Cavaliers Drop Heartbreaker in Durham, 55-48
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Desmond Scott ran for a 35-yard touchdown with 40 seconds remaining to help Duke defeat Virginia 55-48 on Saturday.
The Blue Devils, who led 47-35 in the fourth quarter, trailed 48-47 after Keith Payne’s 6-yard touchdown run with 2:26 remaining. But Sean Renfree completed a 32-yard pass to Donovan Varner on fourth and 20 on Duke’s ensuing possession, setting up Scott’s run down the left sideline and dive into the end zone.
Renfree and fellow quarterback Brandon Connette rushed for two touchdowns apiece for Duke (3-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), which snapped an eight-game losing streak in conference play dating back to a victory at Virginia last season.
Marc Verica passed for four touchdowns and a school-record 417 yards for the Cavaliers (4-5, 1-4). But he also threw three interceptions that Duke converted into two touchdowns and a field goal.
Dontrelle Inman caught 10 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown for Virginia. Payne rushed for 122 yards and scored three touchdowns, one on a reception.
The teams combined for 41 points in a wild fourth quarter.
Renfree scrambled for a 37-yard touchdown on third and 9 with 6:08 remaining to put the Blue Devils ahead 47-35, but they couldn’t hold the lead. Inman scored on a 10-yard pass with 4:40 to play, and the Cavaliers recovered a fumble by Scott to set up Payne’s go-ahead score.
A week after a 24-19 victory over Miami that ended their nine-game losing streak in ACC play, the Cavaliers got off to a slow start. Virginia kept alive Duke’s initial drive with a penalty for a late hit out of bounds after a third-down stop, and the Blue Devils cashed in with a 30-yard touchdown catch by Cooper Helfet.
The Cavaliers committed another personal foul on the ensuing kickoff, pushing their starting position back to their own 10. Verica threw an interception that Ross Cockrell returned to the 2-yard line, and Connette scored on the next play to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead.
Virginia cut Duke’s lead to 24-21 by halftime, benefiting from a fake field goal in which kicker Robert Randolph caught a blind pitch and ran 20 yards for a touchdown.