Virginia football bowls over Duke after slow start in season opener

Whilst an skilled protection stuffed with playmakers pressured seven turnovers, together with 4 interceptions of Blue Devils beginning quarterback Chase Brice, 6-foot-7 freshman broad receiver Lavel Davis Jr. virtually single-handedly stole the highlight with dazzling catches belying his formative years.

Davis completed with 101 yards and two touchdowns on 4 receptions. His first landing catch lined 18 yards and put Virginia forward to stick at 24-20 with 12:43 left within the fourth quarter. One snap previous Davis stuck a 39-yarder alongside the best sideline.

On Duke’s resulting collection, Cavaliers protection Joey Blount stepped in entrance of Brice’s go over the center for an interception that arrange Virginia on the Duke 49. Virginia used to be after all zone 4 performs afterward Davis’s jumping 26-yard reception.

“He used to be one among our best-kept secrets and techniques,” Virginia Trainer Bronco Mendenhall stated of Davis. “It’s arduous to cover 6-7 in apply. Wasn’t extremely recruited. Considered a mission. He stored making performs towards us on a regular basis right through apply.”

Virginia accumulated 450 yards of general offense, getting 95 yards and a landing on 16 carries from working again Wayne Taulapapa. Armstrong, a sophomore taking up for record-setting predecessor Bryce Perkins, finished 24 of 45 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Cavaliers outrushed Duke, 188-56.

“Efficiency-wise so much to be told,” stated Armstrong, who tossed one interception immediately into the chest of linebacker Rocky Shelton II. “I want to be extra constant, however I feel that can come as time is going. We’re simply going to keep growing. After those lengthy weeks of apply, I simply suppose we’re glad to play.”

Virginia were expecting 4 earlier openers earlier than it confronted the Blue Devils, who had performed two times following ACC rescheduling. A few of the Cavaliers’ video games that have been scrapped or driven again have been contests towards Georgia and Virginia Tech.

“What a adventure,” Mendenhall stated. “It used to be an attractive surreal enjoy. There have been again and again all over the sport I couldn’t imagine we have been enjoying, however it used to be for actual. It counted.”

At the back of Armstrong’s four-yard run and Taulapapa’s one-yarder, the Cavaliers went into halftime with a 17-10 lead after trailing 10-Zero.

The ones touchdowns got here in the second one quarter, permitting Virginia to conquer a couple of lapses that ended in issues for the Blue Devils (Zero-Three).

Handiest members of the family and pals of gamers and coaches have been accepted to go into the power, the place bulletins right through pregame warmups reminded fanatics of protection protocols for sitting within the stands and transferring across the concourse. The scoreboard displayed the ones necessities prominently.

Face coverings have been necessary all the time, together with when coming into and leaving the restrooms. Stadium safety in mask enforced social distancing, even supposing spectators heeded the request of no longer sitting in teams of greater than 5 other people.

The ones supporting particular person gamers have been simply distinguishable via the T-shirts they wore with names and numbers. 4 fanatics dressed in orange shirts imprinted with the No. Zero and Zandier at the again for linebacker Zane Zandier sat kind of 15 rows from the sector.

3 rows at the back of them have been 5 extra from the Zandier birthday celebration, additionally decked out in orange T-shirts.

A message from ACC coaches addressing social justice performed at the scoreboard straight away earlier than the nationwide anthem. Then fanatics stood all over a prerecorded model, with gamers from each faculties closing of their respective locker rooms.

Senior linebacker Charles Snowden in a while thereafter led the 4 Cavaliers captains onto the sector. It didn’t take lengthy for he and his defensive pals to get onto the sector after Virginia’s Tavares Kelly Jr. were given stripped returning the outlet kickoff. The Blue Devils recovered on the Virginia 19.

The Cavaliers withstood the worst from that miscue via bowing on the purpose line at the back of defensive finish Mandy Alonso, who were given into the backfield on 3rd and purpose from the 1 to drive Duke tailback Deon Jackson to the outdoor. There, Brenton Nelson wiped clean it up for a lack of six, and Duke settled for a box purpose.

“Even if we have been down within the 3rd quarter, starting the fourth quarter it gave the look of everyone used to be cool, calm and picked up,” stated Zandier, who had 14 tackles, seven of them solo. “We more or less had the sensation we have been going to win. Being resilient is a part of this program, and I’ve more or less been skilled on that during my 4 years.”

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