CHARLOTTESVILLE, SEPT. 26 -- At worst, Virginia finally made that slippery step from bad to mediocre tonight. At best, the Cavaliers are developing into a quick-strike offensive team supplemented by an opportunistic, if less than overpowering, defense.

Senior quarterback Scott Secules (13 for 20, 221 yards) removed himself at least temporarily from the shadow of freshman Shawn Moore, running for a pair of one-yard touchdowns and hooking up with John Ford for two more long scoring plays as Virginia rolled over previously undefeated Duke, 42-17. It was Steve Spurrier's first loss as the Blue Devils' coach after three wins. Virginia is 2-2.

Junior tailback Kevin Morgan added 128 yards on 18 carries and backup Marcus Wilson scored two touchdowns as the Cavaliers rolled up their highest point total since midway through the 1984 season.

Virginia used a big-play offense to race out to a 21-10 halftime lead. The Cavaliers marched 74 yards on nine plays with the opening kickoff to take a 7-0 lead. Morgan carried three times on the drive for 16 yards and Secules found Ford twice for 29 yards, including an 18-yard pass to the Duke 5-yard line on a third-and-seven play. Secules carried the ball over from the one for the score.

Duke quarterback Steve Slayden completed 20 of 28 passes in the first half but the Virginia defense kept him from finding speedy wide receiver Clarkston Hines deep. The Cavalier defensive line, led by Ray Savage, hounded Slayden throughout the half and forced him to continuously dump the ball underneath to tailbacks Roger Boone and Stanley Monk.

Duke's patience paid off initially as Slayden brought the Blue Devils immediately back on a 14-play, 75-yard drive to tie the score at 7 as Monk went over from the 1.

After an exchange of punts, Virginia came back behind the running of Morgan to take a 14-7 lead. The junior tailback carried twice for 28 yards to set up a Marcus Wilson 12-yard touchdown run.

Slayden brought the Devils back again, completing seven of eight passes on the next drive to set up a 20-yard field goal by Doug Peterson.

Virginia took its 21-10 lead with a quick four-play, 60-yard drive. Secules hit Ford on a 43-yard pass play after the wide receiver broke past defensive back Mike Diminick on a post pattern.

Duke grabbed the momentum in the third quarter, but the Blue Devils were unable to cut into the Cavaliers' lead because of a flood of mistakes.

Boone's 24-yard touchdown run brought the Blue Devils within 21-17 just 1:19 into the quarter. After stopping the Cavaliers on three plays, Duke seemed poised to take the lead after reaching the Virginia 26 on Slayden's 17-yard pass to Hines and a holding call on Virginia.

Then the miscues began. A holding call pushed the Blue Devils back, and Slayden eventually missed Hines, open on a quick out pattern on fourth and two from the Virginia 19.

Marcus Wilson's fumble at the Virginia 34 three plays later looked to put Duke back in business, but Cook intercepted Slayden looking for Hines over the middle at the Cavaliers 24.

Duke defensive end Tom Corpus recovered Morgan's fumble on Virginia's third play at the Virginia 33, but the Devils stalled again when Savage caught Slayden for a 13-yard loss on second and seven from the 19. Peterson's 49-yard field goal attempt was wide and short. Duke 7 3 7 0 17 Virginia 14 7 7 14 42

V -- Secules 1 run (Inderlied kick)

D -- Monk 2 run (Peterson kick)

V -- Wilson 11 run (Inderlied kick)

D -- FG Peterson 20

V -- Ford 42 pass from Secules (Inderlied kick)

D -- Boone 24 run (Peterson kick)

V -- Ford 54 pass from Secules (Inderlied kick)

V -- Wilson 5 run (Inderlied kick)

V -- Secules 1 run (Inderlied kick)

A -- 35,500 Duke Virginia First downs 28 24 Rushes-yards 39-166 49-274 Passing yards 255 221 Return yards 15 17 Passing 29-48-2 13-20-1 Punts-average 5-40 4-42 Fumbles-lost 2-0 2-2 Penalties-yards 9-94 6-74 Tim

RUSHING -- Duke: Monk 14-49, Slayden 12-33, Boone 7-49, Charles 5-35, Dillweg 1-minus 9. Virginia: Morgan 1

PASSING -- Duke: Slayden 26-44-2, 236 yards, Dillweg 3-4-0, 19. Virginia: Secules 13-20-1, 221.

RECEIVING -- Duke: Cooper 5-57, Green 5-41, Boone 5-31, Hines 3-50, Monk 3-14, Downs 2-30, Daniel 2-14, Rym