Virginia 38, Duke 7
-- Standout senior running back Wali Lundy returned to Virginia's starting lineup Saturday, but quarterback Marques Hagans stole the spotlight in the Cavaliers' ACC opener.
Hagans, a senior, completed 13 of 21 passes for 174 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to help Virginia overwhelm Duke, 38-7, before 61,021 at Scott Stadium. In winning on Homecoming, the No. 23 Cavaliers improved to 3-0 overall entering Saturday's game at Maryland.
Hagans threw touchdown passes of 10 and 23 yards to junior wide receiver Deyon Williams, a former All-Met from Suitland High. He also threw a 46-yard scoring pass to sophomore tight end Tom Santi and a 12-yard score to freshman tight end John Phillips to give Virginia a 31-0 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"Once I got in the rhythm early, I just kept it going," said Hagans, who threw touchdown passes on Virginia's first three drives of the third quarter after the Cavaliers led 10-0 at halftime. "The passing game just kept clicking and as the game went on everyone made big plays."
Said Williams, who finished with a game-high 49 yards on four catches: "All the receivers worked on our timing all week because we knew we could throw the ball. I can't say enough about the way Marques played because all his passes were on point and they were right there."
But as Virginia's passing game excelled, its rushing attack struggled against a Blue Devil defense that entered the game allowing 117.7 yards per game.
Lundy, who missed most of the Cavaliers' first two games because of a sprained left foot, finished with 20 yards on 10 carries -- one of the worst outings of his career -- but junior Michael Johnson added 45 yards on nine carries, and sophomore Cedric Peerman had 10 carries for 46 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown that extended his team's lead to 38-7 with 14 minutes 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"I thought [Wali] did a nice job," Virginia Coach Al Groh said. "I think all three tailbacks contributed well to the roles they played."
Virginia's defense was again without junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks (Hylton High), who has yet to play this season as he recovers from surgery on his right knee in March. But the Cavaliers suffocated Duke (1-3, 0-2), which committed four turnovers. Junior cornerback Marcus Hamilton recorded two of the team's three interceptions. Virginia wasted several golden opportunities to blow open the game early.
On the opening kickoff, Duke sophomore Chris Davis took one step out of the end zone and then stepped back into it the before realizing that he could no longer call for a touchback, and was tackled on the 3-yard line. After three plays and a punt, Virginia had possession on the Duke 49, but failed to gain a first down.
Virginia appeared poised to seize control on its first possession of the second quarter. The Cavaliers reeled off 25 yards in six plays to move the ball to the Duke 42. But junior fullback Jason Snelling fumbled at the 28 after Hagans threw him a perfect pass over the middle.
After Duke senior punter Chris Sprague shanked a 26-yard punt, Virginia took command at its 48 and was finally able to capitalize. Hagans threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Williams to cap a 10-play, 52-yard drive that extended its lead to 10-0 with 8:30 remaining in the first half.
"We knew if we kept pounding and going right at them, the big plays were going to come," Williams said. "In the second half, that's what happened."
Cavaliers Note: Virginia All-ACC senior left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who has started all 42 games in his career, suffered a lower-leg injury in the first quarter and did not return.