Duke utilized a clutch fourth quarter performance to defeat Virginia 28-17, on the road, in Charlottesville, to improve to 5-3 (3-1 ACC) on the season. The victory was the third straight conference victory for the Blue Devils. Duke scored the games final 16 points to comeback from a 17-12 deficit.
Duke dominated first quarter action by limiting the Cavaliers to 1 yard total offense. However, Virginia's defense bent but didn't break by limiting Duke to two field goals. Will Snyderwine kicked a third field goal five seconds into the second quarter to expand Duke's lead to 9-0.
Virginia managed a field goal in the second quarter and then took the second half kickoff and marched 66 yards in eight plays for a touchdown and a 10-9 lead. There were no additional points scored in the third quarter.
After three low scoring quarters, the two teams exploded for 26 points in the final stanza with Duke outscoring Virginia 19-7 for the victory. Thaddeus Lewis threw a 42 yard touchdown pass to Conner Vernon and Charlie Hatcher returned a Jameel Sewell fumble seven yards for another score. The fumble was forced by defensive lineman Ayanga Okpokowuruk. Will Snyderwine added his fourth and fifth field goals of the game.
Thaddeus Lewis completed 24-40 passes for 343 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Lewis has now thrown for 9,050 yards in his career and has passed Spence Fisher to move into second place all time behind Ben Bennett.
Donovan Varner (113 yards) and Conner Vernon (103 yards) each had seven receptions to pace seven Duke receivers. Varner and Vernon both recorded over 100 yards receiving for the second consecutive game.
On the defensive side of the ball, Leon Wright recorded his fourth interception of the season, while Vincent Rey led the team with 10 tackles. Jeremy Ringfield and Vince Oghobaase each recorded a sack.
Last time out
Duke defeated Maryland in a wet Wallace Wade Stadium, 17-13. Thad Lewis completed 30/43 passes for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns, connecting with six different receivers. The outstanding trio of Kelly, Varner, and Vernon led the way for the receiving corps, with a combined 22 receptions for 289 yards. Sophomore Donovan Varner led all receivers with 120 yards on eight catches, including a 25-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, which put Duke up 7-0. Freshman standout Conner Vernon also eclipsed the 100-yard plateau with five catches, making him the first receiver in Duke history to post multiple 100-yard receiving games in his freshman season. The Duke rushing attack was limited again, posting 34 yards on 24 carries.
The Duke defense held the Maryland offense to 249 total yards, 67 of which came on a single pass with blown coverage. Maryland’s rushing attack was never able to gather momentum, finishing with 67 yards on 31 attempts. Chris Turner completed 16/23 passes for 182 yards; however, with an opportunity to take the lead in the 4th quarter, Turner’s pass was intercepted by Vinnie Rey at the Maryland 36-yard line. Special teams sealed the win for Duke with Brandon King’s recovery of a fumbled punt return late in the 4th quarter.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS
Last time out
Virginia lost to Georgia Tech at home last Saturday, 34-9. The game was more competitive than the final score indicates, as Virginia trailed only 13-6 at halftime. The Virginia offense managed only 3 field goals (49, 19, and 30 yards) against the resurgent Yellow Jacket defense; meanwhile, the Virginia defense could not get Josh Nesbitt and the Georgia Tech offense off the field. The Yellow Jackets rushed for 362 yards on 71 attempts, resulting in 20 first downs and 4 touchdowns. Paul Johnson’s option offense kept the Virginia defense on the field for over 42 minutes, finally putting the game away with two 4th quarter touchdowns.
After an 0-3 start, Virginia used their September 26 off week to simplify their approach on both sides of the ball. The changes resulted in an upset win in Chapel Hill and a three game winning streak, heading into last week’s matchup with Georgia Tech. During the three game win streak, Virginia’s defense shined, holding UNC, Indiana, and Maryland to under 10 points each (19 points, combined). On the season, however, Virginia’s defense has been on the field a lot, as the Wahoos rank last in offensive time of possession in the ACC.
Jameel Sewell, Virginia’s senior quarterback, has won the starting job after beginning the season as part of a committee, which also included Marc Verica and Vic Hall. The committee resulted in 7 turnovers in an embarrassing 26-14 opening loss to William & Mary, and Sewell has started every game since. At his best, Sewell can be a dual threat quarterback, as evidenced by his 300+ yard passing efforts against Southern Mississippi and Indiana to go along with 4 rushing touchdowns this season. At his worst, Sewell can drag down the entire offense, as he did in week one with 3 interceptions on only 9/17 passing. This inconsistency is part of the reason that Virginia ranks last in the ACC in total offense with 289 yards per game. Pass protection has been a major concern, as the Virginia offensive line also ranks last in the ACC, having allowed 26 sacks through their first 7 games.
Duke is expected to be without senior RB Re’quan Boyette and LB Abraham Kromah again. CB Lee Butler is also expected to miss Saturday’s game.
Virginia has a few injuries on the defensive side of the ball, thought most are expected to play on Saturday. DE Matt Conrath and LB Aaron Clark are both expected to miss Saturday’s game. Safeties Corey Mosley and Brandon Woods both have been out with shoulder injuries, but are expected to play.
TRENDS & NUMBERS
Both Duke and Virginia enter this Saturday’s matchup at 2-1 in the ACC and have both won 3 of their last 4 games.
Thad Lewis has thrown for over 300 yards in 3 straight games.
Duke won back-to-back ACC games for the first time since 1994. The last time Duke won back-to-back ACC road games was also in 1994, the season of Duke’s last bowl game.
Duke defeated Virginia 31-3 in Wallace Wade Stadium last season, giving David Cutcliffe his first ACC win. Duke’s last win in Charlottesville was in 1999.
Though few would have expected it at the start of the year, this weekend’s matchup is an intriguing one, pitting the ACC’s top passing offense against the conference’s top pass defense. Duke averages nearly 3 touchdowns per game through the air, while Virginia has allowed only 3 all season. With Boyette out again, expect Duke to stick to what it does best, moving the ball through the air. If the Blue Devils can match the intensity of a Virginia team hungry for revenge for four quarters, they have the talent to leave Charlottesville with their third straight win.
Forging your own identity as a basketball player is a tough task, but that's especially true if you have two older brothers who already play for one of the elite programs in college basketball.
But if anyone is up to he task it's Marshall Plumlee, a near seven foot front court player that is going into his junior season at Christ School in Arden North Carolina.
The name Plumlee is more than just a little familiar to Duke fans for Marshall's older brothers Miles and Mason both play for and currently start at Duke.
There are definitely some similarities which go beyond all three sons initials being the same. For that matter, those initials apply to their Father as well, Millard Plumlee who goes by "Perky."
The biggest similarity which jumps out to me is a good work ethic, When I was planning a story on Marshall, I called his Dad to arrange a chat a few weeks back. In the background one could hear the squeaking of sneakers, which later turned into the sound of a bouncing ball followed by the the whoosh of a stationary bike.
Perky was working out with his son on a regimen he's been through more than a few times. When a lot of kids Marshall's age were outside kicking about, Plumlee 3 was hard at work in the gym to get better.
The first time I saw Marshall was when I was covering Christ School in the North Carolina State Championship game just after Mason had committed to Duke.
Marshall was long and lean, but skinny and still growing into his body. Still, when Marshall opened up he was already running the court like a gazelle, making it down in half the strides of the average player.
A year later I saw Marshall during Dave Telep's camp which brings in the states best players annually. His improvement amazed me for he had developed a spin move, a baby hook and was active and aggressive.
Now that Marshall is growing into his body, his game is coming together. Still, one can expect Marshall to be Marshall, meaning he'll forge his own identity.
BDN caught up with Marshall [private]where we discussed the coming season, his brothers, the recruiting process and his thoughts on a recent Duke visit.
"It was great, it couldn't have gone any better. I got a chance to see my brothers and my family came down from Indiana. So, it was great," said Plumee when asked of his visit to Durham.
Plumlee continued, "It looks like my brothers are really enjoying themselves. I got to see them practice a lot which was a lot of fun for me."
That led me to ask Marshall if his brothers playing in Durham was a positive for Duke and he replied, "Yeah, it definitely comes into the equation. There are many attractive aspects for me going and playing with my brothers. I'll continue to go over my options this year, but I definitely think playing with my brothers is a positive for Duke. I really enjoy being with them because we push to make each other better."
But other schools are in the mix for the next Plumlee. 'Right now I have offers from Notre Dame, IU [Indiana], Minnesota, N.C. State, Virginia, Ohio State, Purdue, Florida, Northwestern and Duke."
And Duke isn't the only school chasing the youngest Plumlee, "I'd say at this point I'm trying to narrow down a list of schools. There are a few that standout in my mind but at this point I'm kind of playing it close to the chest or at least until I release an official statement that I have narrowed my list."
Plumlee has now turned his attention towards his school work and the coming basketball season for Christ School where they start practice on November 12th.
"My role with Christ School this season will obviously be different than in years past. With my brothers gone I will step up and contribute more whether it's rebounds, points - wherever my team needs me."
Plumlee knows he has big shoes to fill and that his Christ School team will be defending another state title, three of those in the last four years. "I'm just ready to put in the work. We're a bunch of great guys willing to play together. "
You will hear more about Marshall this coming season and on the next AAU circuit and it'll be fun to watch Marshall grow as a player.
"I really like how my summer went and I am going to continue to improve. The Duke offer motivated me as have others to come back and work hard. I have to prove to Duke and others that I deserve the offers and that I am capable of helping or playing for them." [/private]
Durham, N.C. - Many old timers will tell you that when Duke has won a few games in the past fans come out of the woodwork. Unfortunately for Duke, a good crowd dwindled as the rain periodically soaked Wallace Wade Stadium this past Saturday.
Putting fans in the seats in Durham has been no easy task, but it is true that victories seem to cure all ills. Duke stands 4-3 going into Charlottesville where they'll face a Virginia team hell bent on revenge after being held to a field goal last season.
But if the Blue Devils can pull out a third consecutive ACC victory, fans will not only turn out when Georgia Tech comes to town, but they'll travel to Chapel Hill in force for a game with their rival.
Duke Coach David Cutcliffe will not allow his team to look ahead and he's stated what many of us know in that Duke cannot afford to look past anybody. Still, you can bet that his mind may well drift thinking of what could be if Duke continues it's ascend back into the college football world.
One cannot help but wonder what it would be like to see a solid sea of royal blue in Wade and if the wins keep coming, you will see just that.
Fan Quote of the Week - "Duke is not only winning football games, but they are exciting to watch." Now, when is the last time you heard anything like that being whispered around Duke Football?