CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Kurt Benkert recovered from a terrible start with three touchdown passes and Virginia beat Duke 28-21 on Saturday.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones completed 14-of-42 passes for 124 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Quin Blanding returned the first interception, off a deflection, 58 yards for a touchdown.
Benkert also threw an interception that Jeremy McDuffie returned 42 yards to tie the game at 7-7. Duke then took a 14-7 advantage as Jones connected with Davis Koppenhaver for a seven-yard score with 5:21 to go in the opening half.
Virginia knotted the game at the half as Benkert hit Olamide Zaccheaus for an 11-yard score 45 seconds before intermission. After the break, Benkert gave the Cavaliers a 28-14 lead with touchdown passes of five and 17 yards to Doni Dowling.
The Blue Devils rallied with a Quentin Harris four-yard touchdown run with 6:14 left in the game that left Duke trailing 28-21.
Duke drove into Virginia territory in its final possession with Jones completing four consecutive passes, but sacks by Chris Peace early in the drive and freshman linebacker Chris Snowden after Duke got to the Cavaliers 34 slowed the drive. Two incomplete passes turned the ball back to Virginia.
Duke: The Blue Devils' defensive front gave Virginia's line fits all day, and the defensive backs generally ran right with the Cavaliers on deep passes. The line seemed to wear down as Virginia went with a short passing game. The Blue Devils started the day sharing the ACC lead in sacks, but managed just one on the day.
Virginia: With a running game that hasn't yet proven reliable, Benkert's accuracy becomes critical. He was way off early in the game, throwing two interceptions and fumbling once as both teams struggled, but once the short passing game started working, his confidence seemed to return and he carried the day.
Duke returns home and plays Florida State.
Virginia goes on the road for just the second time and plays at North Carolina.