Duke pulls out win with 3 turnovers, 4 sacks
Published 6:40 am Sunday, October 26, 2008
By By TERESA M. WALKER, AP Sports Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — This is how good things are going for Duke in coach David Cutcliffe’s first season: an injury forces a substitution at cornerback late in the game, and the sophomore intercepts a pass with 38 seconds left to help seal the victory.
Sophomore Chris Rwabukamba picked off Mackenzi Adams’ pass at the Vanderbilt 1, and Nick Maggio’s 42-yard field goal in the third quarter after Duke missed its first two attempts helped the Blue Devils pull out a 10-7 victory over the Commodores on Saturday.
Duke (4-3) snapped a six-game skid in this series and put a serious dent in Vanderbilt’s bowl hopes with its first win in Nashville in this series since 1988. Cutcliffe came in 23-2 when coaching against Vanderbilt with stints at Tennessee and Mississippi, and he improved to 6-0 as head coach against Commodores coach Bobby Johnson.
Vanderbilt (5-3) lost its third straight game, and is trying to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1982 after opening the season with five straight wins in the program’s best start since 1943. Johnson said he told his Commodores they still have four important games left.
Duke controlled most of an ugly game, coming up with four sacks and three turnovers as Vandy outgained the Blue Devils 291-250 on offense. The last turnover sealed the victory with 38 seconds left as the Commodores had one last try with Rwabukamba picked off a pass intended for Sean Walker.
Chris Shannon recovered a fumbled punt by Vandy’s Jamie Graham midway through the third at the Commodores 15 that set up Maggio’s winning field goal field goal.
Vanderbilt kicker Bryant Hahnfeldt, who missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt wide left at the start of the second quarter, had a chance to tie it at 10 with 7:16 left. He pushed the 43-yard attempt wide right.
Vanderbilt’s defense kept the Commodores in the game by holding Duke to 250 yards total offense. Broderick Stewart had two of five sacks. The last came when Chris Marve came untouched and sacked Lewis on third-and-2 from the Vandy 2, knocking the ball loose. T.J. Greenstone recovered for Vandy.
Four plays later, Adams dropped back and threw deep to Sean Walker who caught the ball and finished off a 79-yard touchdown to pull Vandy within 10-7 with 13:20 left. Adams had completed only one pass in the first half and was just 4-of-11 for 38 yards before the scoring play.
Thaddeus Lewis threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tony Jackson just before halftime for a 7-0 lead. It was Jackson’s fourth reception of the season, and he finished with three catches for 74 yards.