Duke defenders mauled UVA QB Phillip Sims all afternoon (US Presswire)
DURHAM, N.C. -- Conner Vernon caught two
touchdown passes and set the Atlantic Coast Conference record for
career receptions and Anthony Boone threw four TD passes in his first
start, helping Duke crush Virginia 42-17 on Saturday.
seven catches for 93 yards on the afternoon, Vernon now has 239
receptions in his career. Vernon surpassed Clemson's Aaron Kelly as the
ACC's all-time leader in career receptions when he made a catch for
minus-2 yards in the first quarter. The senior also hauled in a 37-yard
touchdown on the Blue Devils' second drive, and his 45-yard touchdown
reception early in the fourth quarter put Duke up 18 points.
starting quarterback Sean Renfree missed the game with an injured right
elbow, and Boone threw for 212 yards without an interception in relief.
The victory gave Duke (5-1, 2-0) its best start to the season since the 1994 team won its first seven games.
gaining 321 yards of total offense in the first half, Virginia (2-4,
0-2) could only muster five first downs after halftime.
The key stretch of the game came early in the third quarter.
Cavaliers had a 17-14 halftime lead on the strength of a first half
where they averaged 7.1 yards per rush and totaled 184 yards on the
After going without any yards on its first drive of the
second half, Virginia had to punt from its own 5-yard line. Vernon
returned the punt all the way to the Cavaliers' 22, and a holding
penalty that was added on to the punt return gave Duke the ball at
Boone then lofted a swing pass to a wide-open
Juwan Thompson for a touchdown on the Blue Devils' first play of the
drive, giving Duke a 21-17 advantage.
The Blue Devils defense
then stopped Kevin Parks on a fourth-and-1 from Virginia's 47-yard line
on the Cavaliers' ensuing possession.
Duke took advantage of its
optimal field position, gaining the 45 yards in four plays. Jela Duncan
finished the drive with a powerful 11-yard touchdown run to go up by 11
Virginia's offense continued to sputter the rest of the
quarter. After its powerful first half, the Cavaliers only had 14 yards
rushing in the third quarter.
The only scoring of the fourth
quarter came when Vernon caught a 45-yard high-arcing pass from Boone
and when Thompson had a 34-yard touchdown rush for the final margin.