HALFTIME: Duke 14, Virginia 14



CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—The first quarter appeared as if it would be more of the same. After Virginia tagged Duke for six turnovers last October, two early interceptions—including a long pick six—made it seem like the Cavaliers would make it another long afternoon for Daniel Jones.

But a reliance on the ground game has kept the Blue Devil offense afloat.

Duke and Virginia are tied at 14 apiece thanks a pick six and lengthy scoring drive for each side. Although neither quarterback has been able to generate much a rhythm, combining for 80 yards on 15-of-37 passing with four interceptions, the Blue Devils have begun to find glimpses of a rush attack that ranks near the top of the ACC.

With carries from five different Duke players, led by Jones' 51 yards on six carries—the longest a 24-yard scramble—the Blue Devils have racked up 104 rushing yards for an average of 5.2 per carry.

It was a sloppy first 15 minutes to start the Coastal Division battle. Neither team was able to put together a drive of more than eight plays, and a 3rd-down pass by Jones was deflected right into the hands of Cavalier safety Quin Blanding, who took it to the house for the opening score.

Three drives later, Jones tossed another interception, but the Virginia momentum did not last long. On the opening play of the Cavaliers' ensuing drive, McDuffie stepped in front of a fluttering pass by Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert and broke through a couple tackles to get Duke on the board.

And although Jones began the afternoon just 1-of-12 for -1 yards passing, he recovered nicely to put together the longest series of the afternoon for either team. The Cavaliers responded, however, with a six-play, 69-yard touchdown drive of their own to level the score entering the break.

Duke will get the ball following halftime after deferring to begin the game.

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Despite a struggling offense, the Blue Devil defense has allowed only 86 yards to the Cavaliers.
  • Three penalties, including two pass interference calls set up Virginia's late touchdown drive.
  • Jones remains just 6-of-20 at halftime, with 24 passing yards.

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