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Duke holds on to a win over Maryland, 17 - 13

Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009

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Durham, NC – Duke’s defense forced two Maryland turnovers late in the fourth quarter to preserve the Blue Devils’ 17-13 victory over the Terrapins on a rain-drenched Saturday afternoon in front of 24,650 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium. The win marks the first time since 1994 that Duke has recorded back-to-back ACC victories.

Receiver Donovan Varner caught a season-high eight passes for 120 yards and a touchdown, while freshman receiver Conner Vernon hauled in five passes for 102 yards to become the first Blue Devil to post two 100-yard games in his rookie season. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis completed 30-of-43 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns, but the Duke defense proved the difference-maker, holding the Terps scoreless in the fourth quarter and limiting Maryland to 259 total yards on the day.

Duke won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kick, but went three-and-out on its first possession. Starting on its own 37, Maryland pushed the ball across midfield to the Duke 32, but turned the ball over on downs after a huge stop on fourth-and-one as Duke linebacker Vincent Rey tackled Maryland tailback Caleb Porzel short of the first-down marker.

On its following possession, Duke would need nine plays, covering 69 yards to break the scoreless tie midway through the first quarter. Lewis capped the drive with a 24-yard touchdown strike to receiver Donovan Varner.

But Maryland would respond, driving deep into Duke territory before stalling at the Blue Devil 15-yard line. Maryland kicker Nick Ferrara connected on the 25-yard field goal attempt to pull the Terrapins within four, 7-3, late in the first quarter.

The two teams traded possessions to start the second quarter before Duke took over on its own 16. After a rush for no gain, Maryland cornerback Cameron Chism picked off a Lewis pass on the following play. The interception led to a 40-yard Maryland field goal as Duke’s defense held the Terrapins to just eight yards after the turnover.

Leading 7-6, the Blue Devils answered, putting together a 73-yard, 11-play drive to set up kicker Will Snyderwine’s 35-yard field goal, and ended the half with a 10-6 lead.

Duke’s offense continued to move the chains on its first possession of the third quarter. Lewis hit Vernon down the sideline for a 44-yard completion to push the Blue Devils down to the Maryland one yard line. Facing third-and-goal after two failed rushing attempts, receiver Tony Foster made a spectacular one-handed grab for the touchdown, and Duke looked in control with a 17-6 advantage with 5:35 left in the third quarter.

However, the Terrapins would need only 59 seconds to respond as quarterback Chris Turner hit tailback Davin Meggett for a 67-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 17-13.

Despite several opportunities, Maryland would not come any closer as the Blue Devil defense came through, forcing a punt and two turnovers in the final four minutes. Rey again came up big for the Devils, intercepting Turner’s pass with 4:09 to go in the fourth quarter, while Brandon King recovered a fumble by Maryland punt returner Tony Logan to seal the victory.

Duke’s Matt Daniels led the way on defense with nine tackles. Rey collected eight tackles and an interception, while Damian Thornton had eight stops and a career-high two-and-a-half tackles for a loss of 11 yards.

Duke returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 31, travelling to Charlottesville, Va., for a match-up with Virginia at 3:30 p.m.

Related info:
ACC Football News
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Duke holds on to a win over Maryland, 17 - 13
Maryland quarterback Chris Turner.
photos by Gene Galin

Related info:
ACC Football News