and fourth periods. Despite, holding the 20-17 lead heading into the final frame, the Blue Devils saw Virginia (1-0, 1-0 ACC) outscore them 21-0 to steal the win.
Duke redshirt junior quarterback Chase Brice finished 16-of-36 for 246 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong went 24-of-45 for 269 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Senior running back Deon Jackson led the Duke rushing corps for the third consecutive outing, totaling 49 yards on 14 carries. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Dennis Smith recorded three receptions for 33 yards during his first career start.
Duke, who was playing in its third consecutive home opener for its opponent, jumped out a quick 10-0 edge after a 10-point opening frame. Duke’s first score, a 25-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker Charlie Ham, was set up thanks to a Cavalier fumble on the game’s opening kickoff. The Blue Devils then saw Brice connect with redshirt junior tight end Jake Marwede for a 55-yard touchdown reception just before the end of the quarter. That catch was Marwede’s first career score and also tied for Duke’s longest pass reception this season.
Unfortunately, the home side scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-10 advantage into the locker room at the half.
Ham cut Duke’s deficit to 17-13 after converting on a career-long 47-yard field goal early in the third period. The Blue Devil struck again after redshirt sophomore linebacker Rocky Shelton II intercepted Armstrong at the Virginia 10-yard line. Two plays later Brice found senior tight end Noah Gray for an eight-yard receiving score to hand the Blue Devils a 20-17 lead with a little over five minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Cavaliers halted a potential Duke scoring drive when Brenton Nelson intercepted sophomore wide receiver Jalon Calhoun on a trick play at the Virginia six-yard line. The home side then used a 10-play, 94-yard drive to take back the lead at 24-20, following an 18-yard touchdown reception. The Cavaliers then added another two touchdowns to ultimately put the contest out of reach.
Quarterbacks redshirt sophomore Gunnar Holmberg and redshirt junior Chris Katrenick made appearances in the fourth quarter. Katrenick finished 2-of-3 for 40 yards after two connections with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jarett Garner.
On the defensive end, senior safety Marquis Waters and redshirt sophomore linebacker Shaka Heyward tied for a team-leading nine tackles. In addition, redshirt junior cornerback Leonard Johnson and Shelton II both intercepted passes.
Duke returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 3, when it hosts Virginia Tech at 4 p.m. on ACC Network.
-Shelton’s interception set up senior tight end Noah Gray‘s touchdown. After his three receptions, Gray shifted into fourth all-time in catches by a tight end with 89.
-Senior DE Victor Dimukeje finished with 0.5 sacks to shift his career number to 18.0, which is third all-time on Duke’s career chart. He is four sacks away from tying Duke’s all-time record of 22 set by Charles Bowser from 1978-81.