Virginia will conclude an emotional week in Charlottesville on Saturday by facing a Duke team desperately seeking a win.
The visiting Blue Devils (6-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have dropped three of their last four games after a 5-1 start, including 47-45 in double overtime last Saturday at rival North Carolina.
The Cavaliers (2-8, 1-5) marked the one-year anniversary of the campus shooting deaths of three football players on Monday and also are dealing with last week’s serious injury to running back Perris Jones.
Jones underwent spinal surgery after being immobilized and carted off the field in the third quarter of Virginia’s 31-24 loss at Louisville last Thursday. He regained movement in all his extremities and was briefly able to walk, but his long-term prognosis is unclear.
The Cavaliers led 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold off the Cardinals, who scored two big-play touchdowns in the final 6:20: a 52-yard pass and a 73-yard run.
The Cavaliers have lost five games by seven points or less this season.
“We talk about finishing, being situationally aware and being great communicators,” Virginia defensive coordinator John Rudzinski said after the game. “Those are three life skills that our guys are going to take with them for the rest of their life, and tonight, we didn’t finish.”
The Blue Devils snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series with a 38-17 triumph over Virginia last season in Durham, N.C. Duke quarterback Riley Leonard rushed for two touchdowns and threw a TD pass.
Leonard missed his second straight game last Saturday against the Tar Heels due to an injured left toe. His status for the rest of the season remains uncertain.
Freshman Grayson Loftis passed for 189 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for a score at North Carolina. A wild game ended when he was unable to connect with Jalon Calhoun in the back of the end zone on Duke’s two-point conversion attempt.
“We still have a chance to compete to get into a really exciting bowl game, and those are things that are really important to us,” Blue Devils coach Mike Elko said Monday. “We’ve got to bounce back and respond, and I believe we will.”
Duke hasn’t won at Virginia since 2013.
–Field Level Media
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