Duke Now

Duke’s losing streak reaches four games with loss to Pittsburgh

Duke quarterback Daniel Jones battles Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver for yardage , Saturday, October 21, 2017, in Wallace Wade Stadium.
Duke quarterback Daniel Jones battles Pittsburgh's Rashad Weaver for yardage , Saturday, October 21, 2017, in Wallace Wade Stadium. bthomas@heraldsun.com

Another close loss has Duke, once on the cusp of the top 25, staring at a break-even record and struggling to reach bowl eligibility.

Pittsburgh running back Darrin Hall rushed for 254 yards and three touchdowns as the Panthers erased a 10-point second-half deficit and beat the Blue Devils 24-17 in ACC football Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium.

Duke (4-4, 1-4 ACC) suffered its fourth consecutive loss while Pittsburgh (3-5, 1-3) posted its first ACC win.

Hall broke free for touchdown runs covering 79 and 92 yards. The 92-yard run in the third quarter broke a 100-year-old school record for the longest touchdown run in Pitt history.

After Duke trailed 7-3 at halftime, Daniel Jones put the Blue Devils ahead with a pair of touchdown passes.

Jones fired a pass over the middle to running back Shaun Wilson, who was wide open and ran to the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown play to give Duke a 10-7 lead with 8:33 left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devils extended their lead to 17-7 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter when Jones completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Rahming.

But Pitt rebounded quickly behind Hall. After Duke kicked off, Hall scored on a 92-yard touchdown run on the next play from scrimmage with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.

Pittsburgh took the ball over again at its own 5 with 14:08 left in the fourth quarter, and Duke’s defense was unable to protect the lead.

After three Hall runs to the 15, Pitt quarterback Ben DiNucci completed passes for 25 and 49 yards to Jester Weah.

The second of those passes appeared to result in a Mark Gilbert interception for Duke. But when both players came down with the ball, the officials ruled simultaneous possession which awards the ball to the offense.

From the Duke 11, the Panthers needed two plays to take the lead. Hall’s 4-yard run put the Panthers back in front 21-17 with 10:48 to play in the game.

Trailing 21-17, Duke’s passing game clicked to mount a rally. A pair of 22-yard passes from Jones to Rahming advanced Duke to the Pittsburgh 19. Despite a Pittsburgh pass-interference penalty that kept the drive alive, Duke had to settle for a field-goal attempt. But Parker missed a 36-yard field goal with 8:00 to play.

That proved to be Duke’s final chance to take the lead.

Pittsburgh took over and erased the clock with three first downs. With 1:41 to play, Alex Kessman booted a 45-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 24-17 lead.

The Blue Devils got the ball back with 1:34 to play at their own 27 with one timeout and attempted a desperate drive.

Jones completed a 22-yard pass to Rahming to the Duke 49 on the first play. Following a Pittsburgh pass interference penalty that moved Duke to the Pitt 43, Jones completed a 10-yard pass to Scott Bracey to the Pitt 33 with just under a minute to play.

Following a 4-yard pass to Rahming, Jones fired a 7-yard pass to Daniel Helm to the Pitt 22 with 48 seconds left.

But on the next play, Jones zipped a pass toward an open Helm at the 10. But the ball bounced off Helm’s right hand, and Pitt’s Jordan Whitehead intercepted it with 45 seconds to play to seal the Panthers’ win.

Pittsburgh took the lead in the first quarter when Hall burst through the line and ran untouched for a 79-yard touchdown run.

Duke got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Parker booted a 25-yard field goal. The Blue Devils were in line to get a touchdown when they had the ball first-and-goal on the 6. After three plays left Duke with fourth-and-goal from the 2, the Blue Devils lined up to attempt to get the touchdown. But a delay of game penalty forced Duke to abandon that plan and kick the field goal.

Pittsburgh had two chances to add toits lead in the second quarter, but Kessman missed field goals from 47 and 55 yards.

Duke’s Parker missed a 49-yard field goal as the first half ended.