The Blue Devils staged a nice comeback attempt, led by backup quarterback Parker Boehme, but came up short losing 42-34 to Virginia . Duke fell behind quickly and struggled on offense and defense for much of the game. Devon Edwards returned a kickoff for a touchdown in the first quarter, his third of the season.
It was another frustrating game for the Duke defense. Virginia QB Matt Johns picked on the secondary from the start with little resistance. Johns threw for 359 yards on the day. The Cavaliers had over 500 yards of total offense. After Saturday, Duke had given up 30 points in five straight games. Virginia scored on their first three possesions and if it weren’t for Edwards’ return touchdown the game could have gotten really ugly. The Duke defense responded, briefly, with a Breon Borders interception and Deondre Singleton fumble recovery, but the offense could only get three points out of it. The defense would then give up another quick touchdown drive before the half.
For whatever reason, this team simply hasn’t been able to regain their focus since the Miami game. That reflects poorly on the coaches and leaders on this team. Duke is plenty good enough to win all the games they’ve lost over the last four weeks. They have proven that recently. But this year the team has just looked defeated and incapable of rebounding. Jeremy Cash’s ejection for a late targeting hit in the second half is another example of this Duke team not being able to channel their frustrations in the right way. It sounds crazy to say it, but a loss to Wake Forest next weekend wouldn’t really be all that surprising.
There were two bright spots for Duke this week. Backup QB Parker Boehme came in for Sirk in the second half and provided a real spark for the team, almost leading a miraculous comeback. In just a quarter of action Boehme threw for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for a touchdown. Boehme threw some very nice deep passes. His overall numbers weren’t very efficient, but his ability to get the ball down the field and move the offense was a welcomed change. Boehme played with confidence and clearly got a response from his teammates on both sides of the ball. I expect Boehme to be the starting quarterback next week.
TJ Rahming had a breakout game for Duke. Rahming had shown flashes throughout the season, but showcased his full ability against Virginia. Replacing the dismissed Johnell Barnes in the starting lineup, Rahming had 12 catches for 190 yards and a touchdown. It was nice to see a receiver step up and be a go to target for the first time all year. Boehme and Rahming gave the offense some positives to build off of. Not just heading into next week, but the next season as well.