Scores

Final

Navy 31

(1-2)

Duke 41

(2-1, 2-1 home)

Coverage: ESPNU

12:00 PM ET, September 13, 2008

Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC

1 2 3 4 T
NAVY 14 10 7 031
DUKE 10 10 14 741

Top Performers

Passing: T. Lewis (DUKE) - 317 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: S. White (NAVY) - 15 CAR, 112 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: E. Riley (DUKE) - 8 REC, 137 YDS, 3 TD

Lewis-to-Riley combo helps Duke sink Navy again

Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. -- Three games into his tenure, David Cutcliffe has Duke looking like, well, a solid football team. Considering the program's struggle-filled past, that's saying something.

Thad Lewis threw three touchdown passes to Eron Riley and Vincent Rey returned a fumble for a score to help Duke beat Navy 41-31 on Saturday, ending a four-game losing streak in the series while further adding to the Blue Devils' growing confidence.

Lewis threw for 317 yards while running for 41 more, and Riley finished with eight catches for 137 yards for the Blue Devils (2-1). Tielor Robinson added a short TD run in the third quarter as Duke rallied from a 24-20 halftime deficit and bounced back from last weekend's loss to Northwestern.

Now, Duke has already matched its win total of the past three seasons combined.

"Winning is a mindset," Lewis said. "We talk about it all the time. If you believe you can win and believe you're going to win, then it's going to happen. That's what these guys have done. We know we can win and in tight ballgames like this, you've got to make the plays to win."

Look no further than last year's loss to the Midshipmen (1-2) for proof. In that game, Duke led 43-32 in the fourth quarter before Navy rallied to win 46-43 on a field goal as time expired. On Saturday, the Blue Devils found themselves in similar position, leading by 10 points late in the third quarter.

Only this time, they found a way to hold on.

Lewis and Riley tormented Navy again while setting a school record for most touchdown passing connections. Last season, Lewis found Riley for four touchdowns, with Riley finishing with six catches for 235 yards. This time, Lewis found Riley for a 49-yard score to answer a long touchdown from Navy and retake momentum.

In the second half, Duke held Navy's strong rushing attack to 36 yards on 21 carries and stuffed a fourth-and-1 from Navy's own 38 to set up Robinson's third-quarter score. The Blue Devils also put together a 12-play drive that ate up nearly 7 minutes in the fourth quarter as they protected their 41-31 edge.

Fittingly, Duke's Greg Akinbiyi sacked Jarod Bryant to end the game.

"Coach Cut tells us that we make the breaks ourselves, that when things go good it's because of us," said Rey, who scooped up a fumbled pitch from Shun White and returned it 37 yards for a first-half score. "We don't know when the big play is going to happen. So that's why you have to keep going all out every play, handling your responsibilities and running to the ball."

White and Tyree Barnes each scored long touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen, who statistically had a good day running the football but had trouble doing it consistently. White -- who ran for a school-record 348 yards in the opener in 128 last week -- ran for a 73-yard score down the right side on Navy's first possession, yet managed just 39 yards on 14 carries the rest of the day.

"You've got to give them credit: They responded," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "I think that's a credit to Coach Cutcliffe. Those guys obviously have bought into what he's preaching."

That's not to say the Blue Devils did everything right. A muffed punt return by Leon Wright set up Navy's second touchdown, and they went three-and-out deep in their own end just before halftime to set up Bobby Doyle's 17-yard TD run for a 24-17 lead with 22 seconds left.

But, unlike past years, Duke found ways to respond when things went badly. The Blue Devils answered Doyle's run by getting a quick drive to set up a career-long 52-yard field goal from Joe Surgan to end the half. Then, after Tyree's 68-yard TD catch cut Duke's lead to 34-31 with 5 seconds left in the third quarter, Lewis went to Riley, who cut across the middle of the field and broke free down the right sideline for the score with about 10 1/2 minutes left.

"We finished strong. That's important to me," Cutcliffe said. "But what we did more importantly was we didn't disappear. ... Really, I believe in this team. I believe we'll finish fine. We put them in that position in practice so much. They've responded in practice. I was very confident that we would win the ballgame when we came out of [halftime]."

Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada made his first appearance of the season for Navy after missing the first two games with a hamstring strain. The quarterback ran for 28 yards and threw for 45 yards with a touchdown, but left the game late in the first half due to heat exhaustion.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NAVY
DUKE
1st Downs1321
Total Yards357396
Passing150317
Rushing20779
Penalties1-153-12
3rd Down Conversions4-1310-16
4th Down Conversions1-20-1
Turnovers21
Possession27:4032:20

Passing Leaders

NavyC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Bryant5/710515.011
DukeC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Lewis25/353179.130

Rushing Leaders

NavyCARYDSAVGTDLG
White151127.5173
Campbell8313.9015
DukeCARYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis12413.4013
Harris14221.609

Receiving Leaders

NavyRECYDSAVGTDLG
Barnes411328.3168
Thiel11212.0012
DukeRECYDSAVGTDLG
Riley813717.1349
Chestnut35317.7023

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNAVYDUKE
TD09:08Eron Riley 27 Yd Pass From Thaddeus Lewis (Nick Maggio Kick) 07
TD07:18Shun White 73 Yd Run (Matt Harmon Kick) 77
FG03:29Nick Maggio 46 Yd 710
TD00:28Greg Shinego 11 Yd Pass From Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada (Matt Harmon Kick) 1410
SECOND QUARTERNAVYDUKE
TD08:09Vincent Rey 37 Yd Fumble Return (Nick Maggio Kick) 1417
FG01:27Matt Harmon 27 Yd 1717
TD00:22Bobby Doyle 17 Yd Run (Matt Harmon Kick) 2417
FG00:00Joe Surgan 52 Yd 2420
THIRD QUARTERNAVYDUKE
TD07:17Eron Riley 5 Yd Pass From Thaddeus Lewis (Nick Maggio Kick) 2427
TD01:46Tielor Robinson 2 Yd Run (Nick Maggio Kick) 2434
TD00:05Tyree Barnes 68 Yd Pass From Jarod Bryant (Matt Harmon Kick) 3134
FOURTH QUARTERNAVYDUKE
TD10:41Eron Riley 49 Yd Pass From Thaddeus Lewis (Nick Maggio Kick) 3141