DURHAM, N.C.-- Virginia spoiled Duke’s 2006 edition of Homecoming by defeating the Blue Devils, 37-0, at Wallace Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers scored on each of their first three offensive possessions and added a defensive touchdown in the third quarter.
Virginia got on the scoreboard just over three minutes into the first quarter when WR Emmanuel Byers tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to fellow wideout Fontel Mines. The drive was set up by a 22-yard punt return by Mike Brown. After stopping Duke on fourth down and one yard to go at the Blue Devils’ 29 yard line, the Cavaliers went ahead 10-0 on a 31-yard field goal by K Chris Gould.
A blocked punt by Virginia’s Josh Zidenberg led to a one-yard rushing touchdown by RB Jason Snelling with 6:07 remaining in the opening period. Just prior to halftime, the Cavaliers took advantage of Duke’s third turnover when DE Jeffrey Fitzgerald scooped up a fumble and darted 23 yards for a touchdown, sending the teams to intermission with a 24-0 Virginia lead.
Fitzgerald intercepted a Duke pass deep in Blue Devil territory on the final play of the third quarter, setting up a 12-yard scoring strike from QB Jameel Sewell to TE Tom Santi. RB Mikell Simpson’s two-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds left accounted for the final margin.
For the afternoon, Virginia had four scoring drives of 27 yards or less in addition to the touchdown produced by the defense. The Cavaliers held Duke to minus-21 net yards rushing on the day, totalling eight sacks for minus-56 yards.
Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis completed 11-of-25 passes for 121 yards but suffered the first three interceptions of his young career. Marcus Jones and Raphael Chestnut each had four receptions for 42 and 34 yards, respectively. After missing two straight games due to injury, Ronnie Drummer returned to the field, rushing three times for four yards and catching one pass for 12 yards.
The Blue Devil defense limited Virginia to 253 yards of total offense as DE Patrick Bailey and SS Glenn Williams had eight tackles apiece. Duke, which entered the game with three sacks in three games for the season, posted five sacks on the day.