Duke’s offense—the very same group that scored three touchdowns in less than two minutes against Georgia Tech—was nowhere to be found Saturday afternoon

Despite a second-half start that was reminiscent of the powerhouse offense that flashed at times against Georgia Tech, the Blue Devils fell to Virginia 28-14, and they didn't put up much of a fight. Duke, unable to string together long drives on a consistent basis, dropped yet another contest to the Cavaliers—extending its losing streak to four and ensuring that this year's senior class will go winless against Virginia.

Daniel Jones and the Blue Devil offense had some impressive plays, including a 46-yard touchdown from Jones to wideout Chris Taylor and a trick play that saw T.J. Rahming toss a 22-yard rainbow to Davis Koppenhaver for another score.

However, these plays were few and far between. 

The Blue Devils had logged only five first downs by halftime, and all too often, Duke was behind the chains playing catch-up.

“We have a lot to work on, but I don’t think we can lose our confidence in what we do,” Jones said. “This season we have found ways to find explosive plays and push the ball down the field, and that’s what we have to keep doing.”

Jones was 22-of-40 in Saturday’s contest, with one touchdown and 240 yards. The redshirt junior quarterback showed off his legs on multiple plays when the pass wasn’t available, running for 37 yards as Duke’s rushing leader. Jones also picked up three first downs on the ground. 

Brittain Brown’s presence was greatly missed, however, with running back Deon Jackson managing only 17 yards on 11 attempts.

“It impacted a lot to not be on schedule there,” Jones said. "Being able to run the ball, finding ways to run, get 3 or 4 yards, that opened up the pass game. That’s what we have to do.”

The first quarter was disastrous for the Duke offense. The Blue Devils had one first down and Jones finished the opening 15 minutes with six yards on 1-for-4 passing. Jones threw a bomb down the field to freshman Jarett Garner that would been a huge pickup for the Blue Devils and put them in the red zone, but Garner couldn’t hold on.

Two consecutive three-and-out drives in the second quarter dug Duke farther into a hole after Perkins scored for a second time, putting the Blue Devils down 14. 

When Duke started to find some momentum during an offensive drive, Jones threw into double coverage for an interception.

Throughout the day, the offensive line couldn't gain much traction inside to make Jones' job easier. A five-yard carry by Jackson was his longest of the day, and the Cavaliers sacked the Blue Devil quarterback twice in the span of three plays in the fourth quarter.

“We were preparing for both a three and four man down front, but expected more three down looks,” center Zach Harmon said. “As the game progressed, they ran more four man schemes. To get the inside zone working, we have to get more movement up front, and we struggled with their stout defensive line.”

At the start of the second half, it seemed that Duke had found a way out of its offensive funk. In the first minute of the first half, Jones threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Taylor for a first down. Three plays later, Jones threw a 46-yard beauty to Taylor for Duke’s first score of the game after a 62-second drive.

Instead of continuing that momentum on their next drive, however, Duke couldn’t capitalize on a 15-yard personal foul penalty. The Blue Devils went three-and-out, wasting the opportunity, and the rest of the third quarter, as well as the fourth, brought more of the same.

The Blue Devils were able to pick up the pace slightly in final stanza, with the second touchdown on a trick-play pass by Rahming and with 10 of Duke’s 19 first downs. 

It was far too late in the game, though. The Blue Devils' inability to find momentum on offense contributed to Virginia’s massive advantage in terms of time of possession—the Wahoos held the ball for nearly 37 minutes.

Dropped balls were not rare in the game against the Cavaliers, with Taylor, Daniel Helm and Rahming joining Garner in allowing balls from Jones to slip through their hands. 

For Duke to get things right, it will need a much-improved effort from its quarterback, who was projected by CBS Sports as a potential first-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft earlier this week.

“There are a lot of things,” Jones said, when asked what he wanted to work on personally. “My decision-making and making sure I’m not putting the ball in harm’s way.”