Sep 26, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers running back Billy Kemp IV (4) runs with the ball past Duke Blue Devils linebacker Rocky Shelton II (43) in the first quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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Virginia rallies to win season opener over Duke

Brennan Armstrong threw two touchdown passes and rushed for a score in his first career start and rallied Virginia to a 38-20 win in its season opener against mistake-prone Duke in ACC action Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

Armstrong completed 24 of 45 passes for 269 yards with two interceptions as the Cavaliers defeated Duke for a sixth consecutive time. True freshman Lavel Davis Jr. caught four passes for 101 yards with two difference-making fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Virginia intercepted Chase Brice four times. The Clemson transfer completed 16 of 36 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns for the Blue Devils (0-3, 0-3 ACC), who turned the ball over seven times and are off to their worst start since an 0-12 season in 2006. Brice was on the bench for Duke’s last two series.

The Cavaliers grabbed a 24-20 lead when Armstrong lofted an 18-yard pass to the 6-foot-7 Davis in the corner of the end zone with 12:43 to play.

After Brice’s third pick, Armstrong and Davis hooked up again for a 26-yard score. Davis broke multiple tackles and spun into the end zone to make it 31-20 with 9:59 left.

Wayne Taulapapa’s 10-yard TD run, his second of the game, extended UVA’s lead to 38-20 after a fumble by Duke.

Taulapapa finished with 95 yards on 16 carries. The Cavaliers outgained the Blue Devils 452-342.

Duke recovered a fumble by Tavares Kelly Jr. on the game’s opening kickoff — Virginia’s first play of the season — and the Blue Devils got on the board with Charlie Hamm’s 25-yard field goal.

Brice’s first TD pass as a member of the Blue Devils made it 10-0 with 1:07 left in the first quarter. He found Jake Marwede open across the middle for a 55-yard score.

Armstrong got the Cavaliers on the board with a 4-yard keeper, capping a 10-play, 75-yard drive and cutting Duke’s lead to 10-7 with 12:33 left in the first half. He had runs of 11 and 14 yards on the drive.

Virginia forged ahead 14-10 on its next possession as Taulapapa punched in a 1-yard run. Brian Delaney’s 32-yard field goal sent UVA into halftime with a 17-10 lead.

Duke outscored UVA 10-0 in the third quarter. Hamm kicked a 47-yard field goal after Virginia’s second fumbled kickoff return, and Brice threw an 8-yard TD to Noah Gray for a 20-17 lead going into the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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