Critical offensive mistakes and coverage breakdowns once again plagued the Virginia football team, which dropped its first-ever, overtime game Saturday in a 24-17 loss to previously winless Duke.
The defeat in double overtime was the Cavs' first loss to the Blue Devils since 1994.
Virginia (3-3, 2-2 ACC) grabbed a 17-10 edge late in the fourth quarter on a three-yard touchdown run by Thomas Jones. But Duke promptly marched 70 yards in 1:11 to deadlock the score on a freak play in which wide receiver Scottie Montgomery scooped up Letavious Wilks' fumble and threw a nine-yard pass to fellow wideout Richmond Flowers to force overtime.
Both teams missed field goals in the extra session, but in the second overtime Devil quarterback Spencer Romine connected with tight end Benjamin Watson to give Duke a 24-17 lead.
Virginia had a chance to counter, but an apparent, game-tying touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Ellis to wide receiver Ahmad Hawkins was ruled incomplete when the side judge deemed Hawkins out of bounds. Two plays later, Devil cornerback Lamar Grant picked off an Ellis pass to seal the victory.
"They're a good team," Ellis said. "You've got to give them credit."
Missed Cavalier opportunities included an Arlen Harris 69-yard punt return for a touchdown that was called back because of an illegal block. Ellis also tossed an interception on the Duke 28-yard line, and Jones fumbled on the Blue Devil 14 to breathe new life into a squad that had been outscored 124-55 in its four previous contests.
"We were on the bottom of the pile. I had it, and started to get up, and then he grabbed it, and they were like 'my ball' and I was like 'no, I was already on the ground,'" Jones said. "It was just a call, it was part of the game, and we have to forget about it."
(Please see related story, page 12.)